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So far Murphy Law has created 201 blog entries.
9 11, 2019

It May Get Easier to Prove Age Discrimination Claims in Court

By | 2019-11-09T03:57:20+00:00 November 9th, 2019|Age Discrimination|0 Comments

The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act—And What It Means For Workers According to a 2018 AARP study, approximately 61% of adults aged 45 or older have experienced or witnessed age discrimination in the workplace. And thanks to some new legislation, it may become easier for those people to win their cases in court. Age discrimination has been prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act since 1967. But in 2009, the Supreme Court ruled that workers in age discrimination claims had to prove that age was a “decisive factor” in their firing, punishment, or a company’s decision not to hire them. That ruling put a considerable burden of proof on older workers, and made it more difficult for those facing age discrimination to get justice. It’s a higher standard than those imposed on other discrimination claims, including those involving race, sex, religion, or nation of origin. The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA) reverses that decision, restoring the rights of older workers filing age discrimination cases in court, and reducing the burden of proof. In today’s heated political climate, this legislation is one of the rare few that has attracted bipartisan support. It was sponsored by both a [...]

2 11, 2019

What It Means to Be an “At Will” Employee in Pennsylvania

By | 2019-11-02T02:00:54+00:00 November 2nd, 2019|Employment Agreements|0 Comments

Know When You Can and Can’t Be Fired Like many other states, Pennsylvania is an “at will” work state—where employers can terminate your services more or less any time, with or without cause. But does that mean, as an at-will employee, you have no rights or protections if your employer fires you? Not exactly. Here are a few things you should know about being an at-will employee. “At Will” isn’t just about employer rights It’s also about your rights. As an at-will employee, you can also quit your job at any time, for any reason or no reason at all. There’s no legal requirement to stay in a position you don’t want to be in. Your contract may protect you from at-will firing Your work contract may stipulate that your employer can only fire you for just cause, or it may lay out a period of employment with a specific end date. Those conditions take precedence over the at-will doctrine. Union employees and civil servants also frequently have stricter protections around when and how they can be fired.  You can’t be fired for retaliation or discriminatory purposes Legislation including the Civil Rights Act (Title VII), the Americans with Disabilities Act, [...]

19 10, 2019

Six Signs Your Employer May Be Misclassifying You as a Contract Worker

By | 2019-10-19T01:41:50+00:00 October 19th, 2019|Employment Agreements|0 Comments

And What to Do About It Employee, or contract worker? Which label your employer uses for you has big consequences—for them and you. As an independent contractor, you’re not entitled to the same rights and benefits as an employee, and your employer can shift more of their costs onto you. Being an independent contractor comes with benefits of its own, of course—such as having the freedom to set your own hours and terms, and working for several employers as opposed to one. Many people prefer this way of working. But it usually costs less for employers to categorize their workers as independent contractors rather than employees. And sometimes salaried employees get misclassified as contract workers. This deprives you of certain rights and benefits, and it’s also illegal. Here are a few signs your employer is misclassifying you as a contract worker—when you’re actually an employee. 1. Your employer determines your work hours, location, and how you do your job This varies depending on the worker. Some independent contractors—those in construction, for instance—have to show up at an employer’s location to do their jobs. However, most independent contractors have more control over when and how they work than an employee does. [...]

11 10, 2019

The Gender Wage Gap Is Alive and Well in 2019

By | 2019-10-11T22:03:51+00:00 October 11th, 2019|Workplace Discrimination|0 Comments

And It May Actually Be Worse Than We Thought Women make $.80 for every dollar men earn in the workforce, right? That’s the most common statistic that’s floated around. But actually, according to a recent study by the Women’s Policy Research Institute, the picture is much worse. The study found that over a 15-year period, women earn barely half of what men earn—only $.49 on the dollar. The study found that women earn less than men across almost all occupations for which there was enough data to test the theory. And for jobs performed by predominantly men or women, the jobs dominated by women paid approximately $.66 on the dollar compared to those dominated by men. These statistics are also affected by race. Across the board, women of color earned less than white women.  So what can women do if they believe they are being paid less than male coworkers? 1. Check your employment contract Some employment contracts expressly forbid employees discussing their compensation with each other. But it may be impossible to determine whether you’re being underpaid unless you can have a frank conversation with your coworkers. At the beginning of this process, check your contract to see whether [...]

5 10, 2019

Your Employer Refused Your Reasonable Accommodation Request. What Now?

By | 2019-10-05T00:14:53+00:00 October 5th, 2019|Americans with Disabilities Act Claims|0 Comments

Know Your Options—and Protect Your Rights Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers are required to make reasonable accommodations to assist workers with disabilities in performing their job duties. But what do you do if your employer turns down your request? Here’s a look at how this process is supposed to work—and what you can do if your request is denied. What are Reasonable Accommodations? Under the ADA, a “reasonable accommodation” is a change to the job or environment to accommodate an employee with disabilities. Some very general categories of accommodations an employer might make include: Changing the work environment—such as adding a ramp or elevator, or making a cubicle larger to accommodate a wheelchair. Redistributing job duties so able-bodied coworkers take on some aspects of a disabled worker’s job, while the disabled worker takes on more of the work they can do. Making communications more accessible, such as providing training materials in Braille, including closed-captioning in meeting presentations, or hiring sign language interpreters at company events. Changing policies to accommodate a disabled employee, such as allowing the employee to bring a service dog to work. Modifying work schedules to accommodate a disabled employee. These are all very general [...]

21 09, 2019

Seven Signs Your Employer Is Violating Your FMLA Rights

By | 2019-09-21T00:57:17+00:00 September 21st, 2019|Family and Medical Leave Act Claims|0 Comments

You Don’t Have to Put Up With Retaliation The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives qualifying employees approximately 12 weeks of unpaid time off to handle family caregiving and medical issues. You should be able to return to your job after leave with zero repercussions. However, employers don’t always honor their obligations under the FMLA. Cases of retaliation are, unfortunately, not as rare as they should be, and many employees find their employers making it difficult or impossible for them to take the leave they’re entitled to—or return to work once they’ve taken leave. Here are a few signs your employer may be violating your FMLA rights. 1. Your Employer Doesn’t Recognize Your Request You don’t have to specifically use the term “FMLA” to request FMLA leave. An employer should look at your request and realize what category your leave falls under, based on the circumstances. 2. Your Employer Requires an Inappropriate Amount of Notice Employees have certain obligations under the FMLA. For instance, if your reason for leaving is something foreseeable, the law stipulates that you have to give 30 days’ notice unless that’s unworkable. However, there are two ways employers break this rule. The first is by [...]

14 09, 2019

Can You Be Fired for Taking a Sick Day?

By | 2019-09-14T02:13:55+00:00 September 14th, 2019|Family and Medical Leave Act Claims|0 Comments

Find out When You’re Protected—and When You’re Not The simple answer is yes. As with all other states in the United States, Pennsylvania is an at-will state. Your employer can fire you for any reason, without warning, as long as the reason isn’t unlawful — such as outright discrimination or retaliation. (You’re also free to quit whenever you want, for any reason.) Employers generally have internal policies covering sick leave, and if you don’t follow the rules, that can raise your chances of being fired for taking a sick day. Most employers expect you to notify them when you won’t be coming in to work, for example—and some may start looking askance if you often call in sick on Fridays or Mondays. However, under at-will rules, employers do have a right to fire you when you take a sick day, even if you followed all the rules. But there are some exceptions. These include: Your Contract Protects You Some employees work under contracts that state the employer can’t fire them for using their sick days under most conditions. This is more common in union environments, but some individual employment contracts have this stipulation as well. You Have a Disability Under [...]

7 09, 2019

Are You Facing Retaliation for Taking FMLA Leave?

By | 2019-09-07T18:03:52+00:00 September 7th, 2019|Family and Medical Leave Act Claims|0 Comments

Know Your Rights Under the Family and Medical Leave Act The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives eligible employees the right to take 12 weeks of unpaid, protected leave for a variety of reasons, mostly relevant to caregiving or dealing with a medical issue. Employers are required by law to provide this leave, and to ensure that at the end of it, you return to the same job with the same salary, duties, location, and benefits. But many employers don’t comply perfectly with this law, and some employees face retaliation for taking FMLA leave. Here are some questions to ask when considering whether your FMLA rights are being violated. Are You Eligible for FMLA Leave? Not everyone, unfortunately, qualifies for FMLA coverage—and not all employees have to offer it. Employers who have to provide FMLA leave include: Private-sector employers with 50 or more employees who’ve worked 20 or more work weeks in the current or previous year. Public federal, state, or local government agencies, regardless of size. Public and private elementary and secondary schools, regardless of size. Employees have to meet certain criteria, too. To qualify for FMLA leave, you must: Work for an employer required to provide FMLA [...]

26 07, 2019

An Unintended Side Effect of #MeToo: More Women Are Getting Fired

By | 2019-07-26T01:16:33+00:00 July 26th, 2019|Sexual Harassment|0 Comments

How Women Can Fight Back Against Retaliation According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment cases were up 13.6% in 2018—probably because of increased awareness driven by the #MeToo movement. In a way, that’s good news. It shows that women have higher expectations for treatment at work; they’re less willing to put up with bad behavior; and they feel more empowered to speak up. Unfortunately, as a recent news story illustrates, many women are paying the price for this new-found empowerment in the form of negative—and often unlawful— repercussions. Let’s take a closer look at what’s going on, and then discuss what you can do if you’ve been a victim of retaliation. Retaliation on the Rise So what happens after a woman speaks up about unfair treatment—after they file a claim? That’s where the statistics get a little more disheartening. The EEOC reports that retaliation cases are by far the most common kind they handle—representing more than half of the organization’s caseload. And approximately three quarters of sexual harassment charges include retaliation. A recent Vox article highlights the depth of the problem. The more people stand up against sexual harassment, the more likely they’ll get fired or retaliated [...]

20 07, 2019

Are Gen Xers About to Get Hit With an Age-Discrimination Epidemic?

By | 2019-07-20T18:53:06+00:00 July 20th, 2019|Workplace Discrimination|0 Comments

Or Has it Already Started? When the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its statistics on the number and types of workplace discrimination cases it handled in 2018, age discrimination was among the top five. This type of discrimination is typically associated with the Baby Boomer generation. But Gen Xers, born between roughly 1961 and 1981, are already feeling its sting. Problems in the Tech Industry Some industries are worse offenders than others. The tech industry is among the worst; according to the Visier Insights Report, the average tech worker is five years younger than the average worker in other industries, and so is the average manager. Ads for jobs in this industry frequently feature dog-whistle phrases such as “digital native” that specifically exclude older workers without making that exclusion overt. The reason that phrase is problematic? It refers specifically to people who were raised from childhood in a digital environment, as opposed to “digital immigrants” who came to that environment in adulthood. It targets Gen Xers for exclusion because many people in this generation experienced an analog childhood and a digital adulthood—making them unique from both Baby Boomers and Millennials. It also makes them, in this discriminatory parlance, “digital [...]