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So far Murphy Law has created 178 blog entries.
18 01, 2019

Negotiating a Severance Agreement

By | 2019-01-18T01:57:18+00:00 January 18th, 2019|Severance Agreement Review|0 Comments

Why you should talk to a lawyer before you sign a severance agreement A severance agreement is a contract between you and your employer that defines the rights and responsibilities of both parties when you leave your job. You might be asked to sign one when you’re hired, but more commonly, you’ll be presented with one when you leave. On the one hand, it’s good to have one—because it stipulates what your employer owes you in terms of severance pay and extended benefits. On the other hand, your employer may demand things in return that can make your life difficult. Before you sign a severance agreement, it’s crucial to have a lawyer look it over. Here’s why. Things you might give up in a bad severance agreement Here are a few things you might have to give up if you sign a severance agreement without knowing what’s in it. Employer payments to your retirement account. Do you have a retirement account with employer-matching contributions? Are you vested? Many employers won’t let you keep that employer contribution unless you are—and that can take years on the job. Check with a lawyer to make sure you know what will happen to your retirement account [...]

9 01, 2019

The Pay Gap is Real: What Women Need to Know

By | 2019-01-10T01:30:48+00:00 January 9th, 2019|Workplace Discrimination|0 Comments

The Equal Pay Act offers protection If you suspect you’re not making as much as your male colleagues, you’re not alone. This is, sadly, far more common than you’d think in 2019. But you do have options—and you can fight back. Many women get paid less than men who are in the same roles, despite having similar experience and education. What is the Equal Pay Act? The Equal Pay Act was signed in 1963 by President Kennedy as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act. It mandates that employers provide “equal pay for equal work.”   That phrase refers to the expectation that employees in the same workplace be paid the same, regardless of gender, race, and other factors—although the phrase is usually used to refer to the gender wage gap. The “pay” in “equal pay” refers not just to salary, but also bonuses, allowances, and benefits. The Equal Pay Act establishes that people of all genders must be paid the same for work that requires similar: SkillEffortResponsibilityDone under similar working conditionsIn the same establishment This is true even when the jobs aren’t 100% identical. Here’s a breakdown of what each requirement means: Skill: All the experiences, abilities, education, and [...]

18 12, 2018

How Companies May Use Layoffs to Hide Age Discrimination

By | 2019-01-10T01:28:26+00:00 December 18th, 2018|Age Discrimination|0 Comments

What to do when reductions-in-force are questionable A round of layoffs hits your company, and your job is one of those to go. But when you look at the other workers who lost their jobs, you notice you all have one thing in common: you’re all over 40. It happens more often than you’d think. Age discrimination is illegal, but employers can and do sometimes use general layoffs to mask the large-scale firing of older employees and the hiring of younger workers. Here’s how they get away with it. Firing based on salary. Employers have to justify large-scale layoffs in a way that won’t lead to lawsuits, and one way to do that is by firing people based on what they earn: salary, benefits, bonuses, and commissions. This often has the practical effect of shedding large swaths of older, more experienced workers who’ve had time to earn higher salaries—leaving the employer free to hire cheaper, younger workers. This is functionally the same as age discrimination—even if it’s justified on paper. Replacing your job. Some companies will eliminate the jobs of older employees, then pull a sleight-of-hand—re-introducing the old job with a new title, and hiring a younger employee to fill [...]

4 12, 2018

You Reported Sexual Harassment, Then You Got Fired—Now What?

By | 2019-01-10T01:28:38+00:00 December 4th, 2018|Sexual Harassment|0 Comments

How to fight back after retaliation It’s a horrible position to be in: losing your job after reporting sexual harassment. In this situation, it’s easy to feel powerless—but you should know that the law is one your side. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that you have the right to work without being subjected to sexual harassment—and the right to report it if you are the victim. That means it’s against the law for your employer to retaliate against you for reporting sexual harassment, or any other illegal activity. What is retaliation? Retaliation does not just mean firing. It can take many forms, including: Reprimanding you or giving you a lower performance evaluation than you deserve. Transferring you to a less-desirable position or demoting you. Physical or verbal abuse. Threatening to report your immigration status, or file a police report against you. Putting you under increased scrutiny. Retaliating against a family member (for instance, by firing your spouse). Spreading false rumors against you. Deliberately making your job more difficult. What you should do after getting fired  1. Write everything down As much as you can remember, write down the details of the harassment you experienced and the events that led [...]

20 11, 2018

Quiz: Are You Getting Cheated Out of Overtime Pay?

By | 2018-11-20T00:49:21+00:00 November 20th, 2018|Overtime Class Actions|0 Comments

Take this quiz to see if you might be owed money If you’ve worked a lot of overtime and your paycheck is less than it should be, your employer may be misclassifying you in order to dodge paying overtime. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay non-exempt workers at least minimum wage, as well as time and a half for overtime pay. “Overtime” describes all hours worked in a week over 40. Some employees, however, are classified as exempt from overtime. If you’re exempt, you aren’t entitled to overtime pay even if you work more than 40 hours in a week. The specific signs of this misclassification vary depending on your profession, industry, and situation. However, if you think it may be happening to you, here are some questions to ask: 1. Are you hourly or salary? It’s usually salaried employees that are exempt from overtime pay. There are exceptions to this, however—such as people categorized as computer employees. If you earn an hourly wage but your employer has told you that you’re exempt from overtime pay, they may be misclassifying you. 2. Do you make more or less than $455 per week? In many situations, if [...]

31 10, 2018

Misclassification of Employees: How Companies Avoid Paying Overtime

By | 2018-11-20T00:51:24+00:00 October 31st, 2018|Overtime Class Actions|0 Comments

What you need to know if your paycheck is short Has this ever happened to you? You put in a ton of overtime at work, forego fun activities and family time, and come home exhausted for days or weeks on end. You figure it’ll all be worth it once you get that big overtime paycheck. Then when your check comes in, it’s suspiciously light. This is not as uncommon as you’d think. One sneaky way companies avoid paying overtime is by misclassifying employees as exempt so they don’t qualify for time-and-a-half. Let’s talk about how companies game the system—and what you should do if you think it’s happening to you. Who is exempt from overtime pay?  There are two types of employee classifications: exempt and non-exempt. Exempt basically means “exempt from overtime.” Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are required to pay non-exempt employees at least the minimum wage, plus time and a half for all hours worked over 40 in a week. But some categories of employees, those who are classified as exempt, don’t qualify for time-and-a-half no matter how many hours they work. Exempt employees may include: Executives Despite the name, you don’t have to be [...]

14 10, 2018

Need Sick Leave for Family Care? Find out What You Qualify For

By | 2018-10-14T22:11:42+00:00 October 14th, 2018|Family and Medical Leave Act Claims|0 Comments

What you need to know about the Family Medical Leave Act Your child or your parent becomes ill and requires care. You need some time off from work. Now what? You may be wondering if you can use your accrued sick leave to care for someone else. Or perhaps you don’t have any accrued leave to use in the first place … and you’re wondering if there are still options for taking time off. With the added strain of caring for a family member, the last thing you need to worry about is your job security. Let’s talk about your rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). What is the FMLA? The FMLA is a federal labor law that provides job protection for certain employees who need to take leave for qualified medical or family reasons. (We’ll discuss those reasons in more detail below). Employees who are eligible may take up to 12 weeks of leave and must be allowed to retain any company-provided health benefits during that time. Upon returning to work, employees must be returned to their regular positions, or to positions that are equivalent in compensation, job duties, and opportunities for advancement. Which employers have to [...]

20 09, 2018

Lactation Room Requirements FAQ: Does Your Employer Measure Up?

By | 2018-10-14T22:25:22+00:00 September 20th, 2018|Pregnancy Discrimination, Uncategorized|0 Comments

What nursing moms need to know when returning to work If you’re returning to work while breastfeeding, you’re probably somewhat stressed about how you’re going to manage expressing breastmilk during the workday. It’s a problem many women have faced—including my wife after the births of each of our four children. I’ve seen firsthand how knowing what to expect can help ease the transition back into the working world. One of the biggest questions you’re probably worried about: Where are you going to pump? Let’s take a look at what you need to know about lactation rooms before you return to work. What are the laws for breast pumping at work? Federal, state, and local laws may apply to nursing moms. Federal breastfeeding laws The Affordable Care Act (ACA), more often known as Obamacare, amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) to state that non-exempt employees must be given a private space other than a bathroom to express breastmilk during the workday. Generally, “non-exempt” refers to people who are qualified to receive overtime. There are two important exclusions that working moms should note: The law only applies to women who are employed by companies or agencies that are bound by the [...]

30 06, 2018

Should You Sign A Non-Disclosure Agreement?

By | 2018-06-30T13:54:49+00:00 June 30th, 2018|Employment Agreements|0 Comments

After an extensive job search, you are offered a position with a large corporation. Before accepting, you are presented with an employment agreement including a non-compete clause, a non-solicitation clause, and a non-disclosure clause. You are required to sign these documents as a condition of employment. Feeling you have no real choice, you sign the documents. Life goes on. You’ve been working for the same company for three years when you are offered a better position with a higher salary in the same field in the same state as your current job. You then remember all those documents you signed. What now? Did you sign away your right to change jobs? Non-compete, non-solicitation, and non-disclosure clauses Non-compete agreements typically offer employment on the condition that the employee, while employed for that employer, and for a specified time following employment, shall not work for or start a business that competes with the employer, in the same geographic area. The geographic area is usually defined in the non-compete clause. Non-solicitation agreements specify that the employee shall not solicit former coworkers to a new place of employment or business. Non-disclosure agreements typically require the employee to agree not to disclose trade secrets or [...]

15 06, 2018

Gig Workers Have Rights Too

By | 2018-06-15T14:16:12+00:00 June 15th, 2018|Employment Agreements, Overtime Class Actions, Wage Theft & Unpaid Wages|0 Comments

Gig workers and independent contractor status Many workers in the gig economy sign an acknowledgement that the worker is an independent contractor and not an employee. However, sometimes that is not the end of the story. For one thing, courts are increasingly evaluating whether the company exercises sufficient control over the worker’s everyday tasks that he or she should in fact be classified as an employee. This classification is crucial as workers who are classified as independent contractors are not entitled to the guarantees and protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or other employment statutes. This affects the worker’s entitlement to minimum wage and overtime compensation, unemployment and disability insurance, family leave, workers’ compensation, and sick leave. These statutes only apply to workers who are classified as employees. Further, independent contractors are generally not entitled to employer-sponsored benefits, including health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. As the gig economy evolves, so does the law On June 7, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a news release reporting that 3.8 percent of U.S. workers, that is 5.9 million individuals, held contingent jobs as of May 2017. With gig workers numbering in the millions, the classification of [...]