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So far Murphy Law has created 199 blog entries.
5 06, 2019

Half of Employees Report Ignoring Sexual Harassment

By | 2019-07-16T19:46:25+00:00 June 5th, 2019|Sexual Harassment|0 Comments

People often stay quiet out of fear Believe it or not, a recent study revealed that over half of people haven’t spoken up after witnessing seen sexual harassment in the workplace. According to the survey by Randstand, “while 51% of both men and women surveyed say they know a woman who has been sexually harassed at work, 50% admit they haven’t spoken up after hearing a colleague make an inappropriate comment about a person of the opposite sex.” The reason? In cases where sexual harassment is happening to someone else, most people aren’t sure what to do. And, no doubt, a fear of retaliation plays into this as well. It’s not an unfounded fear. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), retaliation is the most common discrimination finding among federal-sector cases. But sexual harassment doesn’t have to be happening to you specifically in order to make a complaint.  And both filing a charge (even if it’s not about you) and intervening to protect someone from harassment are legally protected activities. If you find yourself being retaliated against, you do have recourse in court. What Is Retaliation? If you find your employer doing any of the following things after you’ve [...]

17 05, 2019

Can You Get Fired for Reporting Sexual Harassment?

By | 2019-05-17T22:17:54+00:00 May 17th, 2019|Sexual Harassment|0 Comments

Standing up against sexual harassment in the workplace is a protected activity. It’s your right to expect that your workplace be free of sexual harassment, and your employer isn’t legally allowed to retaliate against you for reporting it. Despite this, unfortunately, retaliation isn’t unusual. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), it’s the most commonly-alleged type of discrimination among federal-sector jobs and cases. Types of Protected Activities Under the law, you are supposed to be able to do the following things without any threat of retaliation from your employer: File a charge of sexual harassmentBe a witness in a sexual harassment investigation or lawsuitTalk to your supervisor, or anyone else, about your concerns regarding sexual harassmentAnswer questions during an internal investigation Turn down sexual advancesIntervene to protect someone else from sexual harassment This is not a complete list. You should be able to take any action to oppose sexual harassment, as long as you are acting under the reasonable belief that the behaviors in question constitute sexual harassment under EEOC law. Of course, employers can terminate or discipline you during an investigation, as long as the reason has nothing to do with your sexual harassment case. But employers are [...]

10 05, 2019

What Counts as Sexual Harassment?

By | 2019-05-10T20:40:09+00:00 May 10th, 2019|Sexual Harassment|0 Comments

Your boss always notices what you’re wearing, and compliments you on it—but somehow those “compliments” leave you feeling uneasy. A few times you’ve walked into the break room and heard co-workers telling jokes that made you uncomfortable. A colleague keeps trying to give you “friendly massages” while you’re sitting at your desk. If any of this is happening to you, you may have a sexual harassment problem at work. The term “sexual harassment” can cover a lot of behaviors, ranging from questionable comments to out-and-out assault. Between those two extremes lie coercion, bullying, the creation of a hostile workplace, and the offer of specific rewards in exchange for sexual favors. Here are some answers to common questions about sexual harassment. What is the legal definition of sexual harassment? According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment can come in verbal or physical form. It can include unwelcome advances, jokes and comments, unwanted touching, offers of workplace favors in exchange for sexual favors, and adverse consequences for refusing—such as firing or demotion. To qualify as sexual harassment, the behavior must either be severe or pervasive. It can be both, but it doesn’t have to be. A single, serious [...]

3 05, 2019

Quiz: Are You Being Sexually Harassed?

By | 2019-05-03T21:47:13+00:00 May 3rd, 2019|Sexual Harassment|0 Comments

Sometimes sexual harassment is glaringly obvious—but at other times, it can be difficult to identify. All you know is that the behavior is making you uncomfortable. If you’re not sure whether you’re being sexually harassed, ask yourself these questions. Is someone making comments about your body? There’s a difference between innocent “compliments” and those that cross lines. For instance, there’s a difference between “I like your outfit” and “your legs look great in that skirt.” If someone at work makes a comment that calls attention to your body or appearance in a way that makes you uncomfortable, it may constitute sexual harassment. Are people making comments about your (or any) gender? Inappropriate comments don’t need to be directed at you personally to be sexual harassment. If you often overhear coworkers making disparaging comments about people of your (or any) sex or gender, this can create a hostile work environment. Are you being touched in a way you don’t like? Unwanted touching is often one of the clearest examples of sexual harassment—but sometimes, even this can be subtle. Some clear and less obvious examples include: Unwanted massages Slapping, pinching, grabbing, or gropingHugging or kissing without permission—or even attempting toIntentionally rubbing against [...]

19 03, 2019

What Are Your Rights Under USERRA?

By | 2019-05-06T19:28:30+00:00 March 19th, 2019|Workplace Discrimination|0 Comments

Deployment Shouldn’t Result in Unemployment It’s not easy serving your country as a military reservist while holding down a full-time civilian job. You could get deployed for years at a time—and what will happen to your job while you’re away? USERRA is the law that ensures you’ll have a job to return to after your service. Here’s how it works. What Is USERRA? USERRA is the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act. It provides job protection for military reservists while they’re deployed. Under USERRA, you are entitled to be re-employed in the position you would have had if you hadn’t left for military service, with the same status, pay, and seniority. This is sometimes referred to as the “escalator principle,” and the idea is that you shouldn’t have to suffer civilian career setbacks because of your military service. If you need to retrain or update your skills to qualify for the position you’re entitled to, your employer should facilitate that for you. If there’s no way to qualify for the “escalator” position you would have had if you hadn’t been deployed, you are entitled to re-employment in another equivalent position. How Long Does USERRA Protect Your Job? In the [...]

12 03, 2019

Pregnancy Light Duty Rules: What You Need to Know

By | 2019-05-06T19:27:59+00:00 March 12th, 2019|Pregnancy Discrimination|0 Comments

You May Be Entitled to Job Accommodations Are you pregnant and employed? If so, hopefully you won’t be too shocked at the way your employer treats you after they hear the news. Pregnancy discrimination is a huge problem in American companies. A recent New York Times investigation uncovered numerous instances where pregnant women asked for light duty accommodation and were refused. “Light duty” generally refers to less physically taxing work, often given on a short-term basis to help workers with temporary injuries keep their jobs while they recover. Pregnancy isn’t an injury or disability, but pregnant workers may be entitled to light duty under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). If you’re pregnant, you may be entitled to light-duty accommodation—but the rules around this aren’t exactly straightforward. Here’s a breakdown. Does My Employer Have to Provide Light Duty? Technically, light duty isn’t just for pregnant women. It’s for any worker recovering from an injury, and it’s assumed that the person will eventually be able to return to their previous job. The PDA doesn’t require all employees to offer light-duty work to pregnant women. What it does require is that pregnant women be treated equally. If an employer offers light duty to [...]

5 03, 2019

How Companies Benefit from Calling You an Independent Contractor

By | 2019-04-02T20:30:02+00:00 March 5th, 2019|Employment Agreements|0 Comments

Should You Have Employee Status? There are upsides to being an independent contractor. You have more freedom than a salaried employee—that is, when it comes to what you’re paid, when you work, and how you do your job, you’re the one who sets the terms.    But you’re also not entitled to certain benefits. Companies get a lot out of misclassifying employees as “independent contractors” while treating them like salaried employees. In some cases, this may be unlawful—and it can rob you of key workplace protections. Here’s an overview of reasons why employers deliberately misclassify their employees—and how to tell if they’re doing it to you. It Costs Them Less to Call You a Contractor Full-time employees don’t just pull in a salary. They may also get overtime and unemployment compensation, employer-sponsored health care, family and medical leave, paid time off, retirement plans, and other benefits. Those benefits are expensive—but if the employer calls you a contractor, they don’t have to pay for any of it. You take on the responsibility, expense, and risk of paying for your own time off, retirement, and healthcare. The company just has to pay your wage. They Don’t Have to Watch out for Your [...]

25 02, 2019

How Do You Request Accommodation Under the ADA?

By | 2019-03-21T22:19:52+00:00 February 25th, 2019|Americans with Disabilities Act Claims|0 Comments

There are no formal procedures, but there are things you should know Perhaps you’ve suffered an illness or injury. If so, like many other Americans, one day you may need to request accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, employers with 15 or more employees—as well as government institutions—are required to provide reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities so they can perform their jobs. See Also: What is Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA? If you ever find yourself in this situation, here are a few tips for making the request. You don’t need to use specific phrases. To request an accommodation, all you need to do is tell your employer in plain language. There’s no need to use specific wording like “reasonable accommodation” or bring up the ADA, so if you’ve already made a request using general language, that’s OK. Generally, the best way to do it is to inform your employer of the problem you’re having, and connect it to your medical condition. For instance: “I’m having trouble making it to work at 8 in the morning because of my physical therapy.” “I need three weeks off to recuperate from surgery.” “My wheelchair can’t fit [...]

18 02, 2019

What Are Some Examples of Accommodations Under the ADA?

By | 2019-03-05T20:39:23+00:00 February 18th, 2019|Americans with Disabilities Act Claims|0 Comments

Job and schedule modifications are only the tip of the iceberg Do you have a physical or mental health condition that makes it hard for you to do your job? The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities in the workplace. But what does that actually mean?  Reasonable accommodation may mean a change to the physical environment or a change to some aspects of the job itself—as long as those changes don’t create an undue burden. Here are some concrete examples of reasonable accommodations for specific conditions—but remember, these are only examples. Each accommodation request must be handled on a case-by-case basis. Wheelchair use: Installing a ramp to make a workplace wheelchair-accessible. Modifying a restroom so a worker with disabilities can use it. Changing the layout of cubicles to provide enough room for a wheelchair to pass. Providing a raised or adjustable desk so that a wheelchair can be used in place of a chair. Hearing or vision impairment: Getting dictation software to help a hearing-impaired worker. Purchasing a screen magnifier for a visually impaired person’s computer station. Chronic or sudden medical conditions: Allowing an extended period of unpaid leave to recover [...]

12 02, 2019

What is Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA?

By | 2019-02-25T14:07:40+00:00 February 12th, 2019|Americans with Disabilities Act Claims|0 Comments

What employers do and do not have to do Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers are required to make certain accommodations for workers with disabilities. “Reasonable accommodation” is the term used for changes made to allow workers with disabilities to do their jobs. Employers are required to make these changes unless they constitute an undue hardship. What Might An Employer Have To Do? Some examples of reasonable accommodations an employer might make include: Workplace modifications. This might include raising a desk so a wheelchair can fit under it; installing a screen magnifier for a visually impaired worker; or making dictation software available for a hearing-impaired employee. Schedule changes. An employer might reorganize a worker’s schedule so they can make regular doctor’s appointments, or increase the amount of unpaid leave an employee can have for medical reasons. Hiring additional staff. This could include hiring interpreters or readers to help an employee, or bringing in a specialist to help with internal training. Changing exam requirements. Being allowed to take the exam orally rather than in writing, or allowing more time to complete the test. Location changes. If you work for a large employer, the employer may be required to transfer [...]