According to a survey of lawyers in the United States and the United Kingdom, employment claims pertaining to workplace discrimination and wage and hour disputes are only going to increase as 2013 wanders on.
It is easy for a negative workplace culture to run out of control -- and in most cases, there are few ways to stop it, let alone the employers being aware of it. Maybe an inside joke runs through the office for months, desensitizing the jokers to the delicate nature of what they are doing -- and eventually things get carried away, and the joke offends someone.
We have talked about the issues involving misclassifying employees before on this blog. This happens when an employee is labeled as a contractor or paid "under the table" or "off the books," when really they should be an official employee. It is a practice that almost always hurts the employee while benefitting the employer. In many cases, the employee is not even aware that the misclassification occurs.
As we have reported many times in the past, the Family and Medical Leave Act protects employees who need to take unpaid time off from work for medical reasons or to care for a family member. Although this law has been in place for more than 20 years, it does not stop some employers from retaliating against an employee for exercising their FMLA rights. At least that is the claim of an assembly worker who claims she was wrongfully terminated from her job at Peterbilt simply for taking time off for maternity leave.
Many people lost their jobs in the wake of the U.S. economic meltdown in 2008 and 2009. In many respects, the country still has not recovered -- but we are certainly on our way, as there seem to be some positive signs.
We have previously written about the Family Medical Leave Act and the vast importance of the law as it pertains to employee rights. When an employee is faced with extreme or extenuating situations that relate to medical conditions or family circumstances, the FMLA obligates employers to give the worker time off.
A state representative from San Antonio has introduced a bill into the Texas house of representatives that would prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill would make Texas one of the new states to recognize this type of discrimination specifically and establish a protected class for employees with nonconforming gender identities. This is the sixth time that the representative has introduced this measure, and this time he believes that the chances of passage are higher than ever. This session a companion bill was also introduced to the state senate.
While the following story is a little bit on the "old" side (at least by today's standard), the interesting circumstances of it warrant some discussion.
It has been 20 years since President Clinton signed the FMLA into law. The law has helped countless employees take time off from their jobs to care for a family member or a new baby without fear of being fired. However, the law doesn't protect everyone, including those who work less than 25 hours a week.
The Oprah Winfrey Network was launched in Jan. 2011, and while it may not be the powerhouse TV channel that some Houston residents thought it would be, it still carries the Oprah brand. Even for all of Oprah's talents, though, she needs capable, hard-working people at her network to make OWN a success. It appeared the network had a rising star in Carolyn Hommel, who was hired before the network launched and believed she was being groomed for a vice president role.
As many Houston residents have no doubt heard (or, in the most unfortunate of circumstances, experienced), this year's flu season is one of the worst in recent memory. The influenza strain going around right now is highly contagious and inflicts its victim with some serious symptoms.