There is an attorney in the State of Florida that focuses exclusively on employment law named Richard Celler….by way of another HR Blogger, HR Bartender, I will do a ‘paraphrase’ of his November 30, 2015 BLOG….He is much nicer to these employers than I could ever be…but then he probably never had to work for the minister or the fat lady….In case anyone would like to see/read the entire BLOG, please follow this link:
For every illegal action taken by an employer in the workplace, there is a moment of decision when it could have been avoided. A good….doesn’t even have to be great….HR department can stop unlawful actions before they happen, preventing any abuse before it occurs….in essence…helping both the employer and employee.
According to the latest data released by the DOL and EEOC, nearly 90,000 charges were filed in 2014 and $372 million was paid out in employment filed lawsuits. Each case could likely have been prevented if the employer had chosen an alternative to violating the rights of their employee.
An example of an Unfair Medical Leave 'retaliation' practice vs an Illegal Medical Leave 'retaliation' practice....
Unfair: Employee Eligibility for Protection: After taking an approved medical leave, you are told you don’t have a job to come back to. You were employed by a ‘covered’ employer, but hadn’t yet been on the job for the required 12 months, 1250 hours or work at a location with at least 50 employees within 75 miles. Family Medical Leave Act has employee eligibility requirements for protections to apply.
Illigal: Covered Medical Leave Retaliation: You are told you don’t have a job to return to after taking medical leave during your second year on the job. You meet FMLA protection requirements and you work for a ‘covered’ employer. Your employer felt you don’t qualify because your 12 months of work history hasn’t been consecutive. Any form of discipline or termination initiated by an employer because of covered leave is a violation and unlawful.
41.1% of all employment related lawsuits in 2014 were filed due to retaliation. This is particularly important for small businesses….an HR person can help direct the business owner/manager to the correct decision as well as any corporate employment lawyer, if the owner/manager chooses to go that direction. Unfortunately, many choose to rely on ‘consultants’ or ‘advisors’ that tell them what they want to hear…..oh my….have I gone down that rocky road….
Unfair: Employment Decisions Reflect Bias: After years of hard work, you have a rough week for personal reasons and arrive late to work. It happens again the next week and you are terminated for it. As a woman of color you think it is unfair and has to do with your race. The employer has also fired white employees after two (2) late starts. While you may feel it is unfair, the employer has a history of treating non-protected class employees in the same manner.
Illegal: Employment Decisions Reflect Bias: After years of hard work, you have a rough week for personal reasons and arrive late to work. It happens again the next week and you are terminated for it. As a woman of color you think it is unfair and has to do with your race. White employees have been late consecutively and weren’t fired for the offense. Despicable and unlawful. Evidence of dissimilar treatment when compared to people not in the protected category.
Over 35% of all employment related lawsuits filed in 2014 were for discrimination….comprising age, disability, pregnancy and race….one would think after all this time that any type of discrimination in the workplace is just NOT acceptable nor is it legal…however, it happens….over and over and over again. Again, a good HR professional or a good attorney can help prevent this kind of fodor….do not rely on a consultant or advisor who only wants to help the owner/manager line their pockets…..even though that is why the owner/manager continues to do it….
Did you know that $48.4 million dollars was paid in damages for sexual harassment in 2010 alone?
I must give one (1) more example for it is one that the minister and the fat lady continually engaged in for many ‘employees’ at all different levels in the business….that is Unfair and Illegal wage practices:
Unfair: Sent Home to Avoid Overtime (the minister and the fat lady NEVER did this): Your employer makes you (a non-exempt hourly employee) work 12 hours a day the first 3 days of the week. To prevent you from being paid time and one half for going over 40 hours, your employer (as soon as you hit 40 hours) sends you home for the rest of the week and only pays you for 40 hours because that is all that you worked. Abusive and unfair to the employee but, unfortunately, not illegal at this time.
Illegal: Wage Theft in the Workplace (the minister and the fat lady VERY OFTEN did this): Your employer assures you that you ‘agree’ to waive overtime pay or that you only qualify for paid overtime for ‘approved hours’ (how accurate this is to describe some employers) Your employer requires you to work over 40 hours per week but paycheck after paycheck you aren’t being compensated for the time spent, and your boss has a new excuse pay period after pay period….Your employer is stealing from you. Period. It should not be tolerated. The employee has legal recourse for unpaid wages.
I haven’t harped about former employers for quite awhile and I really don’t like doing so….I’m pretty bitter about former employers but I'm also someone that likes to face a problem or issue and fix it….certain times along the way, I read an article or I hear of a story that someone has been ‘screwed’ by an otherwise respectably appearing ‘employer’ and my rancor rises and I think of all those ‘scums’ out there that look good on paper or that come across honest, religious, sincere and confident and are basically the devil in disguise….for I truly believe that when an employee or worker is hurt, in any way, manner or capacity, then we are all hurt….I know….some people do not feel this way….and life will go on….
If you would like more information regarding how to manage a fair and legal business, then please contact Rosanne Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 484-947-7063.