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Washington, DC Employment Law Blog

Will my reputation suffer as a whistleblower?

A person who reveals troubling practices at their place or work, without regard for their own well-being, should be hailed as a hero. Sadly, this is not always the case. If a whistleblower at an organization isn't explicitly retaliated against, they're often subject to damaging accusations that can tarnish their reputation. Forbes explains why it's the duty of employers to create a culture where whistleblowers aren't unfairly targeted for their good deeds. 

One report illustrated the risks whistleblowers take when speaking up. The group of 25 workers studied for the report cited many troubling developments after speaking up. In some cases, the employee was pressured to resign. When workers stayed in their positions, they were privy to harassment, including bullying behaviors or isolation. This led to serious mental health issues, which affected workers both in the workplace as well as outside it. 

Filing an age discrimination law suit

Older workers typically earn higher salaries, earn more benefits and accumulate more vacation time. This adds to the bottom line cost of the company. But older workers’ performance, knowledge and experience commonly makes this investment pay off. However, unscrupulous employers do target older employees for termination to trim costs and a variety of other reasons.

Protections against age discrimination

Am I being sexually harassed?

Sexual harassment is a very serious concern in the workplace. Because it's such a personal issue, it sometimes can be difficult for people to recognize when they're the victim of harassment, even when the actions are blatant. Business Insider lists some of the signs of sexual harassment so you can take the proper steps to have the issue rectified.

For many people, sexual harassment is ongoing, even after the employee speaks up about the behavior. This is a hallmark of harassing behavior; a person requests that the behavior stops, whether it involves jokes, offensive remarks, or romantic advances, but the harasser continues and even escalates the harassment. This can create a hostile work environment that prevents the employee from doing his or her job, as the subject of harassment is likely to become quite upset and may even think about quitting their job due to the behavior.

Fourth Circuit - Race Discrimination decision

The Fourth Circuit today reversed the district court (South Carolina) in a Section 1981 and Title VII race discrimination case. The plaintiff was evidently represented pro bono on appeal by the Univ. of Virginia. The plaintiff was a garbage truck driver and was terminated after he complained about delays in getting his truck repaired; the employer also claimed that the plaintiff had committed several earlier infractions.

What is reasonable accommodation?

For employees with certain disabilities, returning to work can be challenging. As a result, the law requires employers in Washington, D.C. to provide reasonable accommodation to workers who are not able to function normally in their previous jobs. If employees ask for accommodation, employers must do whatever they can to make sure they are still able to work.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, reasonable accommodation is part of the Americans with Disability Act. This is available for qualified disabled workers as well as job applicants. These accommodations are modifications to some aspect of the job, whether it is when or how the employee does the job. An employer must make these changes for the employee unless he or she can prove doing so would result in severe economic hardship or the inability to operate.

Have you been the victim of constructive discharge at your job?

Do you feel you are being treated harshly at work or made to work under such unbearable conditions it is causing you to consider resigning?

If you are experiencing this type of treatment at work, you may be experiencing constructive discharge. This is forcing an employee out of their job, and it may happen when the company does not have a valid reason to fire you but still wants you out. Another reason for this behavior is unemployment benefits. If an employee is fired, they can be eligible for unemployment pay, but this is not the case if the employee quits a job on their own.

Employment discrimination may occur before you even apply

No worker in the United States should fear discrimination based on their identity. Although it is against federal law, some companies use tactics to avoid charges and hire certain people that fall into specific demographics.

If you believe you faced discrimination during any policies or practices put in place by your company or your potential company, you want to speak with an experienced employment attorney. He or she will aid you in collecting evidence and building a case for which you can obtain significant compensation for your time lost and damages. As a worker in the United States, you have the right to an equal opportunity to secure employment, and a court will work to rectify the decisions made by unethical businesses.

Do I have the right to free speech at work?

It is a scenario some workers fear: to say something that an employer dislikes and to be fired because of it. As Forbes explains, the First Amendment protection of free speech rights does not typically apply to workplaces. In many cases, an employer may sanction or fire someone for what they say. However, there are important exceptions that can land an employer in hot water for terminating a Washington D.C. worker for his or her speech.

First, employers may step over a legal line if they try to ban their employees from organizing for the purposes of collective bargaining. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) considers speech geared towards unionizing or collectively bargaining to be protected speech. Exceptions might be made if the speech is abusive or violent, but generally the law will not permit employers to sanction employees if they advocate for collective bargaining.

What are some examples of disability discrimination?

From religious discrimination to mistreatment based upon an employee's gender, there are many examples of unlawful discrimination in the workplace. Unfortunately, people have also been subjected to other types of discrimination in Washington, D.C. For example, some workers may experience discrimination because of a disability, and it is important to recognize various examples of this unacceptable behavior.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, disability discrimination against qualified individuals is prohibited in all facets of the employment process. For example, it is against the law for someone to be discriminated against during the application process, while they are working for a company or with respect to layoffs and job termination. Unfortunately, some people have failed to stand up for their rights because they were not aware that this behavior was prohibited during the application process.

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