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workplace discrimination Archives

DC and a handful of US states pave the way for paid leave

The United States, as a developed country, comes short in comparison to its peers in providing paid sick leave and family leave. Washington, D.C., a few states and some private companies have gone the extra mile to provide paid sick and family leave to workers. This includes paid leave for new parents, adults who need to take care of a sick family member and workers who need to take care of themselves.

Are fathers eligible for FMLA leave?

If you are preparing to welcome a new baby into your home, you are probably planning to take some time off to care for your family and bond with your new child. While you may know that the federal and District of Columbia Family Medical Leave Acts allow mothers to take time away from work in this circumstance, you may not be sure of your rights as a father. If you work for an FMLA-covered employer in Washington, D.C., you may take FMLA leave for the birth of a child regardless of whether you are the child's mother or father. In general, to qualify for FMLA leave, you must have worked for your current employer for at least one year, and for at least 1,000 hours over the past year. Employees who work for employers with fewer than 20 employees are not covered by the DC laws, and the federal law requires at least 50 employees.

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.

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.

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.

Court Rules in Favor of Firm's Client on Post-Trial Motion in Tenure Discrimination Case

Here's an update on the October 2018 jury verdict in our firm's tenure case against American University. On February 5, 2019, Judge Rankin denied defendant's post-trial motion . AU made three primary arguments, each of which the court rejected. Some excerpts follow (emphasis added) -

Alan Kabat presented at CLE conference on independent contractor issues

Alan Kabat recently organized and moderated a CLE panel at the annual conference of the Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association on wage and hour laws, which included a discussion on misclassification of employees as independent contractors in the new "gig" economy. Increasingly, employers are attempting to treat their workers as independent contractors instead of as employees, thereby removing the protection of nearly all the employment discrimination laws from their workers. Further, the tax code was recently amended to favor employers' characterization of workers as independent contractors. His report discussed the often unforeseen consequences of misclassification of workers. Alan also described the ongoing litigation involving Uber drivers and recent legislative attempts to address the misclassification of workers, to ensure that the spectrum of employment laws will protect all workers, not just those in a traditional employer/employee relationship.

Does Sex-Based Favoritism in the Workplace Create a Hostile Work Environment Claim?

There are at least four ways in which sex-based favoritism in the workplace - where the boss favors an employee with whom he is having a sexual relationship - creates legal liability for the employer. First is through a discrimination claim by the other workers who were passed over for a promotion or other benefits that the paramour received. Second is through a "quid pro quo" hostile work environment claim if the other workers refused to accede to the supervisor's demand for a relationship. Third is through a retaliation claim if the other workers protested the supervisor's favoritism and were then retaliated against by management. The fourth is a long-recognized but little used claim for hostile work environment based on sexual favoritism in the workplace.

Addressing religious discrimination at work

People may be subjected to a number of examples of unfair treatment on the basis of their faith. Unfortunately, this is a reality that many people have had to accept. However, this mistreatment is unacceptable in a workplace environment when it violates the rights of an employee or even a job applicant. People are discriminated against because of their religious beliefs in all sorts of ways and it is pivotal for victims of this mistreatment to look into their legal options and hold responsible those who violated their rights.

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