In Florida, an at-will employee is one whose employment has no specified term and who may be terminated at the will of either party, with or without cause and with or without notice. However, an employer is not permitted to terminate an employee in violation of a state or federal statute, such as: retaliation, discrimination, or whistle blowing.Read More
Discrimination and Accommodations Policies in the Workplace Enacted in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) grants people with disabilities rights to fair housing, education, public transportation, public accommodations, telecommunications and employment. Businesses are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities and must make reasonable accommodations for recruits and workers. ADA covers businesses, organizations and government agencies that employ 15 or more workers, labor unions and employment agencies. Definition of Disability Under the ADA To qualify for ADA protection, the worker must have a medical condition that meets the definition of “disability,” including: A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities A history of a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities Regarded as having a disability by others Because the ADA does not specifically name impairments that are covered by the legislation, the line as to what constitutes a disability can sometimes be up for debate. The main factor is whether the medical condition places substantial limitations on a major life activity. Discriminatory Conduct Businesses are prohibited from discriminating against workers with disabilities when making employment decisions, such as: Recruitment and hiring Termination Wages Benefits, including health and retirement Training opportunities Work conditions Shifts, projects or assignments In addition, businesses are responsible for harassment of individuals with disabilities and must respond to grievances and take action to stop harassment and discrimination by coworkers, supervisors and clients. Reasonable Accommodations The cornerstone of the ADA is the reasonable accommodation […]Read More
The Foundation of Anti-Discrimination Laws Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of their inclusion in a protected class. This landmark legislation is the foundation for anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws in the workplace. Title VII generally applies to businesses and organizations that employ 15 or more workers, labor unions, employment agencies and local, state and federal governments. Protected Classes Since the law was enacted, more than 50 years ago, amendments have expanded the reach of the Civil Rights Act to additional protected classes. For example, genetic information is a new class that has recently been added to the protected classes of race, gender, pregnancy, national origin, religion, disability and age. An employer who has a connection to a protected class, such as through marriage or membership in an organization, may also be protected under the Act. The impression of being in a class may also be enough to trigger protection. Discriminatory Employment Decisions A business is not permitted to consider a worker’s inclusion in a class when it makes such employment-related decisions as: Recruitment and hiring Firing or layoff Compensation Promotion or transfer Shifts or assignments Benefits package Training An employer may be considered in violation of the Civil Rights Act for policies that have no legitimate business purpose and cause a discriminatory result. For instance, requiring workers to wear a skirt as their only uniform option would tend to discriminate against men. Similarly, designating the auto repair department […]Read More
How will the Supreme Court’s decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) impact employment laws? Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Florida Civil Rights Act prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of race, sex, age, national origin, disability etc. Notice anything missing? Currently, there is no Federal Law or Florida State Law that prohibits discrimination in the terms and conditions of employment based on sexual orientation. So, at least in the private sector, an employee could be terminated simply because of their sexual orientation and there would be no legal recourse. This is unacceptable and employers should now be proactive and add “sexual orientation” to their current policies even before the federal or state legislatures amend Title VII or enact new laws to prohibit sexual orientation discrimination. Employers should be proactive and voluntarily implement in-house policies that prohibit any discrimination including sexual orientation because it benefits the company to treat all employees equally and foster a forward thinking employment environment of individual acceptance.Read More
In a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court recently ruled that a discrimination class action lawsuit brought by female employees of WalMart alleging unequal pay to male counterparts could not continue as single, national class. The decision stated that although a group of female employees could pursue legal action against individual stores or regions, they could not continue as a national class. Read more: http://www.npr.org/2011/06/20/137296721/supreme-court-limits-wal-mart-discrimination-case.Read More
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