Holman Schiavone, LLC

Holman Schiavone, LLC Blog

Workplace discrimination charges made against company

Many behaviors in the workplace could be considered to be against the law in Missouri and elsewhere around the country. Workplace discrimination occurs when an employee is treated unfairly because of their age, race, gender, nationality, religion or disability. When such discrimination is suspected, employees sometimes come together to protest a company's behavior in a lawsuit. Kay Jewelers has recently come under fire for suspected wage and promotion discrimination, as well as alleged sexual improprieties.

Thousands of current and former employees have filed a lawsuit against the jewelry company that claims women were frequently passed over for promotions and men were mostly the ones in positions of power. The pattern of discrimination is said to have dated back to the early 1990s.  In addition, over 200 employees alleged that the company was in violation of the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act. As part of a federal class-action lawsuit, the employees claim pay discrimination took place in the context of sexual improprieties.

Improvements still needed re workplace sexual harassment

Unwanted advances from co-workers have occurred for a very long time, well before they were considered to be illegal. While sexual harassment is against the law in Missouri and everywhere else in our country, it is still prevalent in the workplace today. A long-time federal correspondent for an internet broadcast radio station and website-based news provider recently offered his insight on sexual harassment in the work environment.

He believes that even unwelcome sexual behavior on the job has been against the law for years, many men still don't understand that what they are doing is wrong. Even smart, successful or religious men are guilty of this behavior. The majority of men are never caught or are seldom punished even if they are. The correspondent does not offer statistics to support if harassment happens more or less frequently now or where it occurs more. He simply acknowledges that the problem still exists.

Roundup of EEOC discrimination settlements

If you are routinely discriminated against at your job, it may seem hopeless. There is great power disparity between you and your employer. Sure, you could file a discrimination lawsuit, and you are nominally protected but the reality is that your employer is likely going to punish you for filing the suit and you will be forced to look for another. Additionally, with the job market still tight, you don?t want to develop a "litigious" reputation. With so many chips stacked against you, it may look like you will just have to swallow that discriminatory behavior.

Missouri raised the minimum wage in 2017

The minimum wage was a hot topic over the past few years. The famed "Fight for 15" pitted service workers, predominately in the fast food industry, against employers both big and small. The "Fight for 15" basic argument was that the minimum wage did not provide a livable wage which forced people on the minimum wage to seek government assistance. Essentially, the government was subsidizing major company’s ability to underpay their workers.

Their argument has some merit. The minimum wage is not pegged to inflation therefore its effective buying power has steadily decreased over the decades. The current minimum federal wage is $7.25 an hour which amounts to about $15,080 a year which is below the federal poverty line for a family of two, let alone three or four.

Hotel allegedly exploited workers; violated wage laws

There are laws are in place to protect the rights of workers in Missouri and throughout the country. These wage laws ensure that employees get paid properly and are afforded breaks, among other protections. A recent situation in another state focused on a hotel accused with violating several of the local and state minimum wage laws.

A hotel finds itself in violation of these laws when the owner refused to offer sick leave or pay overtime to six housekeepers. The hotel was also accused of forcing employees to work off the clock. Breaks were not provided by the hotel and employees feared retaliation if they called in sick, according to a city attorney.

Wrongful termination issues addressed in Missouri Senate

When someone is fired in Missouri or elsewhere around the country, his or her first reaction may be to sue the former employer. But there are many instances when a firing is not illegal and would not warrant a wrongful termination lawsuit. In fact, recent actions in the Missouri Senate could make it even more difficult to prove discrimination in wrongful termination cases.

The Senate approved legislation that would require workers to prove that bias was a motivating factor in their termination as opposed to a contributing factor, as the law currently states. Proponents wanted the bill to require that workers provide proof that their termination was based solely on a protected status. The issue was debated hotly and a compromise was reached. 

Fox News settled sexual harassment claim against Bill O’Reilly

Fox News seems incapable of escaping the revolving door of sexual harassment allegations against prominent executives and personalities. Earlier last year it was the infamous Roger Ailes, head of Fox News. Then it was Megyn Kelly’s on-air feuding with Mr. Trump and members of his campaign. The latest stink of sexual harassment is now against Bill O’Reilly, arguably the most popular on-air personality on the Fox News network.

According to reports, in the weeks following Mr. Ailes ouster from the network, Fox News quietly settled a sexual harassment allegation against Mr. O’Reilly from a long-time broadcaster. The accuser, Juliet Huddy, claimed that he used his position of influence over her to pursue a sexual relationship. She claims that she rejected his advances several times, which ultimately resulted in him retaliating against her professionally.

A young man's guide to sexual harassment in the workplace

Often, it's women who learn about sexual harassment and what to look out for, but men are the victims of harassment at work, too. As a young man, you have all the same rights as any other victim of sexual harassment. You can file a complaint with your human resources department if there is one at work, or you can talk to a supervisor about the coworker or person who is harassing you. Of course, if those steps don't help, a lawsuit is a possibility.

Sexual harassment comes in a number of forms in the workplace. For example, a coworker making a joke about your sexual preferences or touching you without permission can be harassment. Here are a few other situations to watch out for.

Exploring Uber's infamous workplace culture

Many Silicon Valley companies are notorious for their workaholic employees, insane pressure, and demands on employees. Amazon is routinely criticized for demanding extreme commitment from its employees, even to the extent that it requires them to forego child responsibilities. But, it appears, that Uber may take the crown from Amazon as the most demanding workplace environment.

Disability discrimination basics

The Federal government prohibits employers from discriminating their employees on the basis of race, religion, sex or disability. Disability discrimination is the unfair treatment towards a person because of their disability. The law does not force employers to hire disabled employees. It only makes sure that someone who is capable of performing the same duty as any other person is not rejected because of the disability.