Holman Schiavone, LLC

October 2016 Archives

Understanding age discriminating laws

In the United States law prohibits discrimination against a certain individual because of their age. The federal Age Discrimination in Employment (ADEA) act makes sure that employers do not discriminate against employees because of their age. Which means, employees over a certain age have protection from an employee deciding they are "too old" for the job.

What is a qui tam complaint?

A qui tam action lawsuit is brought forward by an individual who believes an organization is defrauding the government in a particular way. In most cases, the person taking action is an employee of the organization. A qui tam claim allows the government to recover the amount lost because of fraud. The employee who comes forward with the information might receive a small percentage of the recovery as a reward.

You're fired! The guide to political talk in the workplace

With less than two weeks to go until the 2016 Presidential election, political news coverage and opinions are at an all time high. Perhaps they have even trickled into the water cooler talk in your workplace. Although you likely have a few friends at work with whom you feel comfortable expressing your thoughts, not everyone agrees that political talk in the workplace is a banner idea.

Employee privacy at the workplace

The privacy of employers has become a great concern in recent years because of technological advancements. Most companies have started using information technology as a medium of communication, thus employee privacy might be at risk in certain circumstances. Organizations provide their employees with accounts that they can use while working at the office. Even though these accounts seem safe, there is still a chance that personal information could be leaked. Employee privacy may also be violated by the organization through surveillance, drug tests, background checks or unlawful searches.

Difference between independent contractors and employees

Often companies have to decide between hiring permanent employees or independent contractors to get the job done. Independent contractors cannot be considered as employees and are paid for the services they provide. However, contractors might spend several years working with a particular organization. The line between contractors and employees is very thin, and sometimes companies might exploit this fact without breaking any laws.

Retirement benefits

It is important for employees to plan their retirement ahead of time. There are different methods to plan for your retirement and make sure you can live a comfortable life after finishing your career. Besides pension, government employees have 401(k) plans allowing employees to invest in them. People who do not have access to 401(k) can create retirement accounts (IRA) to save money for their future. The federal government also has several laws in place to make sure the future of employees is protected. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) examines how retirement funds are being provided to senior citizens.

Understanding pregnancy discrimination in the workplace

It has become increasingly difficult for women to continue their career after having a baby, even though there are laws in the United States that make sure women do not have to choose between their family and their career. According to the law, employers are prohibited from making hiring, firing and promoting decisions based on whether an employee is pregnant. It is important that working women understand their rights. If you fail to understand your rights, your employer might be able to violate your rights without you even knowing about it.

Federal laws and whistleblower protection

Sometimes employees have to work with the added stress of knowing that an illegal activity is taking place at their organization. In some cases, employees cannot take the added pressure and choose to whistleblow against their employees. It is difficult to decide what decision to make because you could risk losing your job or face retaliation from your employer. You should keep in mind that the law protects you completely in case your employer chooses to retaliate against you.

Taking affirmative action against demographic inequality

There are several laws in place that prohibit discrimination at the workplace. But that does not always guarantee that there will be diversity within a company's workforce. Affirmative action plans are set up in order to reach out to certain minority groups that are underrepresented within an organizational workforce. Private companies have their own methodology when creating affirmative action plans, while government organizations follow a different set of rules. Affirmative action plans that affect hiring practices are often challenged in court by people who feel their rights are being violated.

The procedure to report unpaid wages and recover back pay

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA), all employers must pay their employees on time. Sometimes employers find it difficult to send wages on time, which creates complications. The law gives employees the right to make a complaint against their employer in case such a situation occurs. It is likely that the court will ask the employer to pay wages on time and pay the amount that they owe immediately. The amount that the employer owes is often called 'back pay.'  The process to report unpaid wages and recover back pay is fairly complicated, and all steps must be followed accurately.

Wells Fargo under investigation for bullying workers

Performance goals are common in the workplace. Most businesses rely on metrics to evaluate employees for performance reviews, goals and making business-decisions regarding staffing. In recent weeks the media have been running a succession of articles concerning potentially questionable business practices at the financial giant Wells Fargo. The company allegedly created an atmosphere that required employees to open up new accounts without authorization (or even the knowledge) of the bank's many customers.

Facing employer retaliation

Sometimes an employee may be the whistleblower against their own organization. The law makes sure that these employees are protected, and their contracts cannot be terminated while the proceedings are underway. A person cannot be punished for speaking up against something that they feel is wrong. But organizations may choose to retaliate against whistleblowers in several other ways.