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Greenbelt MD Employment Law Blog

Employers: Act quickly in light of sexual harassment claims

Modern workplaces can be energetic, chaotic environments. Business is moving faster than ever and companies are expected to respond accordingly. There is no doubt that there is a high premium placed on efficiency and speed. However, not all companies are able to adapt this way and that can have a devastating impact on the business.

These same observations can also be made about sexual harassment claims in the workplace. Employees who feel as though they have been abused, harassed or mistreated on the job expect employers to respond appropriately and quickly once their concerns have been expressed. Employers who fail to do this can face some devastating consequences including bad press, destroyed reputations and financial penalties.

Types of workers protected from workplace discrimination

Being discriminated against on the job can be extremely upsetting for the victims of this type of behavior. Going to work can turn into a nightmare if you are afraid of being mistreated, under-appreciated, ignored or belittled by others at work because of something that has nothing to do with your job or performance.

In these situations, it can be easy to feel hopeless or powerless but it is crucial to remember that you have rights and you can regain control by taking legal action. Filing a lawsuit can be complicated, but with the help and guidance of an attorney, it may be possible to pursue damages through a discrimination claim.

Misclassification at the center of wage dispute

When workers file a complaint alleging that they have been underpaid or unpaid, it should be taken very seriously. One complaint may only be one part of a much larger problem, and it may not be long until additional complaints are filed.

Wage disputes often arise because of how employees are classified. They may be considered exempt or nonexempt, and many Maryland companies use employees and contractors which are also different categories of workers. If there is a problem or argument over how one type of worker is classified, wage disputes may be inevitable.

What 5 questions should you ask before signing a non-compete?

Over the years, employment opportunities have become increasingly aggressive and competitive. Employers have the luxury of being extremely picky when it comes to hiring and employees may be willing to deal with less-than-ideal jobs in the interest of having a steady paycheck.

However, just because the job market is fairly volatile right now doesn't mean that people should make important employment decisions without thinking about the long-term impact. For instance, before signing an employment agreement with a non-compete clause, it can be crucial to thoroughly consider what the clause could mean for the future. Here are five questions you should ask yourself if you are in the position to sign a non-compete agreement.

Protect yourself, your company in claims of wrongful termination

In our last blog post, we discussed situations in which an employee may have grounds to pursue a wrongful termination claim. In that post, we cited employment contracts, retaliation and discrimination as factors that could prove to be crucial in these situations.

We also noted that these cases can be extraordinarily complicated. For example, if you are on the employer side of the dispute, you may have a completely different view on the series of events that led up to a termination. To successfully prove your side of the issue, you can work with an attorney to dispute the legal claim against you and potentially have it dismissed before trial or be successful in court.

3 signs that your termination may have been wrongful

People who get fired are typically not happy with the decision. It is more likely that they will feel angry, betrayed, shocked and scared about their future. Of course, some terminations make more sense than others. For example, if a person consistently under-performs, repeatedly fails to show up or is otherwise inadequate in meeting job standards, a firing may be unsurprising.

However, when the firing doesn't seem to be in response to any type of poor performance or negative behaviors, people often wonder if they have been the victims of a wrongful termination. In order to determine if you may have been unlawfully fired, you should consider the following three signs of a wrongful termination.

Can you take your discrimination claim straight to court?

Not everyone likes his or her job. Maybe the hours are long, the work is difficult, the boss puts on a lot of pressure or the customers are demanding. There is a big difference between a stressful workplace and a hostile work environment. People who are forced to endure discrimination based on a protected class can seek compensation, whether it occurred once or repeatedly.

People who believe they have suffered discrimination may not know where to start. Do they talk to their boss? Do they go to a human resources department? Do they file a claim with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)? On the other hand, can they go straight to court with their claims?

3 different ways employees are sexually harassed at work

It should be well known that sexual harassment in the workplace is not tolerated. State and federal courts take very seriously claims that a person's rights have been violated, and it is critical for employers and employees to do the same.

However, this may be easier said than done. People may know that sexual harassment is wrong, but they may not know what, exactly, sexually harassing behaviors are. In this post we will look at specific examples of three different ways people can be harassed on the job, including physical, verbal and psychological harassment.

4 different options for resolving unpaid wage disputes

Unless someone is working in a volunteer capacity, workers expect and deserve to be paid in accordance with state and federal laws. This means they must be paid at least minimum wage in addition to being paid on time and properly compensated for any extra hours worked.

In the event that a worker is not paid appropriately, he or she has the option of taking action against an employer to collect unpaid wages. Many people feel very strongly about how they want to handle this situation: some want to get it resolved quickly and quietly while others want to take the case all the way to a trial. Whatever end of the spectrum you may be on if you are in this situation, you should understand your options.

Discrimination and social networks: New industry, old problems

It may be hard to remember what life was like before websites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat were a regular part of our day. Today, hardly an afternoon goes by without people sharing something on a social network or browsing through the statuses and pictures of others.

However, social networking sites like these are relatively new. After all, Facebook was founded only about 10 years ago, and countless other social networking sites have emerged since then. This booming industry thrives on what is fresh and innovative, but it is also struggling with challenges that have affected workplaces across the country for decades, including discrimination.

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