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Greenbelt MD Employment Law Blog

EEOC looks to help employers reduce workplace sexual harassment

A strong workforce is one of many things necessary to make a business successful. There are multiple ways in which this can be accomplished including keeping the workplace free of sexual harassment. While activities that constitute this behavior are prohibited under federal law, sexual harassment in the workplace does still happen. When it does it can be costly to an employer. Because the best way to deal with this matter is to prevent it from happening in the first place, it is vital that businesses take steps to keep workplaces free from sexual harassment. 

Used correctly, employment contracts can protect business

A strong workforce is an important part of running a strong business. Because of this, when it comes to hiring, in addition to getting the right person in each role, it is also important to take steps to protect your business. This may be accomplished via the use of an employment contracts. While the information included in an employment contract could vary depending on your business needs, there are certain elements that should be included, no matter what.

Many of the things that should be included in an employment contract are the basics. These include the:

  • Job title
  • Department
  • Supervisor
  • Compensation and bonuses or incentives
  • Benefits
  • Time off policy

Proposed law would protect kids from workplace sexual harassment

As is the case with many areas of the law, matters in the employment realm are constantly evolving. Whether through case law or legislation, it is important that employers stay on top of any changes that could occur. The failure to do so could result in expensive litigation and payouts.

An issue that is being considered on the federal level is whether federal workplace safety regulations should be extended to professional performers, including models who are under the age of 17. Currently, children are often exempted from the employment criteria pertaining to young people provided by the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Study finds Maryland not at top of list for employee lawsuits

In the case of any business it is likely at some point it will find that another party has taken legal action against it. The reasons behind these lawsuits vary. Sometimes they are filed by employees who believe they have been discriminated against in the workplace. A recent study conducted by specialty insurer Hiscox, focused on this very thing in the United States.

Among other things the study found that businesses located in states that have laws that are more stringent than U.S. federal guidelines pertaining to employer obligations, were at a higher risk for being sued in relation to an employment matter.

Non compete agreements could dictate future of businesses

There are multiple ways in which a contract could be used in an employment situation to benefit both parties. Employers might use a non compete to protect their business from things such as employees sharing trade secrets. Though generally signed at the start of the employment relationship, they do not go into effect until an employee no longer works for the employer. A salon business with locations in Maryland, recently took legal action based on this premise. 

Maryland interns now protected from harassment and discrimination

For many individuals in college, the first step to securing employment following graduation is to get an internship while still in school. While in many cases these positions are unpaid, the experience can be priceless. Unfortunately, some interns get more than they bargain for when they face harassment or discrimination in the workplace. While paid employees have legal protections that prohibit that type of behavior, until recently, interns did not. Because of the lack of those protections, any harassment or discrimination claims brought by interns were thrown out of court.

Maintaining strong relationships with high-talent employees

One of the things that can play a big role in a business's success is the talent the business has on its workforce. Thus, retaining high-talent employees can be a very high priority for businesses. Losing a high-talent employee can be tough on an employer. In addition to losing that employee's talents, such a loss can also expose a business to the significant costs associated with trying to replace a valued employee.

Given this, maintaining strong relationships with high-talent workers and avoiding things that could weaken such relationships can be of great importance for an employer.

Working with a lawyer can keep employment litigation to a minimum

Business owners know a lot goes into making and keeping that business successful. While having a product or service that is in demand is of course a vital part of keeping a company going, equally important is how the business is run. Minimizing legal exposure can have a great impact on the bottom line. Matters leading to litigation could arise in many areas of the business, including where employees are concerned. 

NLRB decision changes joint employer status standard

There are many matters that businesses must address to be successful. Some of those matters include staying abreast of laws that pertain to their employees. The failure to adhere to the employment laws in place could result in costly litigation. Because employment laws are always changing it is important that businesses stay aware of those changes so they don't inadvertently violate any laws.

Retaliation claims and federal employees

Workers in all types of employment settings could find that they are being retaliated against in the workplace. This is true where federal employees are concerned as well. In fact, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has been keeping records on the topic and has identified some trends.

Since 2008, retaliation is the basis of discrimination most frequently alleged by employees working for the federal government. There are multiple activities that could constitute retaliation, including the harassment, demotion or firing of an employee who filed a discrimination complaint. Those who oppose discrimination or participated in a discrimination claim can likewise not be retaliated against. In the most recent year the EEOC has information for, 2013, close to half of all complaints filed with the EEOC were based on retaliation.

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