If you've been waiting for a fatter paycheck to find you in 2015, so far the news has been discouraging. Unemployment rates are down, which is exciting news, but we still haven't seen an improvement in wages. Here's why a lower unemployment rate hasn't translated to higher pay -- yet.
We like to think that employers take an employee's whole record into account when making a decision as to whether the employee should lose his or her job. But sometimes just one mistake can be enough to end an employment relationship, which can be absolutely devastating for the employee.
Whether you are applying to serve fast food, work on a construction site, style hair, teach, or be a tattoo artist, almost all job applications have had one thing in common for years. They ask the question, "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" And whether your answer is yes because of a silly trespassing charge you picked up as the result of a childhood prank or your answer is yes because you spent serious time in prison at some point in your past, the result has historically been the same. Either you tell the truth and you don't get the job because you have a conviction, or you lie and you run the risk of ultimately being fired when your employer does a background check. Either way, for generations you have had no recourse. However, in some parts of the country this is changing as various states and municipalities enact "Ban the Box" legislation.
If you worked during the holiday, instead of taking a vacation, you're not the only one. There's a growing trend among American workers toward more strategic planning of vacation opportunities -- taking advantage of every possible dollar and allotted hour to build a vacation experience that you and your family won't ever forget.
With the holiday season upon us, many business are extending their hours. While this is convenient for shoppers and provides some otherwise unemployed workers with seasonal employment, it also comes with longer hours and sometimes extremely inconvenient hours for workers. Some jobs, unfortunately, must be performed on holidays, like those of emergency room doctors, prison guards, and firefighters.
However, each year more retail and other non-emergency/security workers find themselves working the holidays. Many assume these workers are receiving overtime wages for working on days like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Unfortunately, that is often not the case.
The employee security-screening process doesn't have a reputation for being a pleasant experience. You've probably heard some of the horror stories, with long wait times and lost (or mistakenly taken) items. Perhaps the worst part about the experience for workers is that it's dead time -- you don't get paid for standing there, and you can't get that precious time back.
In early December, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) heard an extremely important case for pregnant workers. The question is whether pregnant women are entitled to reasonable accommodations in the workplace. Peggy Young, the woman who started the suit, argues that they are, while her former employer, UPS, argues that they should not have to provide such accommodations. The result of the case will affect every pregnant worker and those workers' families and co-workers from here on, so the stakes are quite high.
There are rules governing whether employers may classify workers as employees or independent contractors. Sometimes people are hired (or contracted) as one type of worker, when their work fits the definition of the other. Here is how you can tell if your legal status matches the work you do.
As a general rule, employers are not allowed to discriminate based on certain factors like sex and sometimes age. However, what many people do not understand is that anti-discrimination laws like the Civil Rights Act or the Age Discrimination in Employment Act actually do allow for discrimination under some circumstances. One time employers are allowed to discriminate is if they are doing so because of a "bona fide occupational qualification." Both federal and most state anti-discrimination laws also allow for this defense.
The labor movement has given the American worker benefits that today are often taken for granted, such as overtime laws, child labor laws, and minimum wages. The right to bargain collectively gives employees the power to demand reasonable treatment without the threat of being replaced by somebody less noisy. However, unions are far from perfect.
When people think of employment discrimination, they often think of discrimination based on race, gender, or disability. But age discrimination is very real. On the federal level, these claims are covered by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, or ADEA. Indeed, ADEA claims continue to rise every year, and many think this will be the main form of employment discrimination in the future.
The FMLA is the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. It is the main federal law that employees in the United States rely on when they need an extended period of time off from their jobs for maternity leave, or extended sick leave, or in order to care for an ill family member. Even though most workers will either need this sort of leave at some point during their careers or will know someone who does, there are some things that most people just don't know about this law. Here are just a few facts that you may not have known:
Your manager wants to meet with you and has set up a time with your local HR contact. There’s been a complaint against you about some action or behavior that violates company policies. Whether or not you're guilty, your employer is required to conduct an investigation, and you may or may not have anybody on your side. This is surely a bad situation to be in, but knowing what to expect and how to handle your case could help.
The laws protecting pregnant women at work are getting stronger, but some workers are still being discriminated against. Know your rights so you can stand up for yourself before you are taken advantage of or subjected to illegal treatment.