• Ban the Box: What You Need to Know About Your Employment Rights and Criminal Convictions
    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.
  • 5 Reasons to Defer Holiday Vacations
    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.
  • What You Don't Know About Labor Laws: Most Workers Don't Receive Holiday Pay
    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.
  • State Supreme Court Hands Down $188M Judgment Against Wal-Mart
    Hot on the heels of the recent Supreme Court decision against Amazon workers, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court just upheld the 2007 judgment for $188 million against Wal-Mart Stores, in Braun v. Wal-Mart Stores. The class action suit affects 187,000 workers, who worked for the company between 1998 to 2006, and centers around Michelle Braun and other Wal-Mart employees, who claimed that they were not compensated for working off-the-clock, as well as through meals and breaks.
  • Supreme Court Rules Against Amazon Workers: No Pay for Standing in Line
    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.
  • What You Need to Know About the Gender Pay Gap
    There is a seemingly constant debate over the "wage gap" in the United States -- whether it exists, why it exists, how large it is, if it does exist. The wage gap represents the average difference in wages paid to men versus wages paid to women. You may have heard the (sometimes disputed) assertion that in the United States, women are only paid 77 cents for every dollar men are paid. The question is, how can this be true when wage discrimination is illegal, and has been for decades? Here we will provide you with a few facts about this debate so that you can draw your own conclusions.
  • Supreme Court Hears Pregnancy Discrimination Case: What You Need to Know About Young v. UPS
    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.
  • 5 Ways to Fight Workplace Pregnancy Discrimination
    Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case involving a pregnant woman and the claim of workplace discrimination. According to court documents, Peggy Young requested a weight-lift restriction of 20 pounds from UPS, based on a doctor's recommendation, when she became pregnant in 2008. Instead, she was put on unpaid leave, without benefits.
  • Independent Contractors: Are You Secretly an Employee?
    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.
  • When Discrimination Is Allowed: About Bona Fide Occupational Qualifications
    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 Pros and Cons of Unions Today
    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.
  • What You Don't Know About Age Discrimination
    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.
  • Fat Discrimination at Work Just as Bad as Ever, Especially for Women
    More than two-thirds of Americans over the age of 20 are overweight, according to the CDC, but prevalence doesn't mean acceptance. The professional world in particular discriminates against overweight workers, especially if those workers are female. A new study from Vanderbilt University found that overweight women were less likely to work in public-facing jobs, and suffered a severe wage penalty for weighing more than "normal" weight (as determined by the BMI, itself a controversial measuring stick).
  • 3 Things You May Not Know About FMLA
    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:
  • 3 Things That Got Better for LGBT Workers Since Tim Cook Joined Apple in 1998
    Today, in an op-ed in BloombergBusinessweek, Apple CEO Tim Cook officially came out: "While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven't publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me."
  • What to Do When You Are Being Investigated at Work
    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.
  • Know Your Rights as a Pregnant Employee
    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.
  • 3 Things You Didn't Know About Overtime
    On its face, overtime seems like it’s a fairly simple subject. In most jobs, if you work more than 40 hours in a given work week, you get paid at least time and a half for all of the hours worked over the basic 40-hour work week. But in this era of what appears to be rampant wage theft, there is a little bit more to the story than that. Here are three things you may not have known about overtime pay and your right to it.
  • EEOC Sues 2 Companies for Alleged Discrimination Against Transgender Employees
    Since the passage of the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been suing employers who discriminate based on sex. Now, more than 50 years after the act's passage, the EEOC has finally filed two lawsuits claiming sex discrimination where employers have allegedly discriminated against employees for being transgender. Companies should never discriminate against transgender employees. But now, it is also likely illegal.
  • Waitresses Are the Most Sexually Harassed Occupation
    The restaurant industry has a unique business model. Rather than business owners budgeting to pay employees, restaurant owners depend upon customers "voluntarily" giving waitresses and waiters tips in return for "good service." That pay structure can lead to a dangerously imbalanced power dynamic between customer and waiter. No wonder, then, that a recent report from Restaurant Opportunities Center United found that two-thirds of female employees in the food service industry have been sexually harassed. In fact, 37 percent of Employment Opportunity Commission harassment claims come from women in the restaurant business.

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