Once upon a time, there was a hardworking employee named Jane Doe. Jane's employer had given her so much work, Jane had to work overtime to complete all her tasks. Jane diligently completed her work, putting in the required overtime hours to do so. Then, Jane requested overtime pay from her employer. She assumed that there would be no problem getting paid. But, to Jane's surprise, her employer refused to pay overtime, claiming that without prior approval, they did not have to pay Jane for the extra hours.
The gender wage gap is an enduring problem that has attracted much attention. But lately, researchers have been taking a closer look at some other, less well-known gender disparities. A recent article in The Atlantic discussed the fact that women who choose not to wear makeup at work may lose out on promotions, salaries, and other benefits, while women who do wear makeup might reap the benefits, but lose time, money, and sleep. For women in the workplace, it seems, makeup is a mixed bag.
The conversation about pay transparency has been buzzing recently after a couple of Google employees attempted to create online methods through which they and their co-workers could share their salaries with one another internally, in order to ensure that everyone was getting paid what they deserved. However, despite Google's assurance that employees are free to share their salaries with one another, it responded negatively to both attempts and argued that such online sharing methods threatened confidentiality and security.
Religion plays a fundamental role in many people's lives. For some, practicing religion is a much more active process than just attending services. Some religions require adherents to wear specific clothing, for example. This can create issues when a religious person seeks out employment, because those of a mind to discriminate based on religious beliefs can easily identify followers of certain religions based on that clothing. Fortunately, there are laws preventing this and a recent United States Supreme Court decision has reaffirmed these protections against religious discrimination.
In the current economy, the hiring process and salary negotiations are already slanted toward employers and against employees. This makes a new trend among employers to require potential hires to provide previous W-2 forms – sometimes years' worth of them – particularly worrying. But is it illegal?
Whistleblowers are a vital part of our society. Without them, corruption and unfair and unsafe practices would continue unabated. These brave men and women have differing legal protections based upon what they blow the whistle on, whom they blow the whistle on, and where they live. One law that protects some is the Whistleblower Protection Act, which was supplemented in 2012 by the Whistleblower Protections Enhancement Act.
How do employers get away with paying a protected class of employee less than other workers, despite laws that make it illegal? By allowing each staff member to negotiate his or her own salary, and then discouraging employees from sharing salary information. This discouragement interferes with your ability to prove discrimination. Fortunately, you have rights.
Sometimes employment discrimination is obvious; for example, a particularly bigoted manager or supervisor may use racial slurs or explicitly admit to discriminatory intent. Those cases are rare, however. More often than not it is much harder to prove employment discrimination because employers who want to discriminate have become quite good at hiding their intentions. One trick these employers use is using coded language in their job postings. They list job qualifications that are a pretext for eliminating certain job candidates. This is particularly common when it comes to age discrimination.
We often think of employment discrimination as being something that happens to people who already have jobs. A woman may be denied a raise because of her sex, or an older person may be forced into retirement because of his age. But employment discrimination also happens on the front end of employment, when hiring decisions are being made. So if you are looking for a job, you need to understand your rights.
Unions' position in America has changed drastically over the last few generations. Large swaths of our population used to work in industries like manufacturing and many of those industries were unionized. Then companies began outsourcing jobs to other countries, and more and more Americans found themselves in service industry positions that often are non-union positions. Only you can know whether a union is right for you, but if you think it may be and you are not currently a union member, you need to understand what your legal rights are when it comes to unionizing.