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Employment Law

Why You Need to Speak Up in Tense Work Situations

Posted by on Sep 8, 2019 in Employment Law | 0 comments

It’s pretty obvious to us when something looks a little bit suspicious. When we see something that looks a little bit off or out of place, we notice. It’s human nature to want to do the right thing and speak up when something’s not right.

That doesn’t mean everyone will appreciate our good efforts. Sometimes people will lash out when confronted with the consequences of their actions. While this is never acceptable, it is commonplace.

Retaliation in the workplace happens when a worker exercises their legal rights to speak out against shady workplace practices. Their bosses then treat the worker negatively or even fire them. Firing an employee for speaking up against injustice is never acceptable and it’s vital that you know the next steps to take in case you end up in a situation like this.

Know what’s retaliation is and is not.

Your boss is being rude to you after you file a complaint against them, is that retaliation? While it’s incredibly unprofessional and immature, it’s not retaliation. Speak to your HR department about their behavior and wait to see if it corrects itself over time.

If your boss demotes you or terminates your employment after the fact, then it is potentially retaliation. Retaliation occurs when the status of your employment is negatively impacted as a result of a worker speaking out against any form of injustice.

If you think you’re experiencing retaliation, you should still speak to a higher-up about your mistreatment and see if there’s any plausible explanation for what’s going on. If there’s not a good answer, then you should seek out a law firm with experience in litigating retaliation issues, like The Melton Law Firm, who can help with your situation.

Learn more about the different forms of retaliation.

The aforementioned retaliation occurs when someone is speaking out against performing an illegal task or reporting an illegal practice. However, that’s not the only form of retaliation there is.

Employers can be discriminatory for a variety of reasons. Although certain classes such as race and gender are protected under the law, they still face a ton of discriminatory practices in the workplace. A minority group is especially vulnerable to retaliation when they speak out against their discrimination.

The tough part about handling all of this is knowing when to speak out, and feeling like you actually have a voice. When an employer retaliates against us, we often fear our job security. They may give us a tremendous amount of work that cannot be completed in the given timeframe, and when we fail to do the work, they may terminate us for alleged incompetence.

If you feel like speaking to your boss would cause more problems than it would solve, it may be time to take legal action. An employer has the ability to threaten someone’s employment status if they feel like they themselves are in danger. These are dangerous waters to tread, and it’s vital that you do what needs to be done so that you remain in a safe and pleasant working environment.

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Hazard Communication Standard of 1986

Posted by on Sep 15, 2015 in Employment Law, Health | 0 comments

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that there are at least 13 million workers in the US whose jobs cause them to be exposed regularly to hazardous chemicals, like Acetone, Acetonitrile, Ammonia, Asbestos, Benzene, Chloroform, Dichloromethane, Ethyl Acetate, Formaldehyde, Hexane, Lead, Methanol, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate, Titanium Dioxide, and so forth.

Any kind of hazardous agent can cause occupational disorders and diseases, including systemic toxicity, or systemic effects, and occupational skin diseases (OSD), which are actually the second most common types of work-related diseases. While systemic toxicity damages internal organs once the fumes of toxic substances are inhaled, the development of occupational skin diseases occurs when the skin comes in contact with hazardous chemicals. There are several different forms of occupational skin diseases, including irritant and allergic contact dermatitis, skin infections, and skin cancers.

Some of the most common types of workers, who are often exposed to potentially harmful substances, include those in the following industries: construction, agriculture, mechanics, printing/lithography, painting, cleaning, cosmetology, health care and food service.

Employers all the across the US have the responsibility of assuring their employees of a safe and healthy working environment. This responsibility, which is mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) which the United States Congress passed into law in 1970, is enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) which, in turn, was created by OSH Act in 1971. Part of OSHA’s endeavor in maintaining health and safety in all workplaces, but more so in sites where workers are exposed to chemical hazards, it enacted the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), which took effect in 1986.

The HCS, also called the Worker Right-to-Know Legislation or the Right-to-Know law, gives workers the right to know everything about the chemical hazards they are exposed to and how they can protect themselves from these. To fulfill these, employers are mandated to train their workers on the proper handling and storing of chemical substances, and to provide their workers with the gears that will protect them from any form of harm. Importers and manufacturers are also required to attach warning labels and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) on all of their hazardous products; other than the words ‘poisonous,’ and ‘hazardous,’ product labels must also include information on the product’s potential health effects, emergency first aid instructions, precautions for use, safe storage suggestions, and contact numbers where further information about the products may be obtained.

Many kinds of diseases and disorders caused by toxic substances take time before they manifest their symptoms and, when these do, the illness is usually already in a stage that would require more costly treatment. According to the website of the Williams Kherkher Law Firm, the long-term effects of toxic substance exposure can be seen as a catastrophic injury. It requires much long recovery times, besides the expensive treatments and medication, which are still worsened by the victim’s inability to work as energetically as he/she did prior to the development of the illness.

Quality life and, maybe, a longer lifetime too have been snatched away from millions of workers in the past due to injuries resulting from toxic substances exposure in the workplace. Many of these injuries and early deaths could easily have been prevented, had it not been for some people’s acts of negligence or greed, which made them choose profit over workers’ lives. Some illnesses may never find recovery and deaths will surely never be reversed; however, this does not mean that the victims or their families will no longer be able to seek justice through compensation for all their great losses.

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Employment Law Concerns

Posted by on Sep 5, 2013 in Employment Discrimination, Employment Law | 0 comments

Every year in America citizens at various places and types of employment experience wrongdoing/mistreatment in their place of work. The mistreatment can come in a variety of ways. For example, unreasonable pay reduction is just as wrong and prevalent as sexual harassment in the workplace. Employees have workers rights and when those rights are violated it can be emotionally taxing and extremely stressful.

Some common workplace problems include lunch break and work shift violations, verbal and sexual harassment, etc. While these are common, they are by no means the only forms of mistreatment in the workplace. However, they constitute a great number of the overall offenses.

According to Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®’s website, “An employer must pay their employees for the time they spend on a lunch break unless the break…lasts for no less than 30 minutes” and the employees are completely relieved of duty for the break’s duration. Also, things such as cleaning work stations, preparing tools, attending meetings, and responding to company emails are all tasks that employees should be paid for, even if off the clock in some cases.

Furthermore, sexual harassment in the workplace is broad in the things it covers. It can be anything that constitutes unlawful sexual harassment. Such as, vulgar and profane remarks directed at someone, inappropriate and unwanted touching, or demands from a boss for sexual favors in exchange for continued employment, raises, etc. The website of Cary Kane LLP states that “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination ‘based on sex.’” The site also reminds readers that sexual harassment can be aimed at not only women, but men as well.

It is important for employers to avoid and shut down any mistreatment in the workplace. Consequences for these crimes are no joke. Plus, it’s not a great look for a company when things such as this finally surface.

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