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Washington D.C. Employment Law Blog

Medical leave and the D.C. Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act

In a previous post we looked at the story of a worker in Washington, D.C. who was denied benefits based on her classification as an independent contractor. The question arose as to whether that worker was properly classified. In this post, we are going to examine what medical leave may be available to an employee in Washington, D.C.

In addition to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, Washington, D.C. also has a law regarding sick leave and compensation. Under the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act, employees may, in some circumstances, be entitled to paid time off for an illness or for safety reasons, based on the size of the employer. The leave may be requested due to an illness or for preventative care reasons for either the employee or the employee's family members. In fact, the leave may also be requested for the employee to seek the help needed if the employee is being stalked or is the victim of domestic abuse or sexual assault.

Worker in Washington, D.C., alleges misclassification

The difference between an independent contractor and an employee in Washington, D.C., is crucial. In general, companies are not required to provide independent contractors with the same benefits they offer to employees. However, this can present difficult issues when a worker challenges a classification as an independent contractor. Take, for example, the story of one worker who was denied benefits for being classified as an independent contractor rather than as a government employee, and was ultimately let go from her job.

Understanding current wage and hour laws

Employment is an important part of the lives of most people, which is why ensuring workers understand their rights is important. The minimum wage in Washington, D.C. recently increased to $10.50 an hour. The recent increase in Washington, D.C.'s minimum wage is part of an overall plan and recent law to increase Washington, D.C.'s minimum wage to $11.50 per hour by 2016. It was estimated that 64,000 workers in Washington, D.C. earn less than $11.50 per hour and were impacted by the recent change. The increase makes Washington, D.C.'s minimum wage amongst the highest in the country.

In addition to minimum wage laws, and according to Washington, D.C. labor laws, employers are required to pay employees one and half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked during a work week in excess of 40 hours. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. But, workers who do not receive overtime pay they have earned, or who are misclassified, may have different resources and options available to them to ensure they are properly compensated for their hard work and efforts.

What is sexual harassment and what can I do about it?

It is likely that you are familiar with the term sexual harassment but may wonder what it technically refers to. In general, it is not lawful to harass an individual because of the individual's sex. Sexual harassment can include different types. One type of sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or verbal or physical harassment that is sexual in nature.

Another type of sexual harassment is considered behavior that creates a hostile work environment. Offensive remarks related to an individual's sex can also be considered sexual harassment. It is unlawful to make offensive comments to a woman about women in general which can be considered harassment. The frequency and severity of the harassment can serve to determine if it creates and offensive or hostile work environment. In addition, harassment can be considered unlawful sexual harassment if an employee suffers a demotion or firing as a result of the harassment.

Employees have important rights when retaliated against

A job plays a central role in the lives of most people, making job security an important concern. Employees who have reported wrongdoing in the workplace should not fear or suffer retaliation. Employers, unfortunately, may take improper and inappropriate retaliatory actions against employees who report wrongdoing related to illegal activity; inadequate safety; discrimination; sexual harassment; or a hostile work environment. Employees may also suffer retaliation for refusing to violate the law at the direction of the employer.

Workplace retaliation can occur in different forms. It can include workplace harassment or wrongful termination. Unfortunately, retaliation can also take the form of poor treatment at work. Retaliation can include demotions; refusals to promote or hire; reducing the employee's benefits; or the breach of an employee's employment contract.

Washington, D.C., code protects against religious discrimination

Many residents of Washington, D.C., practice a religion, a freedom that is a pillar of the United States Constitution. Accordingly, many residents of Washington, D.C., strive to adhere to their religious tenets, whether they are at home or at work. Because of this, the District of Columbia Code protects workers from discrimination in the workplace based on religion.

Employee casualty of retaliation and wrongful termination in the wake of GSA scandal

During 2010, at a time when U.S. unemployment rates remained high and economic growth stagnant, 300 employees of the U.S. General Services Administration gathered in Las Vegas for an extravagant $823,000 Western Regions conference. As reports of the costly event broke, taxpayers and Washington officials were outraged to learn of the $7,000 sushi reception, $3,200 mind reader and $130,000 scouting trips funded by taxpayer dollars.

In the wake of the GSA scandal, officials in the Obama administration took action to crack-down on overspending by government agencies. As public outrage mounted, Congressional hearings were held during which executives at GSA were questioned about their apparent abuses of power and overspending.

EEOC: Sexual Orientation Discrimination is Prohibited By Title VII

The EEOC's recent ruling in Baldwin v. Dep't of Transportation, EEOC Appeal No. 0120133080, 2015 WL 4397641 (July 16, 2015) represents another significant victory in the hard-fought battle for the rights of the LGBT community. This groundbreaking decision is the first of its kind to find that claims of discrimination based on "sexual orientation" may be brought under Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1964.

DC wage discrimination and the Equal Pay Act

Wage discrimination was a pervasive issue in America's workplace in the past, and some in Washington, D.C., would say it may still exist in certain situations. It is for these reasons that federal laws were passed to protect workers' rights, including the right to equal pay. One act that addresses equal pay based on gender is the Equal Pay Act of 1963.

What can you do before filing a DC wrongful termination claim?

Losing your job in Washington, D.C., is a difficult situation to be in. Questions about how to afford your bills, housing and put food on the table will instantly loom to the forefront. Anxiety about the future and sleepless nights may soon follow. It is a situation that no person in Washington, D.C., wants to be in. And, it is a situation that is made all the more difficult, if you feel you have been wrongfully terminated.

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