It may seem that in this day and age, the proverbial "glass ceiling" has been shattered. However, unlawful compensation discrimination based on gender still takes place in some Washington, D.C., workplaces. Compensation discrimination violates a number of federal laws.
Recent decades have brought great strides in advancing gender fairness in the workplace. In some occupations, however, inequalities still linger. Firefighting is one of them.
A recent Washington Post article shed light on one particularly tragic case: the suicide of a female firefighter in one of the nation's most highly regarded departments, Fairfax County. The woman had been the target of cruel sexual harassment and online bullying, reportedly by her male colleagues. Her death has spurred other women firefighters across the country to speak up about similar treatment they have suffered at work.
Most employment in Washington, D.C., is "at-will" employment. This means that employers have the right to let workers go as they see fit, even without cause. That being said, employers cannot illegally discriminate against workers or retaliate against workers. If a worker believes he or she was illegally fired, he or she may want to pursue a wrongful termination lawsuit.
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This was a review written by a client of ours earlier this year.
And it got us thinking: What does it take to get people to love lawyers, rather than hate or at least mildly despise them?
The answer isn't simple. But if you could boil it down to one thing, it might be:
Earlier this month, this blog discussed qui tam actions -- that is, a lawsuit an individual can bring against an employer that is defrauding the government. As an incentive to blow the whistle on such actions, individuals may be eligible to receive an award. Such whistleblower awards must be applied for, and there are numerous factors the federal government will consider when deciding how much to award an individual. Today we are focusing on Securities and Exchange Commission violations.
Workers in Washington, D.C., may one day find themselves in need of extended time off due to a serious health condition or to care for an ill child, parent or spouse suffering a serious health condition. They may wonder if their job will be in jeopardy if they take the needed time off. However, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible workers with the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, upon which their return to work, they must be reinstated in their former job or an equivalent one. Moreover, their employer must continue to provide health care benefits while the employee is on FMLA leave.
An individual's religion can be an integral part of their life, bringing them the comfort of spirituality. It is very important for some people in Washington, D.C., that they adhere to their religious practices, such as prayer, dress, foods consumed, attending worship, holidays observed and other daily activities. However, what happens if a person's religious practices conflict with their work duties?
It is an unfortunate fact that there will be times when a federal worker in Washington, D.C., like workers in the private sector, will be treated wrongfully or even illegally in the workplace. However, if a federal worker has been suspended, demoted or discriminated against in the workplace, he or she has appeal and grievance rights. How the appeal or grievance process will progress is dependent on the particular issue at hand.
After the recent spate of terrorist attacks in the U.S. and abroad, some Muslim and Middle Eastern employees are experiencing backlash in the workplace. Discriminatory and unfair treatment can happen in both the public and private sectors. It's a widespread problem that affects men and women alike.
Last December, in the wake of the Paris attacks, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a statement reminding employers about the parameters of illegal discrimination. The message is especially pertinent in light of the current political climate and intensifying prejudice against those with Muslim or Middle Eastern backgrounds (as well as those perceived to have these backgrounds).
Sometimes, instead of outright firing a worker, an employer in Washington, D.C. purposely makes the worker's job conditions so terrible that the worker feels forced to quit. This type of behavior on the part of the employer might constitute constructive dismissal -- a modification of wrongful termination.