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protecting the rights of employees in rhode island

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Rhode Island Employment Law Blog

Protecting workers from unlawful retaliation

Retaliating against a worker for reporting illegal and inappropriate activity in the workplace is illegal. Employer retaliation is prohibited by both state and federal laws. Employees should enjoy a safe work environment and not fear retaliation when a safe workplace has not been provided and is pointed out. Employees who have been unlawfully retaliated against for reporting sexual harassment, workplace discrimination or for whistle blowing enjoy important legal protections.

Unlawful retaliation can include when an employer terminates an employee for reporting illegal activity in the workplace such as sexual harassment; demoting the employee for reporting unlawful activity in the workplace; altering the employee's job assignments for reporting unlawful activity in the workplace; altering the employee's benefits for reporting unlawful activity in the workplace; denying the employee a promotion for reporting unlawful activity in the workplace; and harassment of the employee.

Is the employer required to return me to my prior job under FMLA?

Rhode Islanders who have exercised their rights to take time off from work by using the Family Medical Leave Act must also remember that they have certain rights when returning to work. Unfortunately, there are still employers who violate employment law with certain activities that might be used to dissuade an employee for using FMLA and do so in an underhanded manner. Or they simply do not grant an employee his or her rights when returning to work. For example, a worker has the right to return to the same job he or she left when using FMLA or one that is nearly identical. If an employer does not allow a worker this right, it could be the basis for a legal filing.

When an employee is not given back the same position from before, the new job must adhere to the following: there must be the same basic duties, status and responsibilities; it must involve the same level of skill, authority, responsibility and effort; the pay must be the same with overtime, bonuses and equivalent premium pay; other benefits like health coverage, disability, sick time, vacation days and more must be the same; and the work schedule must be generally the same.

Protecting your rights after experiencing employer retaliation

Employer retaliation can take on many forms, and it is illegal in any form. When employees experience this type of treatment, they may feel unsure of how they should react and what action they should take next. Despite these reservations, any Rhode Island employee who experiences employer retaliation has the right to fight back.

There are both state and federal laws that prohibit retaliation from employers, yet unfortunately, it still happens. If you feel that you are being unfairly punished by your employer for any reason, you may be a victim of this type of illegal action. Retaliation is one of the most common forms of discrimination, and you do not have to tolerate this type of mistreatment.

Tesla car company facing sexual harassment claims

Shortly after hearing news about the popular ride-sharing company Uber's internal issues concerning sexual harassment, we are now hearing that the car company Tesla is also accused of widespread sexual harassment in the workplace.

According to a recent article posted by The Guardian, a group of women working for Tesla called "Women in Tesla" have recently spoken out about not only sexual harassment but missed promotions and mistreatment by males of authority at the company. The claim goes so far as to say that the company's Fremont, California, factory should be considered a predator zone.

Businessman steps down after being accused of sexual harassment

Sexual harassment has been in the news a lot lately, with a number of high-powered CEOs stepping down after being accused of sexual misconduct. Justin Caldbeck, a Silicon Valley investor and the co-founder of Binary Capital, has stepped down after being accused of sexually harassing a number of female founders working in technology. Six women reported that Caldbeck groped them, sent text messages late at night and made unwanted advances towards them.

Caldbeck originally denied the allegations, but recently made a statement saying that the women made him more self-aware about his inappropriate behavior. Fellow co-founder, Jonathan Teo, apologized for not forcing Caldbeck to leave immediately once his behavior was exposed. Binary Capital is conducting an internal investigation to stop these issues from arising in the future.

Age discrimination leaves workers struggling to find employment

It has been 50 years since the Age Discrimination in Employment Act was first enacted to protect workers over the age of 40 from missing out on employment opportunities and advancements solely because of their age. Unfortunately, workplace discrimination based on age is still a big part of our working world.

A recent study by an assistant professor at Tulane University showed that senior applicants, ages 64 to 67, were less likely to get calls for entry-level jobs, despite being equally as qualified as their younger counterparts. Discrimination against women starts at a younger age than men and can be more serious. Job ads tend to target employees who grew up familiar with technology and with less experience.

Victims of sexual harassment can seek compensation

In Rhode Island and elsewhere, workplace harassment is a real concern as numerous people fall victim to it. While there are various forms of harassment that could land an offender in hot water, sexual harassment is a particularly significant issue. This is something that affects both men and women, and it is a problem that far too many employers may just brush off as no big deal. It is a big deal, however.

How is sexual harassment defined? What are the different types of sexual harassment? If you have been a victim of sexual harassment what can you do?

Walmart employees allege issues with company's sick leave policy

There are federal and state laws in place to allow eligible employees to take time off of work to take care of their personal lives. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows eligible employees who work for employers with 50 or more workers to take up to 12 weeks off work for a variety of reasons, including the birth of a child, serious illness and caring for a sick relative. This allows employees to take time off for legitimate reasons without the fear of losing their jobs. However, according to the non-profit legal advocacy group A Better Balance, many Walmart employees report that the company does penalize employees for utilizing their sick leave.

A woman who took leave after suffering a miscarriage reported being docked six or seven points for the time she missed from her job at a Walmart. Walmart disputes the story and stated that the woman did not give the company a medical reason for her absences.

Company owes damages for employment discrimination

Medical marijuana has been legalized in Rhode Island, as well as 28 other states and Washington, D.C. However, the use of medical marijuana to treat pain and various medical conditions is a hot topic in the news these days.

Darlington Fabrics Corp., a Rhode Island fabrics company, was sued in 2014 by a potential employee for workplace discrimination after she was told that she would not be given a paid internship due to her legal use of medicinal marijuana for migraine headaches. The woman told them that she would not bring marijuana to work and that she would not be under the influence of the drug while at work, but the company insisted that she could not be hired due to her failure to pass a drug test.

Harvard study shows most women have experienced sexual harassment

According to a recent report, a new study by Harvard University reveals that approximately 87 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 25 have been sexually harassed at one point or another.

The study surveyed 3,000 high school students and young adults and found that most young women have experienced some form of sexual harassment. However, over 50 percent of men and close to 50 percent of all survey takers do not recognize gender-based harassment as a societal problem.