Rhode Island Employment Law Blog

Have you been passed over for a promotion due to your faith?

Let us say you have been working as a receptionist for a well-established marketing communications firm here in Rhode Island. You qualify for a promotion to office manager, but a less-experienced woman got the job. You believe you were passed over because of your religion. What should you do? 

Why this happened

Third-Party Sexual Harassment

Third-Party Sexual Harassment

It is most common for sexual harassment in the workplace to stem from employer-employee interactions. However, sexual harassment, in an employment context, is not limited to sexual harassment between employees. Third-party sexual harassment may be caused by an "outsider" (e.g., customers, vendors, independent contractors, security guards, maintenance and repair personnel, and/or caterers).

According to The New York Times article, "The Tipping Equation," third-party sexual harassment is extremely prevalent in situations where employees rely on customer gratuities. The article explains the difficulties faced by tipped employees in reporting third-party sexual harassment because they depend on customer gratuities for a majority of their wages.

Rhode Island Sick Leave Law

On July 1, 2018, Rhode Island joined seven other states when the Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act ("Act") went into effect. The Act, signed into law last September by Governor Gina Raimondo, requires employers with 18 or more employees to provide paid sick leave and employers with 17 or less employees to provide unpaid sick leave. The total number of sick leave hours a full-time employee can earn increases every year. For the remainder of 2018, the Act allows full-time employees to earn up to twenty-four (24) hours of sick leave, but in 2019 employees can earn up to thirty-two (32) hours and in 2020 up to forty (40) hours.

3 questions to ask if you believe you were wrongfully terminated

Working in Rhode Island means you work for an at-will employer. Though there are federal laws in place to offer protection against unlawful terminations, many people find themselves in the unemployment line after developing medical issues that interfere with their ability to show up and perform their jobs. 

If you feel you were wrongfully terminated because of attendance issues related to your health, you might have a wrongful termination claim. Dealing with unemployment and health issues can bring about a great deal of stress and lead to confusion. Here are a few questions to consider if you feel your employer wrongfully fired you due to your health:

3 steps to take after facing sexual harassment at work

There are few experiences more harrowing and disheartening than encountering sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment can take the form of inappropriate comments, sexual propositions or unwelcome touching. You are trying to earn a living and further your career, but a colleague's untoward advances can jeopardize this and make it difficult to do your job. What do you do when this happens?

This is unfair, but luckily, there is recourse following such an incident. The following three tips are the steps you should take immediately after any instance of sexual harassment. Though it is demoralizing, be proactive in protecting yourself from any further harassment by following these steps.

Employees and medical marijuana prescriptions

The use of medical marijuana has increased over the last few years. This increase has caused some shifting in a few different arenas, including employment.

An understanding of the law may help people prevent or fight discrimination from a current or potential employer. Employees should be aware of a few key aspects.

Help for those affected by an unfair workplace policy


A previous post on this blog discussed how a workplace rule can in some cases be discriminatory. For instance, if the effect of the rule is to single out people of a certain religious persuasion, race, etc., then an employee who wound up being injured by the rule can seek compensation and other relief.

Unfortunately, though, proving discrimination can be a hard thing to prove. For example, in the case of a controversial workplace rule, an employer will usually be able to give some reason why their rules are important to workplace safety or the orderly operation of their business.

Workplace rules can be grounds for a discrimination claim


A recent story that attracted national news attention may be of interest to Rhode Island employees who feel that their employers impose rules and other practices that violate the moral and religious principles. After all, what might seem on the surface like a well-reasoned rule may, particularly if it is applied without any flexibility, be the grounds for a religious discrimination or other workplace discrimination claim.

In another state recently, the federal government sued a nursing home, alleging that the home had committed unlawful religious discrimination. Perhaps because it deals with sick, elderly patients, the home required all employees to get a flu vaccine. One employee objected, saying that doing so would violate her deeply held religious beliefs about the human body.

Peace of mind is important when it comes to compensation


Although the law of Rhode Island requires employers in this state to pay employees the cash compensation to which the employer agreed, many employers choose to also offer other forms of compensation, the terms of which might not be so clear cut.

For example, as this blog has reported on previous occasions, many employers offer incoming executives stock options, generous retirement packages and other incentives to get them to come to work for the new employer, even if it means leaving a great position.

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