Rhode Island Employment Law Blog

Steps to take when facing workplace sexual harassment

If you experience sexual harassment at your job, you do not need to put up with it. Sexual harassment is unlawful behavior. There are laws that protect you from sexual harassment in the workplace, including Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Rhode Island even has its own protection for workers that requires employers to enact a sexual harassment policy.

You have the full right to confront sexual harassment. There is no reason to simply tolerate harassment and be quiet about it. Here are some of your options for dealing with inappropriate conduct at your job.

Hourly v. Salary Pay

When accepting a job offer, or even a promotion, you need to understand the differences between being compensated on an hourly versus on a salary basis. Both payment methods offer their own individual benefits to an employee and have their own advantages and disadvantages depending on the employee's circumstances.

Are you concerned about over-40 severance agreement terms?

Perhaps you are 45 years old, and you are leaving a company where you worked as a member of senior management.

Your employer must draft the severance agreement properly, and there are special requirements for employees like you who are age 40 and older. Do you have questions about terms and the validity of the agreement overall?

Government Shutdown - The Effect on Federal Employees

The partial government shutdown, which started on December 22, 2018, has had many effects on federal employees. According to CBS News, as a result of the government shutdown, approximately 380,000 federal employees have been furloughed - a temporary leave of absence without pay. The Senate Appropriations Committee estimates that the estimated 380,000 furloughed employees include about 86% of Department of Commerce employees, roughly 96% of NASA employees, about 52,000 IRS workers and approximately 95% of Housing and Urban Development employees.

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.
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