March 2018 Archives

Unpaid interns vulnerable to harassment

Most Arizona employees are under the protection of federal laws designed to prevent workplace discrimination and sexual harassment. Surprisingly, those protections may not apply to some of the youngest and hardest working people in the actual buildings where state laws are crafted. Because of employment classifications, legislative interns are especially vulnerable to harassment and discriminatory workplace behaviors.

Former NFL cheerleader files EEOC complaint

Arizona NFL fans may be aware that several teams have faced lawsuits from cheerleaders for violation of wage laws. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Oakland Raiders settled while the Buffalo Bills got rid of their cheer team altogether after they were accused of violating minimum wage laws. In March 2018, the New York Times published an investigation into how the New Orleans Saints treats cheerleaders compared to players after a former cheerleader filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Workplace discrimination and the LGBT community

It was not long ago that members of the LGBT community needed to keep their identities secret at work. Workers often lived a dual life, not making reference to their spouses or partners at work for fear that they would experience retaliation, harassment, loss of opportunity and the loss of their jobs.

Workers often face retaliation when reporting discrimination

Federal laws -- and Arizona state laws -- prohibit employers from discriminating against workers or potential employees due to things like gender, disability, age or race. Sadly, however, many employers, managers and business owners still engage in discriminatory practices when it comes to hiring, firing, promoting and paying their workers. Some workers experience discrimination from their co-workers, rather than supervisors.

Microsoft publicizes information about harassment complaints

Arizona residents may be interested to learn that Microsoft is currently being sued for allegedly discriminating against women and denying them raises and promotions. In response to the lawsuit, which was filed in October of 2015, Microsoft recently published an email that it had sent to all of its employees. According to the email, the company fielded 83 complaints of sexual harassment during 2017 out of 65,000 workers.

Survey sheds light on workplace discrimination

Women in Arizona and across the United States who work in male-dominated professions are more likely to report higher levels of workplace discrimination, according to a 2017 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. While women have seen significant gains over the past several decades in wages, promotions and labor force participation, females continue to report that gender discrimination is a concern on the job. Women in workplaces with a significant male majority are far more likely to report concerns about sexual harassment as well.

Have you experienced quid pro quo sexual harassment at work?

Sometimes, sexual harassment can be coworkers or managers making jokes at your expense, using inappropriate language at work or touching you without your permission. All of these kinds of harassment -- and more --can create a very hostile work environment where you simply can't thrive as an employee.

What is your strategy?

God blessed me with the gift of strategy. I first noticed that I strategize one, cold, winter day when mom my dropped me off at school for afternoon kindergarten in Addison, Illinois. I waited for the bell, minding my own business when a boy came up to me to inform me that he planned to hit me with a snowball. Confronted with this minor threat to my well-being being, I immediately developed a strategy. I hoped to deter the boy from putting snow on me by informing him that if he hit me with a snow, I would punch him in the stomach.

Majority of workers do not report workplace harassment

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, just 10 percent of workers in Arizona and the rest of the country submit an official complaint about the harassment they experience in the workplace. The reasons the remaining workers are reluctant to do so include the fear of retaliation and the belief that their complaint will not be believed. Based on a 2016 report from the federal commission, their reasons have sufficient grounds.

Restaurant workers lobby states for higher wages

Arizona restaurant workers likely know that sexual harassment is prevalent in their industry. According to employee advocates, one of the reasons for the problem is that tipped workers are often paid a low minimum wage and are forced to rely on tips, which often makes them the victims of harassment by customers.

How does the EEOC protect my rights as an employee?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a powerful federal agency that exists to protect your rights as an employee. Whether you are working as a wage slave in a low-paying fast food restaurant or earning a high-level salary with great bonuses at a multinational corporation, the EEOC is available to make sure your employer doesn't infringe upon your inherent rights as a worker in the United States.

Study finds changing patterns in sexual harassment complaints

Although reports of sexual harassment have dropped in Arizona and nationwide since 1995, some segments of workers have enjoyed more progress than others. Complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have fallen by 40 percent since 1997, but a closer look at the data reveals that older women, minorities and employees at large companies continue to experience widespread harassment.

Survey reveals troubling records on gender discrimination

The news of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace is not limited to Hollywood; women in Arizona are also dealing with the ongoing repercussions of unwanted sexual advances in the workplace. A study by Chartered Management Institute (CMI) showed that over four out of every five women and nearly four of every five men have seen discrimination based on gender take place on the job.

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Elizabeth D. Tate, Attorney at Law
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