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November 2012 Archives

Employers: Beware of Sexual Harassment Issues at Holiday Parties

Now that the holiday parties have started, it becomes more important than ever for employers to educate themselves on sexual harassment.

Since employers can be on the hook if an employee sexually harasses another, what should employers know about what is, and isn't, appropriate? Thomson Reuters' Accounting Web has some pointers on this. But first, let's look at the concept of sexual harassment.

Woman Gets Fired for Pumping Breast Milk, Judge Says its OK

Any mother who's gone back to work shortly after having a baby knows how difficult it can be. Now, throw breastfeeding into the mix and it becomes even harder. Not everyone at work understands breastfeeding or will sympathize with a mom who wants to find a private place to pump milk.

But now, to make it even harder for working moms, it's actually legal to fire a woman for lactating at work. Rather, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 does not prevent employers from firing a woman for pumping breast milk.

Ironic? Lone Star College Stops EEOC From Giving Rights Speech

It's not uncommon for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to give speeches on workplace rights across Houston.

So why was it, then, that the Lone Star College-North Harris cancelled a scheduled EEOC speech earlier this month, without giving notice to the EEOC or to its speaker?

According to The Houston Chronicle, a cancellation sign greeted Joe Bontkle when he arrived at the classroom to give his speech. He was invited by the teachers' union.

Hostess Union Talks Go Nowhere as Bankruptcy Continues

The talks between Hostess management and the labor union have failed, reports The Los Angeles Times. As a result, the junk-food giant might be facing bankruptcy and liquidation.

The company management entered into mediation talks with the union in an attempt to resolve the differences between the two parties and come to a middle ground.

But as of Tuesday night, no agreement was reached, The Associated Press explains.

Age Discrimination May Need Proof of Older Replacement, Court Says

Age discrimination has been in the news this week. First off, there's the Pennsylvania case where several several judges are suing the state, arguing that a mandatory retirement law is a violation of their rights and that it constitutes age discrimination.

Then, there's the recent Texas Supreme Court case that lays out some of the burden of proof required in an age discrimination case. This case says that if an employee is not replaced by someone older, that employee can't allege age discrimination.

What Can the EEOC Do For You?

What do you do if you believe you’ve been discriminated against at work? You might want to look into your legal options.

The traditional solution would be to sue the employer, but that’s not always the best choice. Nor is it the only one. Did you know that there is a whole federal agency designed to help discriminated employees deal with these issues?

It’s your legal voice before the boss. And it’s called the EEOC, or the Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission. It’s the little guy’s best friend.

So, what do you do, if you want to consider filing a complaint with the EEOC?

What High-Powered Employees Can Learn From Ellen Pao's Lawsuit

Let’s talk about life at the big firms today. This comes after Fortune Magazine’s cover story on Ellen Pao. out in Silicon Valley. Ellen Pao is suing the venture capital giant, Kleiner Perkins, for alleged gender discrimination.

If you’re at a large firm, whether it be a finance firm or a law firm, you may have heard others tell you that bringing a discrimination complaint could black-ball you from ever working in the industry again.

Is this true? Is it even legal, you ask? After all, isn’t it defamation for former employers to badmouth you? And isn’t it retaliation to use scare tactics to prevent you from making a claim?

How to Protect Your Company From Discrimination Lawsuits

Lawsuits alleging discrimination can be a human-resources nightmare for a company. They're a headache to defend, and pose many public-relations problems for employers.

These lawsuits come up very frequently, sometimes with just cause and other times just as empty threats.

In any event, these lawsuits arise and employers need to position themselves wisely, to be in a better place once accusations of discrimination arise.

What an Obama Win Means for Jobs and Small Businesses

It's the day after the election and Texans are no doubt asking what President Barack Obama's second term could mean for jobs and unemployment.

Let's talk about that, shall we?

On Tuesday, President Obama was elected to a second term in office. This was no Bush v. Gore election, where the results were kinda-sorta-iffy. No, this was the real deal, where the outcome was clear and clean.

Voting Day and Employment Issues in the 2012 Campaign

Ok folks, listen up! This is your last chance to decide which candidate is good for the economy -- or more specifically, which candidate is good for employment issues.

A jobs report was released this morning, just in time for Election Day. This report has been all over the news and highlights the unemployment issue.

Of course, both presidential candidates are using this report to further their campaign platform objectives.

On the Republican side, candidate Mitt Romney pounced on the 7.9% unemployment figure, claiming that President Barack Obama failed to meet his 2008 campaign promise to lower unemployment to 5%.

FMLA, Sick Leave Rules Explained for City of Houston Employees

Feeling a bit under the weather? If you work for the city of Houston, it seems you're probably covered when it comes to paid sick leave.

City of Houston employees are entitled to accrue two-and-a-half hours of sick leave per pay period. This is capped at 65 hours of sick leave per fiscal year, with the year running from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31.