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Bethlehem Pennsylvania Legal Blog

What would constitute retaliation for filing an employment law action?

If an employee files an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint against his or her employer, the employee will receive legal protection from "retaliation" for filing that complaint. Retaliation in this context refers to a negative action against the employee in response to his or her exercising the legal right to file an EEOC complaint. When employees are retaliated against, they can pursue additional legal damages and remedies as a result of that retaliation.

According to the EEOC's website, here are a few actions that might constitute retaliation by an employer in response to pursuing an EEOC complaint:

  • Giving an employee a bad performance review or reprimanding the employee.
  • Moving the employee into a less interesting job.
  • Verbally abusing the employee.
  • Threatening to tell immigration that the employee is an unlawful immigrant or threatening to go to authorities about some other behavior.
  • Putting an increased level of scrutiny on the employee.
  • Spreading false rumors about the employee and treating the employee negatively, or treating the employee's family in an unfavorable way.
  • Giving more difficult or undesirable job tasks to the employee. Or, making the employee's job schedule conflict with his or her need to take care of family concerns.
  • Terminating the employment of the worker.

Sexual harassment is no longer a taboo subject

Sexual harassers used to be able to count on something that virtually guaranteed they would never face any consequences for their actions: the silence of their victims.

In the not-so-distant past, victims of sexual harassment often felt ashamed of what had happened to them. Sexual subjects aren't a comfortable topic for many in American society, and discussing sexual harassment often meant that victims would have to repeat lurid details that they found embarrassing. Many were also afraid that they'd end up subjected to another form of harassment from people who either doubted their stories or questioned what the victims had done to "bring on" the harassment.

Senators push bill for work zone cameras

Arguably some of the most dangerous areas to drive in are construction sites. They have limited spacing, put traffic to a halt and feature many workers on the road operating right next to the drivers. Combine all of this with some angry and impatient motorists, and you get nearly 2,000 crashes and 20 work fatalities in the same areas for almost every year.

To reduce the number of accidents, state officials proposed a bill to place cameras in work zones on interstate highways to catch speeders. The state approved it and recently sent it to the Senate to vote on it. Local motorists should inform themselves of how this law can impact work zone driving behavior.

Asking your doctor to give you a leave of absence

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows employees who meet certain requirements to take unpaid leave from work without fear of job loss or other punishments.

However, your employer needs proof that the leave is necessary. If you're asking for leave due to your own medical condition, that means asking your doctor to complete a form that certifies your need.

Third-party delivery drivers for Amazon say they fear retaliation

Amazon has revolutionized the way a lot of Americans shop -- particularly through their delivery service.

Unfortunately, there's a national shortage of delivery drivers. Amazon has had to farm out its deliveries just to keep up with the consumer demand. Many of those delivery drivers work for third-party companies that subcontract the work -- and the drivers say that the pressure to conform to unreasonable standards is intense. Failing to conform, however, is worse.

The sexual harassment of female student doctors

Women have been excelling in the field of medicine for a long time now -- making tremendous inroads on all levels of the profession. Yet, female medical students still experience sexual harassment at an astonishing -- and distressing -- rate.

The sexual harassment of women in the medical profession is so prevalent that one article on the problem called it "a chronic debilitating disease." That seems to be an accurate assessment, given that half of all female student doctors say that they've been sexually harassed.

How time plays an important role in slip and fall liability

If you injure yourself while falling on someone else’s property in Pennsylvania, you have the right to file a lawsuit against them to compensate for your damages. To succeed in doing so, you need to prove to the court that the owner should have known about the condition that made you fall.

This means that whatever caused you to fall should have been the result of the owner failing to update their property to accommodate for safety. They should have known about this condition for a long time, and there are multiple ways they can fail which can cause you or others to receive injuries on their property.

Employment misclassification and unemployment benefits

A lot of employees end up incorrectly classified as independent contractors when they're really employees -- and that's a mistake that has the potential to be devastating when you try to seek unemployment benefits. You may suddenly find yourself missing an important safety net that is critical to your financial survival.

How do you know if you were incorrectly classified as an independent contractor instead of an employee? According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), there's not really one thing that makes someone an employee versus an independent contractor. Rather, there's a combination of factors that have to be assessed as a whole.

Unintentional workplace retaliation is still illegal

What is unintentional workplace retaliation? Could you recognize it if it happened to you?

Sometimes well-meaning employers end up doing the wrong thing for the right reasons -- but their actions are a form of retaliation and harmful.

Attempts to avoid scandal allow predatory behavior to flourish

What makes some institutions and businesses more likely to experience a constant problem with sexual harassment and abuse than others? Why do sexual harassers and abusers seem to be able to flourish in one field and not another?

In recent history, it seems like there has been a steady stream of stories of abuse in certain industries and institutions -- far more so than others. Sexual abuse and harassment stories keep coming out the sporting industry, the entertainment industry, the field of higher academics and religious institutions, for example -- while other businesses and industries seem largely to have only isolated incidents that are quickly exposed and handled.