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Bethlehem Pennsylvania Legal Blog

Looking for signs of employer retaliation

Sometimes employees witness wrongdoing in their places of work. Many choose to do nothing for fear of jeopardizing their employment, but others decide to speak out about this wrongdoing. It is praiseworthy to step up and do the right thing when we see something wrong. However, it is quite understandable to ignore these behaviors in order to save our jobs.

Some examples of wrongdoing that employees may choose to report include workplace discrimination, sexual harassment and unfair wages to name just a few. These are called "protected activities," and an employer may not retaliate against a worker for reporting such wrongdoing. However, as we all know, some people decide to go ahead and engage in employer retaliation when workers do something that their boss does not like.

The holidays are full of slip and fall hazards at the workplace

The holiday season can be one of the most pleasant and perilous times of the year. Thousands of workers will have their days off to spend time with family or to travel somewhere warmer. With the chaotic atmosphere that surrounds travel planning and the conditions of airline tickets and road traffic, many overlook the potential dangers that lie during their daily routines.

Just as the risk of car crashes goes up during December, so does the risk of a slip and fall. Pennsylvania workers at any job should be aware of the various factors that affect their chances of severely injuring themselves just before they head home for Christmas.

Dealing with a sexual harassment allegation

When an employee accuses a colleague or manager of sexual harassment, the investigation is often handled within the company. In some cases, companies will bring in an independent investigator to help ensure that the investigation is impartial -- perhaps because the person accused is a high-level executive. Organizations take these complaints seriously, as they should. They can face considerable liability and damage to their reputation.

If you're the person accused of sexual harassment, you need to take the accusation seriously. Perhaps you made comments to a co-worker that were inappropriate. If you're guilty of the behavior you're accused of, confess to it, apologize and commit to never let it happen again -- even if you think it was no big deal.

The Family and Medical Leave Act and elder care

Millions of people in this country are helping care for elderly family members, and the numbers are expected to increase as our population ages.

Too often, elderly loved ones who are ill and/or disabled would be better off living in a nursing home or assisted living facility with professional caregivers to look after them. However, the growing cost of these facilities often makes them unaffordable. The only viable option for seniors is often to live with relatives who provide the best care they're able to.

Should you negotiate for a severance package?

When you get let go from a job, you might be offered severance pay. Severance pay is a benefit granted to those who are being terminated despite a contract in place. Instead of suing the employer, you can take the severance option and the benefits package offered.

If you do not take the severance package, it's possible that you could continue forward with a wrongful termination lawsuit. To release the employer from liability, the employer needs to provide the severance package with enough benefits and compensation to be fair to the employee who is losing their job.

What constitutes sexual harassment?

Most people think of employment-related sexual harassment as something that happens in person through comments, unwanted touching or unwanted sexual advances. However, sexual harassment can also happen in written form, textual form, electronic form and through voice transmission technology by way of the internet. This type of sexual harassment is called "online sexual harassment."

Online sexual harassment falls under two primary categories: sexually harassing materials and messages sent to the victim and sexually harassing materials posted on the internet about the victim.

What to look out on the road for during Thanksgiving week

Thanksgiving is one of the nation’s most celebrated holidays. Millions of citizens are excited to take their work days off reuniting with family, eating turkey and pie, watching the football game and preparing for Black Friday. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving may be the last holiday many residents will celebrate with their loved ones.

Thanksgiving is one of the deadliest holidays of the year for many motorists. Unlike Christmas, Thanksgiving is on the same weekday every year. With the number of workers that have Friday off as well, the days before and following the holiday serve as one of the most dangerous times for motorists. Pennsylvania drivers are no exception to this trend, as the amount of arrests, accidents and fatalities have been exceptionally high within the last couple of years. Before you head out of town to visit your parents, you should know the most common road hazards seen around this holiday.

Who can receive unemployment benefits?

It's never easy to be unemployed and looking for a new job. However, life circumstances -- or a sudden change at work -- can lead us down the road to unemployment in a heartbeat. Depending on your financial circumstances and how much money you have saved away for a rainy day, circumstances like this can be extremely frightening.

Fortunately, many individuals who lose their source of income will be able to apply for unemployment compensation after a layoff or termination. Here are the general requirements for unemployment compensation:

  • You're a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
  • You've been employed by another person for some time.
  • You've been employed long enough to have earned some money from your previous employer.
  • You are able and available to work.
  • Your are actively in the process of seeking a new form of employment.
  • There are a few exceptions to the above. Particularly, if you're a student, a recent graduate who hasn't been employed or a self-employed worker, you won't be eligible to receive unemployment. Furthermore, individuals who lost their jobs due to misconduct, insubordination or illegal action may not be eligible for unemployment compensation.

Were you retaliated against because you got sick?

Many Pennsylvania residents -- especially those who work for the government or a large corporation -- benefit from the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). However, not all employers want to give the benefits that this federal law affords. Some employers even retaliate against employees who exercise their rights under the FMLA to take unpaid time off work to recuperate from their illnesses.

Did something like this happen to you?

60 percent of women say they have faced sexual harassment

An astonishing 60 percent of women in the United States say that they have faced instances of sexual harassment, according to a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University published late last year. Among the women who said that they had experienced sexual harassment, here is where they said they experienced such harassment:

  • Sixty-nine percent experienced sexual harassment at work
  • Forty-three percent experienced sexual harassment in social situations
  • Forty-five percent experienced sexual harassment on the street
  • Fifteen percent experienced sexual harassment at home

However, sexual harassment doesn't only happen to women. Twenty percent of male survey participants said that they had experienced sexual harassment too. Furthermore, both genders agree that we need to address the issue of sexual harassment, as 89 percent of women and 88 percent of men responded that sexual harassment was a serious problem.