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Boca Raton Employment Law Blog

Workplace discrimination and disabled people

Florida workers should be aware that complaints related to disability seem to be on the rise in workplaces across the country. Data released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shows that workplace discrimination complaints increased in 2016.

Disabled people comprise just about 20 percent of the population and a very small part of the workforce. However, just over 30 percent of the discrimination charges filed in 2016 involved cases of disability discrimination.

Company accused of disability discrimination

Florida employees may be interested to learn about a lawsuit that was filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that stated that a disabled employee was discriminated against by a Mississippi home care company. The EEOC claimed that the discrimination occurred after the employee underwent a liver transplant in July 2012.

The employee reportedly requested additional leave after her transplant so that she could recover. However, the company denied her request even though the employee stated that she had the amount of leave she requested available. She then stated that the company fired her when the leave time that had been approved was finished. After filing the discrimination charge, she then stated that the company refused to hire her for an open social worker position.

Waitress files sexual harassment lawsuit against manager

Florida restaurant workers may be interested to learn that a former general manager at an Olive Garden was sued for sexual harassment. In the lawsuit, which was filed on Jan. 25, a waitress claimed that servers were hired due to their perceived attractiveness by the general manager. He was also accused of trading promotions and raises for sex.

An initial complaint was made against the general manager for his behavior. Instead of disciplining him, however, the company let him take a leave of absence for anxiety. When he returned, he was accused of groping the complainant. The lawsuit alleges that the general manager's boss actually apologized to the complainant.

Can you get Social Security benefits for a mental illness?

There are two main programs that provide financial assistance to people in the United States with mental health conditions. One is SSI, and the other is SSDI.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) requires disability and financial need, which is determined by your assets and income. SSI does not require previous work history and is designed to meet the needs of the elderly, disabled and blind individuals.

Workers' comp: How your social media posts can be used as evidence against you

If you were injured at work and you are filing a workers' compensation claim, you should be aware that more insurance investigators are using social networking as an investigative tool. According to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, more insurance companies are going online to make sure that claims are valid.

There are warnings about how to obtain social media information ethically. Investigators are told not to circumvent privacy settings to gather data. But remember that anything you put on Facebook, Twitter or even LinkedIn could be used against you in your case.

Dangerous chemicals in the workplace

When you are at home, you probably don't think much about the hazardous chemicals that you use. Cleaning supplies, bleach and even nail polish remover can be very toxic to humans.

In your own home you are responsible for your own safety. But at work, it is your employer's duty to make sure employees are acting with safety around dangerous chemicals.

Workplace safety: You can get hurt in the office, too

Most people think about workplace accidents happening at high-risk jobs, such as construction, law enforcement or manufacturing, but many office workers get injured each year, too. While these injuries may not be life threatening, they can be life changing. Even if your employer has workers' compensation insurance, you should still be cautious and follow safety procedures to prevent injuries.

The future of employment protections for LGBT+ workers

Florida residents may have noticed the many changes brought about by the Trump administration, and more alterations could be coming with regards to employment protections. Speculation has begun about whether it will remove language barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.

Lyndon Johnson created an executive order in 1965 so that federal contractors could not discriminate based on sex, race, national origin, religion or color. Barack Obama amended the order in 2014 to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Soon after Trump took office, LGBTQ+ content was removed from federal websites. Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that he did not know whether Trump planned to undo Obama's changes to the order.

Amtrak employee wins whistleblower retaliation case

Florida residents may be interested to learn about a workplace discrimination case involving an Amtrak whistleblower. In early January, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released a statement confirming that a longtime Amtrak employee had been awarded $892,551 in damages after he was fired for raising safety concerns. OSHA also ordered Amtrak to reinstate the employee to his former position or to an equivalent one.

The Amtrak employee became a whistleblower in 2010 after he found out that an Amtrak contractor had a criminal record. The contractor was convicted for fraud related to the examination and testing of concrete at New York City-area building projects. Because the same contractor had tested some Amtrak tunnels, the Amtrak employee decided to alert his employer about his safety and security concerns.

Co-host claims she was sexually harassed by Bill O'Reilly

Florida residents who have followed the sexual harassment case involving the former CEO of Fox News may be interested to learn that another one was settled during the same time frame. According to a report that was published on Jan. 10, a former co-host of a Fox News weekend show had accused Bill O'Reilly of sexual harassment.

The woman claimed in a letter to the owner of 21st Century Fox that she was removed from her show in retaliation for refusing O'Reilly's advances on numerous occasions. The letter stated that he attempted to kiss her and made sexually charged comments to her, and that it sometimes sounded like he was masturbating. On top of this, the current co-president of Fox News allegedly constantly called her and kept asking her to come by his office.

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