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October 2016 Archives

Greater protections may be ahead for LGBT workers

Workers in Florida and throughout the country may soon have greaterprotection for workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. Some state and local laws already offer protection, while federal executive orders prohibit discrimination against people who work for the federal government or for government contractors. Some large businesses have also offered such protections, but many smaller ones do not.

Gender reassignment surgery and the FMLA

Some transgender peopleundergo gender reassignment surgery to complete their transition. Though this type of surgery requires hospitalization, it is unclear whether a transgender worker can take legally protected time off from work to undergo the procedure. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, eligible employees in Florida and around the country can take 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year in order to address serious health conditions.

Executive Order requires compliance from federal contractors.

Although President Obama signed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order in July 2014, the implementation schedule is just now taking effect. In August 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR Council) presented final rules and provided guidance in applying the new regulations. While it has been reported that the majority of federal contractors have complied with the requirements of the order, there are cases where employees have not been paid appropriate wages, have worked in a hazardous environment and have suffered from discriminatory practices.

Undocumented workers have access to workers' comp benefits

According to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), hiring undocumented workers is illegal when employers know their employee's residential status. Although the law also requires employers to fire employees upon determining that employees are not authorized to work in the U.S., employers are still responsible for extending workers' compensation benefits to undocumented workers who are injured on the job.

Sexual harassment common in the fast food industry

Many Florida residents who work in the restaurant industry experience sexual harassment on the job. According to a report by Hart Research Associates, 40 percent of female fast food workers in non-managerial positions around the country are victims of such behavior. Another study that was conducted by the Restaurant Opportunities Center United found that 90 percent of male and female restaurant employees working at casual full-service restaurant chains have been sexually harassed.

When refusing reasonable accommodations lead to theft

Florida employees who suffer from a disability such as diabetes may be interested to learn that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accused a retailer of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act after it fired an employee for eating food before she had paid for it. In this case, the employee, who had diabetes, was denied the request to keep juice with her at the register.

Stopping disability discrimination in the workplace

Disabled individuals are one of the segments of the populations that have low representation in the workforce. People with disabilities that live in Florida and across the nation should know that there has been an increase in the filing of discrimination charges.

Be aware of the impact of signing a non-competitive agreement

For readers who are new to the state or who are beginning a job search Florida, the concept of the non-compete agreement may be a foreign one. When job applicants do not have the luxury of fielding several job offers, what is of primary importance may be obtaining a job capable of paying the bills. In many cases, it isn't until an individual seeks to expand her employment opportunities that she realizes the restrictions associated with the employment contract signed.

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