All employees have what are called “basic rights” in the workplace. These rights include a right to privacy, fair compensation for work performed (no indentured servitude), and freedom from discrimination.
Employees are Protected Against Discrimination in the Workplace
Freedom from discrimination is a very important protection that the federal government provides to employees. Those rights include the right to be free from discrimination based on age, gender, race, national origin, or religion. These rights are extended not only to employees but prospective employees in the hiring process.
Hidden Discrimination in Hiring
What about the hidden discrimination during the hiring process? Discrimination that is subtle and often overlooked. This type of discrimination can happen due to sexual orientation, race, or criminal history. It may be because an applicant doesn’t look like what an employer imagined when hearing his or her voice. Whether the applicant is a different race or transgendered, hidden discrimination can sometimes be detected if an applicant notices a change in behavior or attitude from a prospective employer between the time the application was submitted or phone interview to an in-person interview.
Employers also may not discriminate based on medical records or handicaps. Employers are not allowed to access an applicant’s medical records. They are confidential and as long as the applicant’s medical condition is not a factor in the function of the job. If an employer inquires into any medical history, or implies that they have concerns about a medical condition then that may be a reason for not being hired and considered discrimination.
In order to prove that you have been discriminated against you must show that:
- You are part of a protected class.
- You were qualified for the position applied for
- The job was not offered to you
- The employer continued to seek applicants or a less qualified applicant was hired.
To qualify as a protected class you must have been discriminated against based on race, gender, national orientation, disability, religion, and in some cases sexual orientation.
You must show that you were the best applicant for the job. If can be difficult to prove but if another applicant was hired and was less qualified, it may make your case stronger.
Job was not offered to you:
This is an easy requirement to meet. If the job WAS offered to you and you rejected it, then you will not have a case.
Employer continued to seek applicants:
If you were qualified for the position and the employer continued to seek additional applicants, you may be able to move forward with your case. If another applicant who was equally qualified and also a part of a protected class was hired, your case may not be as strong.
Contact a Chicago Employment Discrimination Attorney at Goldman & Ehrlich
If you have questions about hidden discriminatory practices in the hiring process, Goldman & Ehrlich has answers for workers and employers. Call us at 312.332.6733 today or contact our Chicago office online
Severance pay is a benefit that some employers provide to their employees when they are fired or laid off. While there are only two situations that severance pay is required, many employers will offer severance packages to their employees for varying reasons.
When severence pay is required
- A handful of states require employers to pay severance to employees when the company is closing a facility or laying off a large number of employees.
- If the employer led the employee to believe that a severance package would be paid upon termination. This is evidenced by:
- A written contract stating severance would be paid
- Employee handbooks or personnel policies stating severance would be paid
- A history of other employees in the same position being paid severance
- An oral promise to the employee that severance would be paid
When severence pay is not required
Why would an employer provide severance pay to an employee when it isn’t required? Many times it is a sound business decision to do so. Providing severance to long term employees who are fired for reasons other than serious misconduct can make the employee feel better about the termination and less likely to sue the company.
An important thing to consider when providing severance however, is to be consistent. Not having a system in place to be fair about the payment of severance can open the company up for discrimination suits.
Types of severance
Severance pay isn’t always in the form of monetary gain. Consider these types of severance pay:
- Money: For most employees this is the most important type of severance. Many times this is a week or two of pay for every year the employee has been with the company
- Insurance: Some employers will opt to continue health insurance benefits for employees for a short time. Many states have laws that do require employers to pay for insurance for a short time but many only require employers to continue to allow access to coverage and not pay for it.
- Unemployment: Fired employees can claim unemployment benefits if they haven’t been fired due to serious misconduct. Employers may choose to dispute an employee’s claim to unemployment.
- References: A benefit an employer can offer to terminated employees is to give them letters of reference for future employment
If you have questions about severance pay, Goldman & Ehrlich has answers for workers and employers. Call us at 312.332.6733 today or contact our Chicago office online
Employees have basic workplace right to work in a safe place without fear of danger, violence, discrimination, or harassment. We all hope no one would have to deal with these issues, but it does still happen.
What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment can be an ambiguous and hard to recognize due to its often subtle conduct. The Supreme Court has even made it clear that it depends on the frequency and severity of the conduct as well as whether the victim feels physically threatened, humiliated, or job performance is affected. If you are unsure if sexual harassment has taken place here is a list of how to recognize if there is sexual harassment in the workplace.
- Comments and remarks of sexual nature referring to a person’s physical appearance
- Inappropriate touching in a sexually provocative manner
- Making requests (usually by a supervisor) for sex or dates
- Forwarding pictures that are sexually graphic in nature. These can be personal or online images
- Forwarding literature that is sexual explicit or provocative in nature
What to do
If you have been the subject of sexual harassment in the workplace, there are remedies you can take to regain a sense of safety and peace in your workplace. You can review your company policy (usually in your employee handbook) on sexual harassment and follow your company guidelines regarding procedures. This often includes filing a formal complaint with your employer. If your company is not taking appropriate actions to remedy the situation then you can hire an attorney to bring a complaint against the offender, and possibly your company for not acting appropriately.
If you are charged with sexual harassment and do not feel that you acted inappropriately, our offices also defend complaints. We are experienced in discrimination law in Chicago, and will investigate every case to determine if the law was violated and represent our clients aggressively in court.
Contact our Chicago Sexual Harassment Attorneys
Whatever side of the sexual harassment claim you are on, our attorneys can help. With more than 25 years in discrimination law, Goldman & Ehrlich will get to the bottom of each claim and ensure that our clients are protected. Call us at 312.332.6733 today or contact our Chicago office online.