Kentucky Employment Lawyers

Workers claim sexual harassment and discrimination at local jail

Kentucky workers have the right to be treated respectfully and within the confines of the law when at work. Unfortunately, there are employers, supervisors and coworkers who fail to adhere to the law. Often, a person doesn't realize that he or she is a victim of sexual harassment, workplace discrimination, or wrongful termination until they become aware of how the law protects them. When workplace violations have occurred, it can help to discuss the matter with an experienced employment law attorney, which may be the case for several employees at one jail.

There, a local jailer is accused of making derogatory comments about female workers and crafting an unprofessional and hostile work environment. This behavior was apparently caught on surveillance video. One female former worker stated that these types of incidents were common at that workplace. The jailer demeans female employees and behaves in a chauvinistic way toward them. She said that as many as 35 female workers have departed the workplace due to his treatment.

Fast food franchise plans training to curtail sexual harassment

Fast food workers in Kentucky and across the nation are vulnerable to a variety of workplace abuses, from wage and overtime issues to sexual harassment. Although the plight of these workers is being addressed with new laws designed to ensure they are compensated fairly and are not subjected to harassing behaviors without recourse, it is still an issue. When there is sexual harassment or other workplace illegality that may be taking place, it is imperative for the victims to understand their rights so that they can take legal action to protect themselves, if warranted.

The fast food franchise McDonald's has been inundated with allegations of harassment and how it has handled them. Now, there will be a required training program that is designed to show supervisors and lower-level employees how to behave within the confines of the law. The program is set to start in the coming months. The training is meant to prevent violence in the workplace, show workers how to intervene, stop bullying, and detail how to complain about wrongdoing. The training program began in late-2018 and was directed at franchisees and management personnel.

Proposal could impact sexual orientation/transgender rights

Kentucky residents who are part of the LGBTQ community have natural concerns that their personal lives can negatively impact their employment. While their rights are supposed to be protected under the law, it is unfortunately common for there to be attempts by those who discriminate against LGBTQ people to find ways to infringe on those rights. Recently, there are concerns regarding a new proposal that might implicitly allow employers to discriminate against those in the LGBTQ community. Although the new proposal is not yet the law, it is important for those who believe their sexual orientation/transgender rights are in jeopardy or have already been violated to understand what steps they can take next.

A Labor Department proposal by the Trump administration has sparked concern that LGBTQ people could be targeted by employers. It would allow religious organizations that contract with the federal government to consider religious tenets when making determinations on whom to hire and retain. Under this plan, a group or company that has a "religious purpose" and gets a federal contract could use this law. They will not be allowed to take part in discriminatory behaviors, but critics believe the law would leave significant room for them to do so.

Do not let employers commit workers' compensation retaliation

Kentucky workers are accorded various rights under the law. These laws protect them from wrongful termination, wage discrimination, sexual harassment, disability discrimination and more. If a worker is injured on the job or suffers from an illness or condition from the work they were doing, they may need to seek workers' compensation benefits. Employers are not allowed to retaliate against employees who need workers' compensation. Still, some will do just that to deprive the worker of those benefits and to dissuade other workers from doing the same. Having legal help is crucial to combat workers' compensation retaliation.

Workers' compensation benefits provide the injured employee with the financial help they need to be free from worry that they will suddenly be stuck with massive medical expenses and lost income that they cannot handle. Employers and their workers' compensation insurers are expected to treat the worker within the confines of the law. Trying to coerce the employee from limiting the claim or not making the claim at all is illegal. Unfortunately, the employer might use various tactics to negatively impact the workers' compensation claim.

Greater attention and scrutiny has reduced sexual harassment

In the past, workers in Kentucky and across the nation who were confronted with sexual harassment of any kind in the workplace were frequently reluctant to speak up for fear of not being believed or experiencing a negative impact at work. With the rise of complaints and the #MeToo movement on social media sparking greater attention to the problem, more women are deciding they will speak out when they are mistreated in this way. Simultaneously, this is creating a more welcoming environment to lawsuits for compensation. People who are sexually harassed should be aware of the improvement and how legal filings can be effective.

A recent study is showing that the #MeToo movement is helping women to fight back when they are sexually harassed and has lowered the amount of harassment from 2016 to 2018. Women have stated they are experiencing greater amounts of support and are encouraged to complain when harassed. That includes speaking directly to the alleged harassers. The study looked at surveys prior to the #MeToo movement and after it from when it started toward the end of 2017. The movement is believed to have had a part in ensuring better conditions for workers.

Can I file wage and hour claims for required tip pooling?

In Kentucky, there are many reasons for workers to file wage and hour claims. It can happen in jobs where people earn salaries, make commissions or work hourly. For those who are in the service industry and rely on tips, there are certain issues that will frequently arise and negatively impact their take-home pay. In some cases, the employer is committing violations and workers are unsure of how to go about putting a stop to it. With workers for whom the bulk of their salary comes from tips, there is often a fear of the idea of "tip pooling" when it is forced by the employer. It is important to know the state law for this, so you can seek justice if illegal behavior is occurring.

When employees are working for tips (gratuities), they are not required to hand them over to the employer in full or in part, except so there can be withholding due to the law. If it is for legal withholding, it cannot go beyond the amount the law says should be withheld. A tip is a voluntary bonus given to a worker by a customer, guest or patron. If there is a pool arrangement among the workers, the employer cannot order it nor can an employee be required to take part.

Former corrections employee files sexual harassment lawsuit

Even in the current climate where people in Kentucky and across the nation are encouraged to complain when they are facing sexual harassment in the workplace and those committing these acts are held accountable, it still happens with an alarming regularity. With sexual harassment, the illegal workplace behaviors often go beyond the one issue and people have their careers negatively impacted by it. They can be fearful and intimidated when they are treated this way and they may not know what to do about it. Having legal advice is a key part of taking the necessary steps to achieve justice.

A lawsuit was filed when a former corrections employee in Kentucky said that she faced sexual harassment and discrimination. According to her, she requested light duty after suffering an injury at work in February 2017. She made this request several times, but it was denied every time. Seeking a resolution, she went to the Fraternal Order of Police -- an entity named in the filing -- and asked its president for assistance. She says that he told her he would assist her if she engaged in sexual relations with him. He then sent explicit photographs. Unwillingly, she sent photos of herself and was given light duty.

Is requesting medical exams disability discrimination?

Disability discrimination does not necessarily need to be an overt act on the part of an employer or a prospective employer to be considered a legal violation in Kentucky. Some of the ways in which employers will avoid hiring a person who is disabled is to require them to take part in a medical examination or to answer medical questions as part of the terms of employment. If this happens and there is a suspicion or evidence that it was done to avoid hiring a person who has a disability or to fire someone who has been hired, there could be the basis to file a disability discrimination lawsuit to be compensated. Having legal assistance is key to determining whether a case is viable.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has certain rules regarding employers, disabled individuals, medical questions and medical examinations. At the application stage, the employer cannot ask the applicant to answer questions or take a medical exam before a job is offered. The employer cannot ask the applicant if he or she has a disability or about the severity of a disability that the applicant clearly has. The employer does have the legal right to ask a prospective employee if they can do the job and if reasonable accommodations will be needed.

Can I file wage and hour claims when deprived of breaks?

Kentucky employees might think that wage and hour claims for employer violations are limited to not getting paid what they are owed per hour. That is part of it, but there are other aspects of the law that will protect workers too. There are many laws that employers are required to adhere to in how workers are treated and that extends to various areas. For employees who are facing violations, it is important to understand their rights and that they are entitled to certain benefits. That includes breaks.

Knowing what the law says about when these breaks must be provided is essential. If an employer fails to provide them or commits adverse acts against an employee for taking them, a legal filing is an option. An employee must be granted rest periods. Employers cannot force a worker to work nonstop without a rest period of a minimum of 10 minutes for every four hours they work. This will be added to a regularly scheduled lunch break. The worker cannot lose compensation for this if they are working on a salary or are receiving hourly payment.

What the new pregnancy accommodation law means for summer workers

Back in April, Governor Matt Bevin signed Senate Bill 18, known as the Kentucky Pregnant Workers Act, into effect. This new law amends the Kentucky Civil Rights Act to further clarify how employers with at least 15 employees should accommodate workers that are expecting soon. Employers are also required to provide notices of this new law to their workers starting on June 27.

This law could not arrive at a better time of the year. Summer can be one of the most difficult times of the year to work for employees that are in shape, so imagine how much harder it is for female workers that are carrying a child. Employees should understand their rights under this new law and what risks they face as the temperatures start increasing.

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