Kentucky Employment Lawyers

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.

Sexual harassment on the job warrants a legal filing

The term "sexual harassment" is becoming synonymous with legal filings for workplace violations in Kentucky and across the nation. Part of that is due to the newfound willingness many victims are exhibiting in speaking up to put a stop to the behavior. Part of it is because the "me too" movement on social media and other positive steps have shined more light on the issue. Regardless of why people are feeling free to come forward, there remain a significant number who are unsure of how to respond when they have been confronted with sexual harassment. Fortunately, there are legal remedies to be compensated after being sexually harassed.

Despite greater attention paid to sexual harassment, many are still unsure of what constitutes a legal violation in this context and when they can pursue compensation. It is not a simple matter of unwanted touching and sexually aggressive and inappropriate comments. Of course, these actions will generally be sufficient to file a complaint about sexual harassment. But it can extend to acts many are unaware of as being sexual harassment.

Supreme court to decide on sexual orientation/transgender rights

In Kentucky and across the nation, there is still a dispute as to how far anti-discrimination laws should go in protecting people based on sexual orientation/transgender rights. There are many laws shielding employees or prospective employees who are confronted with disability discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination and more. But there is an ongoing debate regarding this issue as it is gaining greater attention. This will be a critical concern in the future and people should be aware of it to ensure their rights are protected.

Three cases involving sexual orientation/transgender rights will be heard later this year by the U.S. Supreme Court. Its decision will dictate if the federal civil rights laws also cover it and protect people in this category. The key is whether the law which protects people based on sex includes sexual orientation and how people identify based on gender. The cases are from New York, Georgia and Michigan.

Tips to navigate a hostile work environment

Many incidents of sexual harassment develop into hostile work environments. These hostile environments generally result when individuals reject unwanted sexual advances. The harassment becomes more aggressive and entirely disrupts the work environment. 

No one should have to put up with a situation like this, but there are some tips to navigate a hostile work environment.

Can disability discrimination include refusal to grant leave?

The Americans with Disabilities Act provides protection to workers to stop employers from exhibiting any kind of discrimination against them during the hiring process, when they are on the job, and when dismissing them among many other aspects of work. Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodation when it does not cause undue hardship on the business.

Disabled employees have rights to take leave if they need it. If they are legally allowed to take it and are not granted that right, this can be the basis of a legal filing. It is reasonable accommodation if the worker tries to use paid or unpaid leave and it is necessary because of the disability. The employer is not obligated to give paid leave beyond what is given to every employee. The employee should be allowed to use paid leave and then unpaid leave should be given.

Women may be losing millions due to the wage gap

The wage gap between men and women has made headlines throughout the last ten years with female employees in all industries talking about the income challenge. However, a recent study found the gap may be even more pronounced in high-earning fields, such as medicine or finance.

According to CNN, multiple analyses found large income gaps from male executive to female executives; men make millions more than their female counterpart. The same was true for female doctors and lawyers as the male lawyer earned 53 percent more than a female partner.

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