Most of us spend a good chunk of our waking hours at work. Therefore, our life can become highly unpleasant if someone in our workplace is regularly unkind or even a bully to us. At what point does that behavior cross over into harassment, and when does a situation become a "hostile work environment" that may require legal action to remedy?
In many instances, if an employee has some form of disability, he or she may request that an employer provide reasonable accommodation to allow him or her to do his or her job effectively. For many individuals, the laws that ensure this right offer important protections that ensure they can participate in the workforce fully.
As greater numbers of states throughout the country continue to advance marijuana legalization efforts, employees often find themselves between a rock and a hard place, legally speaking. Here in Arizona, it seems as though it is only a matter of time before the drug receives some form of widespread legalization, as legislators regularly introduce legislation to that effect.. However, even in states where the drug is legal, employers may not treat employees who use the drug legally in a fair way.
Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), aging employees have protections against age discriminate in the workplace. Older employees are often some of the most vulnerable to unfair practices, especially as the business world continues to change and evolve at a rapid pace. Without these protections, workers may see themselves sidelined well before they can afford to retire.
Many employees face unfair sexual discrimination or even sexual assault in the workplace, and if the widespread revelations of harassment in 2017 are any indication, the issue of inappropriate behavior in professional settings affects every business sector.
City officials in Scottsdale recently sent a letter to state-level lawmakers asking them to establish state-wide protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities and individuals throughout Arizona. This stands in contrast with past actions of the city, which previously rejected a local LGBT protection ordinance.
Justice is always sweet, but it is all the more so when it addresses wrongs committed adjacent to the justice system itself. A major player in the Arizona private prison system recently agreed to a sizable settlement and additional enforcement of anti-sexual harassement measures in a suit brought by 16 former guards.
The recent uproar in Hollywood and elsewhere over sexual misconduct shines a spotlight on all kinds of discrimination and misconduct in the workplace, creating a tide of momentum propelling others to speak out about many injustices in all areas of employment. While we would love to believe that other types of injustice are a thing of the past, like racial discrimination, this behavior is still alive and well in many workplaces around the country and the world.
Creating a safe workplace for employees is one of the most important responsibilities of any employer. Unfortunately, far too many workplaces still allow unfair treatment or discrimination, placing an unfair burden on employees who suffer violations of their rights to stand up to unacceptable behavior in order to create safe work environments for all people.
Employees often believe their employers are the ones with absolutely all the power in any conflict, but this is not as true as it may feel. In many cases, employees have a great deal of power to object to the practices of an employer, especially if the employer is breaking the law or some noncriminal regulation.