Monthly Archives: November 2016

Where Companies Fail: The Most Common Employee Lawsuits

Surveys show that most companies think they follow the law. The reality is that many businesses are unknowingly breaking state and federal laws, which can result in expensive and time-consuming lawsuits and litigation.

Ninja Gig compiles a list of the most common types of employee lawsuits and how you can prevent them.

Discrimination

Discrimination is the most common employee lawsuit. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 89,385 charges in 2015. During that same year, they secured settlements of more than $356 million for victims that experienced employee discrimination. The EEOC focuses on protected categories, including nationality, race, sex, sexual preference, religion, disability and age. They also tackle cases related to discriminatory discharge, which is when someone’s employment terminates for falling into a protected class or category.

Retaliation

Retaliation and whistleblower claims are a huge expense. Retaliation can occur when someone files a complaint that relates to discrimination, and he/she then receives a layoff notice. Companies cannot fire employees that help participate in discrimination claims. Additionally, companies cannot ask employees to lie about discrimination claims and then fire them if they are not willing to be dishonest.

Harassment

We have all seen headlines that relate to harassment – Bill Clinton, Clarence Thomas, the Navy Tailhook Scandal and Senator Bob Packwood, to name a few. Harassment lawsuits lead to messy litigation and expensive settlements.

 

Harassment encompasses a wide variety of offensive behavior, including offensive objects, jokes or pictures, physical assaults, name-calling and threats. If this type of conduct creates a hostile work environment, an employee may have a harassment case.

How can employers avoid lawsuits?

It may be difficult to prevent all lawsuits, as some employees may only be looking to cash in on settlements. However, businesses can help to avoid lawsuits by practicing state and federal employment laws.

 

Federal employment laws include the following:

 

  • Equal Pay Act – It is against the law to discriminate between women and men that perform the same job and same duties.
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – You may not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. This section also extends to include the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Employers may not discriminate based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act – You may not discriminate against employees’ age 40 and older. Please note that some states expand this and decrease the age to 18.
  • Family and Medical Leave Act – You cannot discriminate against parents and pregnant women. This also includes prohibiting discrimination against employees with serious health conditions.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act – You may not discriminate against qualified employees due to a disability.
  • Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act – Employers may not discriminate against employees based on their genetic information. This includes prohibiting health insurance companies from discriminating against genetic information obtained through tests.

 

The best way to avoid lawsuits is to educate employees to create a healthy, positive work environment. Businesses need to practice harassment prevention by establishing complaint and grievance procedures. Always take action when employees complain about harassment. Most importantly, companies always need to stay apprised of the latest employment law changes.

 

Ninja Gig allows companies to accept employment applications online. Employers can easily include a non-discrimination notice during this application process, which can include a nondiscrimination statement.

What a Trump Presidency Means for Businesses

Americans collectively agree they are happy this presidential election is finally over. Whether you agree or disagree with the outcome of the election, one fact remains: Donald Trump’s policies will impact businesses.

The stock market’s initial reaction to a Trump presidency was plummeting, largely due to the shock that all the pollsters were wrong about calling this election. Once the market re-opened and the initial surprise wore off, stocks rallied and finished up.

Trump’s business plan includes cutting taxes, which will make America more attractive to big businesses. He wants to focus on eliminating regulations, which would greatly help U.S. energy resource efforts. Trump has attacked current trade deals; he wants to overhaul how the U.S. currently trades with other countries. Trump’s team estimates that by working on these three areas of business that the U.S. economy could grow at a 4-percent clip. Currently, the annual rate is approximately 2-percent.

Companies are anticipated to see a big tax reduction, as he wants to reduce the corporate tax rate from 35-percent to 15-percent. He believes this will help to retain businesses on U.S. soil. In the past, many companies have fled to foreign countries to conduct their businesses, as tax rates are substantially less.

Election results gave way to Republican sweeps in the House, Senate and the presidency. Since 1945, there has only been 12 times when a party has held all three of these crucial positions. Out of the last 12 times, only two have been Republican reigns.

Eliminating and/or changing the Affordable Care Act is a high probability with a Republican Congress and president. Trump’s reasoning behind eliminating and implementing a new affordable healthcare plan is because insurance premiums have increased by as much as 25-percent.

Trump’s plan to help eliminate illegal immigrants that take jobs away from Americans, is to have an H-1B visa program, which will allow a set number of immigrants to work in the U.S. Many large companies, such as Google and Facebook, use skilled foreign workers. Trump is looking for a solution that is similar to what Canada has instituted – U.S. companies would need to hire skilled American workers before using for a visa and immigration program.

 

While Trump ran on these platforms, it is yet to be seen how many of his ideas will be met with open minds by Congress.

 

Trump does not advocate increasing the federal minimum wage, but companies should note that many states increased minimum wage requirements in this 2016 election. Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington voted to increase the state minimum wage to a minimum of at least $12 per hour by 2020. Human resources professionals should check with each state for exact amounts and more information.

 

Ninja Gig focuses on creating online job applications. These applications make it easy for employers to ask specific questions, including if employees are authorized to work in the U.S.  Sign up today for a 30-day free trial of this awesome software that allows you to accept job applications online and fill all your employment needs.