Solving Workplace Disputes Through Mediation

Employees Working

When you have a workplace dispute, an alternative to a lengthy and costly court case could be mediation. If your attorney offers mediation services in San Jose, CA , or recommends mediation as an appropriate choice for your case, here is what you need to know.

During mediation, the goal is not for one side to emerge as a winner but rather for both sides to compromise and come to an agreement that they can both accept. During an employment dispute, legal mediation could address things like wage and discrimination issues under the guidance of an impartial, third party mediator, who facilitates the negotiations. Your lawyer can still represent you during mediation to ensure that your rights are not being violated. Once you reach an agreement during mediation, it is legally binding, so both you and the other party must adhere to the terms.

Although mediation may not be the right choice for the most contentious cases, it can help you avoid the stress and expenses of going to court while getting a decision on your case much more quickly.

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What Are Your Rights if You Are Being Sexually Harassed at Work?

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Sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious issue that can be incredibly distressing. Fortunately, you have options and you have rights. If you think you are being sexually harassed, consult a labor rights lawyer in San Jose, CA, as soon as possible to determine how you can best protect your rights. Here is what you need to know. sexual - harassment

You have the right to report to a person with whom you are comfortable.

You are not obligated to report sexual harassment to your boss. In many cases, immediate supervisors are either involved in the harassment or have a relationship with the person who is being accused. You can report your harassment to anyone in your workplace that has the ability to take action. In some companies, there is a designated human resources person who is in charge of sexual harassments complaints who can help you. However, you can report your harassment to anyone with whom you are comfortable as long as he or she is able to take some kind of action on your behalf.

You have the right to be protected against sexual harassment as defined by your company.

Companies are required to take action against harassment that is severe, pervasive, and that creates a hostile work environment under federal law. Most workplaces have sexual harassment policies that far exceed that benchmark, and you have the right to expect to be protected from harassment as defined by your employee handbook. For instance, if your company has a policy against employees asking each other for dates and someone makes you uncomfortable by asking you out, your workplace is obligated to address that situation as harassment.

You have the right to pursue an investigation outside of the workplace.

You don’t have to accept the results of any internal investigation into sexual harassment that is conducted by your employer. You can contact a labor rights lawyer if you are unhappy with your workplace’s evaluation. A lawyer can help you decide if you should file a claim against your employer.

What Does the Law Say About LGBTQ Discrimination in the Workplace?

Equal Rights

Although many people believe that LGBTQ discrimination in the workplace is prohibited by federal law, it is actually only addressed on a state-by-state basis. If you believe that you have been discriminated against based on your sexual orientation or gender identity in San Jose, CA, then you will need to consult with a labor attorney in California to see what your rights are in that state.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act has been unsuccessfully introduced in Congress multiple times since 1994. The Act would add LGBTQ discrimination protections in the workplace to national anti-discrimination laws, forcing states that currently don’t have these protections to adopt them. Most recently, in 2013, the law passed the Senate but failed to make it out of the House, leaving LGBTQ discrimination in the hands of the states.

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Political Speech at Work: What Is and Isn’t Protected

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In a highly charged political climate, many people wonder if they have the right to engage in political speech at work. Can your boss fire you for saying you don’t like his or her candidate? Can you pass out political pamphlets in the workplace, or does that violate labor law? Political speech at work is a complex issue, so if you think your rights have been violated, hire an experienced employment law attorney in San Jose, CA , to help you determine how to proceed. Here is a look at some of the things that are—and are not—protected when it comes to political speech at work. politics - work

Expressing Political Views: Not Protected

Your right to free speech does not necessarily extend to your right to engage in political speech at work. Employers in privately owned companies can decide to ban political discussions of any kind in the workplace. For public sector employees, there are more free speech protections, but these employees can legally have their political speech restricted as well. Generally, employees can be fired for engaging in political speech at work when it interferes with their jobs in some way, whether it takes time away from their duties or causes them to treat customers or co-workers differently who do not agree with them. However, if an employer seems to target employees whose views differ from their own and don’t apply the rules fairly, then he or she could be violating anti-discrimination laws.

Off-Duty Political Activity: Protected

Generally, employees can engage in political activities outside of their working hours without fear of retaliation from their employers. An exception would be if the employee’s activities violated any morality clause or similar contract point. For instance, if your contact allows you to be terminated if you are arrested and you are rounded up during a political protest, your employer could fire you because your arrest violated the terms of your agreement.

Political Displays at Work: Not Protected

Your employer can prevent you from wearing political shirts, buttons, hats, and other pieces of clothing through the use of a dress code. He or she can also decide to prohibit any kind of political signage in the workplace, as long as the rules are applied equally. An exception is that non-managerial employees are legally entitled to wear and display labor union insignia.