Developing a Harassment Policy: Tips for Small Business Owners

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Having a harassment policy protects your employees from a hostile work environment and protects you from lawsuits. Small businesses need to have harassment policies in place in the same way that larger corporations do, and developing one is easier than you may think. It’s important to work with an employment law attorney in San Jose when you create your policy to ensure that you are not overlooking any important elements that it should include. These tips will help you make a policy that works for your company and your employees. employee - harassment

Explicitly State What Is Prohibited

Spell out in clear, straightforward terms which groups are protected from harassment . This language can include stating that harassment based on sex, race, color, religion, age, or disability will not be tolerated. It is important to identify all groups who are protected from harassment under federal, state, and local laws. Since these groups may vary depending on where you live, consult with a labor attorney in your area who is experienced in working with your local laws.

Create a Procedure for Complaints

Your policy should tell employees exactly how they can make complaints if they believe they have been harassed. It is helpful to have one person who is not directly responsible for supervising an employee who can take these complaints. For instance, you may wish to state that any manager can take a harassment complaint. State that employees will not be protected from retaliation for making a complaint or cooperating in a harassment investigation and that the employee’s confidentiality will be protected as much as possible.

Make a Response Plan

Your harassment policy should also describe how managers should respond to complaints and provide a timeline for harassment investigations. Clearly define the consequences for harassing employees. Your plan should also include a framework for keeping the employee who made the complaint up to date with the investigation and any action taken against the person who violated the policy.

FAQs About Wrongful Termination

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Although employers are entitled to terminate employees for just cause, such as job performance, there are many reasons for firing someone that is not permitted under employment law. If you think that you have been the victim of wrongful termination , talk to an employee rights lawyer in San Jose to determine if your case meets the legal definition and what steps you should take next. Here is a look at some common questions employees have about wrongful termination. wrongful - termination

What is wrongful termination?

Wrongful termination occurs when an employee is fired because of a reason that is not legally permitted. For instance, although your employer can terminate you because of poor job performance or because he or she wishes to downsize, you cannot be fired for your age, race, political views, gender identity, or pregnancy. Termination is considered to be wrongful if it either violates federal, state or local employment law or if it violates the terms of your employment contract. A labor attorney can tell you if your termination falls into this category.

How do I know why I was terminated?

Because you are employed at-will, you can be terminated without warning, unless you have a contract that states otherwise, and your employer does not have to give you a reason. Generally, in cases of wrongful termination, there was a pattern of discriminatory behavior that culminated in the firing. Your labor attorney will want to know information about your work environment if you’ve had performance warnings in the past, and what exactly happened when you were terminated.

What should I do if I believe I was wrongfully terminated?

If you think you were wrongfully terminated, document everything about the incident when it is fresh in your mind, and talk to an employee rights attorney. Your attorney will evaluate all of your evidence and determine if you should pursue legal action against for your former employer. You may seek damages for the impacts of the termination.

A Look at the New Minimum Wage Law in Fresno, California

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Now that a minimum wage increase is employment law in California, how are employers coping, and what are the rights of employees? If you have questions about the minimum wage law, be sure to seek employment law advice from a labor attorney in San Jose, CA so you understand your responsibilities as an employer and your rights as a worker.

Watch this video to see how the law has impacted businesses in Fresno, where unemployment is in the double digits. A wage hike of 50 cents per hour became law in January 2017, and there will be an increase each year until it reaches $15 an hour in 2022. Businesses in Fresno fear that they will have to close because they can’t afford to pay workers that much, but under the law, employers have little wiggle room.

A Look at Employment Discrimination Laws for Application and Hiring

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Employment laws apply not only to the treatment of employees but also to the application and hiring process. If you are an employer who is unsure of your responsibilities under the law or a prospective employee who believes your rights have been violated, speak to an employment law attorney in San Jose for insight into your case.

Employers cannot discriminate against job applicants for race, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, genetics, or age if the person is over 40. Employers also cannot consider stereotypes or assumptions about these groups during the hiring process. When a test is required during the hiring process, the test must be clearly related to the job and cannot exclude people based on any protected class. If a job applicant has a disability and requires an accommodation during the hiring process, the employer must provide it if it can be obtained without excessive hardship or expense. A labor attorney can provide employment law advice to applicants and employers to ensure that these rights are being honored appropriately.

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