What Is the Harm of Hugs in the Workplace?

Two people hugging

People Hugging In recent months, the increasing number of high-profile allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault has put a spotlight on the charged issue of proper decorum in the workplace. The issue that many employers face, however, is that the line between innocent behavior and offensive behavior can be difficult to draw. That’s why it’s important for employers to be as transparent as possible about workplace rules regarding unwanted touching—including behavior that many people might regard as innocuous, such as hugs. In addition, employers should make themselves familiar with the laws of their state regarding sexual harassment and sexual assault. Staying inside these laws is essential for protecting your company from potential lawsuits from current and former employees. If you are concerned about whether your workplace policies are strong enough to protect your company from possible legal action in the future, you may want to consult with a lawyer in San Jose, CA, with experience in employer rights .

Steps to Take When You’ve Been Underpaid

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You work hard for your paycheck, and every dollar counts. So you might be surprised to learn that getting underpaid is quite common, and not every employee realizes it’s happening. Employee rights lawyers recommend verifying the accuracy of every paycheck you receive before you deposit it. If you do think you’re being underpaid, talk to an employment law attorney in San Jose, CA right away.

Fair Labor Look for common pay stub errors.

Many different payroll errors can result in you receiving a smaller paycheck than you should. As you examine your pay stub each week, ask yourself the following questions.

  • Are my hours correct?
  • Is the rate of pay correct?
  • Did I get paid time-and-a-half for overtime?
  • Did my employer take out unusual deductions?

Report the mistake to human resources.

It’s possible that a too-small paycheck is simply due to a clerical error. Visit your company’s human resources department to discuss the issue. You have the right to request a timely payment of the money you’re owed. In most cases, your employer should include compensation in your next paycheck.

Maintain your own work records.

Whether or not you’ve previously detected paycheck errors, it’s good practice to retain your pay stubs and keep your own records. Keep a small notebook in your car or desk, and write down the times you arrive at work and leave each day. Add up the hours and make a note of whether you’re owed overtime pay.

Talk to a labor attorney.

Contact an employment lawyer, and schedule an initial consultation. Bring your recent pay stubs and any other relevant documents, such as your employment contract if you have one. Your lawyer will review these documents, explain the applicable labor laws, and discuss your options. In some cases, employers are more willing to pay what they owe their employees when they learn that a lawyer has been retained—even before an official complaint is filed. If you’re still denied the pay you’re entitled to, your employment attorney can file a lawsuit.

Talk to your co-workers.

Your lawyer may recommend that you speak privately with your co-workers to find out if they’re also being underpaid. You and your co-workers may pursue a collective action against the employer. In litigation, there can be strength in numbers.

What Should You Do If an Employee Makes a Sexual Harassment Claim?

Businessmen

All sexual harassment claims should be taken very seriously. Even if the employee hasn’t yet filed an official complaint, you should take immediate action. First, contact an employment lawyer in San Jose, CA . He or she can give you the legal guidance that will minimize your company’s liability.

Man Scolding in the Office When you watch this video, you’ll be reminded to speak with all involved parties to get to the bottom of what has happened. Take action to put an end to the sexual harassment, and execute disciplinary action as specified in the employee handbook. Later, you’ll need to follow up with the involved parties to make sure the behavior has stopped and the victim didn’t suffer any retaliatory actions. You can prevent future problems by holding training sessions focused on raising awareness of sexual harassment, and explaining your company’s zero tolerance policy.

How Federal and State Laws Impact Marijuana in the Workplace

Drug Free

Employers in California must be mindful of both federal and state laws. This can get complicated because these laws can evolve frequently, especially when they pertain to marijuana. Although Californians can legally possess and use marijuana for medical and recreational purposes, federal law still classifies it as a Schedule I drug that has no medicinal use. This means that it’s possible for employers to face legal difficulties if they knowingly continue to employ workers who use marijuana. To keep your company out of legal entanglements, seek employment law advice from a labor attorney in San Jose, CA who is familiar with these matters.

Drug Free

Drug-Free Workplace Policies

Not all companies may be affected by the marijuana use of employees, as long as the substance is not taken to or used on the company’s campus. However, if your company is subject to the 1970 Federal Controlled Substances Act, it must have a Drug-Free Workplace Program in effect. Companies are subject to this law if they are nonprofits that receive federal grants (of any amount), or if they are for-profit entities that receive $100,000 or more in federal contracts. An employment lawyer can draft a drug-free workplace policy to include in your employee handbook.

Marijuana-Related Work Issues

Beyond the legal requirements, there are other issues for employers to consider. Employees who work while under the influence are more likely to be involved in workplace accidents. Their productivity may suffer, and the mere fact that some people are working under the influence of marijuana may affect the morale of the entire workplace.

Medical Marijuana Considerations

Labor attorneys are often asked if employers must make exceptions for workers who have a valid medical marijuana card. Remember that marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Even under state law, California courts have made it clear that it’s within an employer’s rights to terminate or refuse to hire an individual who tests positive for marijuana, with or without a medical marijuana card.