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 .
Wage claims, sometimes called unpaid wage claims, can be filed to request that an employer or former employer properly compensate the employee or former employee. If you think you are owed wages or another type of compensation, you have the right to consult an employment law attorney serving San Jose, CA. He or she can file a claim on your behalf if you’re owed overtime, commissions, or bonuses. A labor attorney can also file a claim if you were issued a check, but there were insufficient funds. Wage claims are appropriate for obtaining compensation for unused vacation hours, non-reimbursed employment expenses, and unpaid sick leave.
You may have left a job or been let go. Your employer is required to send you your final paycheck, but this doesn’t always happen in a timely manner. Before filing a wage claim under these circumstances, your employment lawyer may recommend checking with the Labor Commissioner or the state’s Unclaimed Wages Fund. It’s possible that your former employer couldn’t locate you, and he or she turned over the funds to the state.
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.
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.
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.
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.