Wisconsin employees may be interested to learn that a federal appellate court has ruled that a human resources director could be considered an employer and thus held responsible for violating the Family and Medical Leave Act. A payroll administrator who had been at a company for five years submitted a FMLA request to care for her teenage son who had just been diagnosed with diabetes. She returned to work after 12 days and at the end of that same month, she submitted paperwork supporting her need for the FMLA leave.
Workplace discrimination and harassment ultimately have many negative effects that can hurt morale and waste time, and these behaviors might cost billions of dollars annually. Employers in Wisconsin should consider taking steps to stop harassment before it starts, and workers can also educate themselves about appropriate behavior while on the job.
Many workers in Wisconsin are sexually harassed by their employers, supervisors or coworkers. Workplace sexual harassment can take many different forms, and it can range from inappropriate comments to physical assault. Other forms of workplace sexual harassment include displays of pornographic images, sexual jokes, unwelcome touching and requests for sexual favors.
A court in Dane County will hear arguments in a lawsuit brought by the Machinists Local Lodge 1061 claiming that the state's right-to-work law violates constitutional law. The law, signed by Gov. Scott Walker, stopped the requirement that employees in positions represented by private unions pay mandatory dues to a union. Machinists Local Lodge 1061, an affiliate of three labor groups including the International Association of Machinists District 10, asserted in its lawsuit that this new law requires unions to perform unpaid representation of nonunion workers.
Workers in Wisconsin may want to follow two recently filed lawsuits as they progress through the federal court system. The lawsuits, both filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will test whether gay and lesbian people are protected against discrimination in the workplace.
A Wisconsin employee can make their feelings about an employer known quite easily in today's social media world. However, a social media rant could be a bad idea. A Yelp employee in San Francisco was recently fired after a blog post that described the alleged financial challenges and training inadequacies for low-level workers in the company. In fact, the firing occurred on the same day that the post was made, but Yelp has not explained the reason for the firing.
Companies that receive reports of sexual harassment from their employees need to be diligent about investigating them and taking claims seriously. Some observers believe that implementing policies that address issues like romantic relationships in the workplace might be an effective way to fight this type of behavior. These policies can include clauses that make it clear that misconduct isn't allowed. They could also reduce the risks of certain forms of harassment by prohibiting relationships between employees and their immediate managers.
There are many Wisconsin employees who may be required to travel outside the state or even outside the country for work. With the rise of the Zika virus, employees who may be required to travel to the affected regions may be at risk for contracting the virus.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees in Wisconsin and around the country from discrimination based on race, age, gender or national origin, and it also requires employers to make reasonable accommodations when workers make requests of a religious nature. Such accommodations are usually straightforward and rarely amount to more than allowing employees to take short periods of time off to attend religious ceremonies or services, but companies may face difficult decisions when the worker concerned performs particularly hazardous or important work.
Many Wisconsin workers assume that if their employer does something, it must be legal. This is in large part due to a belief that the company they work for knows the laws and would not break them. However, there are a number of laws that are violated regularly in workplaces today, including disciplining people for comments made on social media and telling employees they cannot discuss their wages.