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What Job Applicants Need to Know About Employment Law

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  1. What Job Applicants Need to Know About Employment Law Mary M. Williams September 21, 2009

  2. First things first…. • Thanks for coming- • I applaud you for participating! • Questions at the end

  3. Employment Law for Applicants • Tonight’s Topics • Job Interviews • Getting PAID! (Wage & Hour) • Discrimination/Harassment • Common Misconceptions

  4. Job Interviews • What’s legal? • Job-Related Questions • Education • Experience • Training • Skills • References • Hobbies/Interests

  5. Job Interviews • What’s Illegal? • Questions that are not job related, such as: • Age • Race • Disabilities • Pregnancy • Marital Status • Religion

  6. Job Interviews • Sample Legal Questions • What is your greatest strength? • What is your greatest accomplishment? • Have you ever been fired? • What days can you work? • What did you make at your last job? • Why did you leave your last job? • Will you need time off? • When can you work? • Can you lift 30 pounds?*

  7. Job Interviews • Sample Illegal Questions • Are you on any medication? • Have you ever filed for workers’ comp? • Are you on any medications? • Are you married? • How many children do you have? • Do you go to church?* • Where were you born? • How old are you? • What are your childcare arrangements?

  8. Job Interviews • What if you are asked an improper question? • Do not be surprised or angry • Might be a mistake • Politely state: • The question seems personal • You would prefer to keep your responses job-related • Re-affirm you can do the job

  9. Employment Discrimination • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 • Pregnancy Discrimination Act • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

  10. Discrimination Law Prohibits • Treating employees differently based on race, sex, age, religion, national origin, etc. (example: we don’t hire women) • Having a policy or practice that has impacts certain employees differently due to their race, sex, age, religion, etc. (example: help wanted ad for college grads only) • Harassment based on race, sex, age, religion, disability, etc. (example: nooses, explicit pictures at work)

  11. Employment Discrimination • Are all employers covered? • 15 employees for Title VII, ADA, and Pregnancy Discrimination Act • 20 employees for ADEA • EEOC enforces (www.eeoc.gov)

  12. Title VII • Prohibits discrimination based on: • race, • color, • religion, • sex • national origin

  13. Pregnancy Discrimination Act • Prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy

  14. Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 • Prohibits discrimination in employment based on age • 40 and older are protected class • Employer must have 20 or more employees

  15. Americans with Disabilities Act • Prohibits discrimination against any “qualified individual with a disability” • Includes physical and mental impairments • Complicated statute: • Alcoholism – might be a disability • Current drug use – not covered by ADA

  16. “Qualified Individual” • Who is covered? • An individual with a disability • Who can perform the essential functions of her job • With or without reasonable accommodation • Examples: • Police • Pilots • Clerical workers

  17. Employer Must Provide “Reasonable Accommodation” • Make facilities accessible and usable • Modify work schedules • Modify or purchase equipment • Adjust or modify tests and policies • Provide readers or interpreters • NOTE: Depends on circumstances

  18. Unlawful Harassment Is a form of discrimination based on: • Race, color, religion, sex or national origin (Title VII) • Age (40 or older) (ADEA) • Disability (ADA) • Is not just someone who annoys you at work

  19. Unlawful Harassment • May be by a supervisor • May be by a co-worker • May be by a customer or another person present at work

  20. What To Do About Discrimination and Harassment: • Look for a policy or posting • If there is a policy, follow it • If no policy, report it to your supervisor • If your supervisor is the harasser, report it up the chain of command • Make a written report, with details and examples • If your complaint is not being addressed, go to the EEOC • If you are fired after reporting? Get a lawyer

  21. Getting PAID! • What Rules Apply?: • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) • NC Wage and Hour Act • States outside NC may have different rules

  22. Getting PAID! • Who Enforces? : • U.S Department of Labor (DOL) • www.dol.gov • North Carolina Dep’t of Labor (NC DOL) • www.nclabor.com

  23. Getting PAID! • What’s Legal?: • Minimum Wage ($7.25/hr) • Overtime if over 40 hrs in a workweek • Accurate timekeeping

  24. Getting PAID! • What’s Illegal?: • Paying less than minimum wage (exception for tips - $2.13/hr) • Withholding wages • Failing to notify employees of wages • Not paying final paycheck

  25. Getting PAID! • What’s Illegal?: • “Comp time” in lieu of overtime (exception: public employers) • No overtime for salaried employees • Using unpaid “volunteers”

  26. Common Misunderstandings • My boss said, “you have a job so long as you do your job.” Can I be fired anyway? (Yes) • My employer thinks I stole something, but I didn’t. Can I be fired anyway? (Yes) • Does my employer have to give me 2 weeks notice before terminating employment? (No) • Do I have to give two weeks notice if I want to quit? (No – but look at vacation policies first) • Can my employer require me to work overtime? (Yes) • Can my employer require weekend or holiday work? (Yes) • I need maternity leave or medical leave – my employer has to provide that, right? (If under 50 ees, no. If over 50 ees, then if you have been there one year and 1250+ hrs, you may qualify for up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave, but the leave is unpaid.)

  27. Common Misunderstandings • Is my employer required to give me meal or rest breaks? (No, unless under 16 yrs old) • Can my employer require me to sign a confidentiality or noncompete agreement? (Yes) • Can I say whatever I want about my employer? (No) • Is my employer required to offer paid vacation or paid sick leave? (No) • If I am injured at work, can my employer terminate my employment? (Maybe) • If I quit my job, can I get unemployment? (Not usually, but it depends on the facts)

  28. The End • Questions? • Good luck!!! • Mary M. Williams