Employment News & Info

Popular ride sharing service Uber is under fire this week after a former employee blogged about the sexual harassment she experienced at the company. Former Attorney General Eric Holder has joined an independent investigation into the matter – an investigation ordered by none other than Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.

The blog post that went viral this week details one female engineer’s experience while working at Uber. The nearly 3,000 word post discusses sexual harassment she faced starting from day one on her team. Her manager sought her out via instant message asking for sex. Though she took screenshots and reported the manager to human resources, the manager was not formally punished for his actions. The man was a high performer, the HR department claimed, and would only receive a warning. This was his first offense, they argued.

The female engineer was given two choices: she could leave the team and her area of expertise or face a poor performance review from the manager. She chose to transfer teams, but later left the company after experiencing more gender discrimination and retaliation. Before she left, she learned that she was far from the first woman harassed by the alleged “first offense” manager. He later left the company.

Tech companies like Uber pride themselves on being socially aware and ultra-modern, but this kind of treatment of women employees anything but.  It just goes to show that even the most contemporary of businesses can have very old school – and illegal – points of view on sexual harassment in the workplace.

Virginia Employment Lawyer

If you feel you have been a victim of sexual harassment discrimination, the first thing to do is report this to your supervisor and/or human resource department. From there, you will have a better understanding of how to move forward.

Remember, you also have the right to contact a Virginia employment attorney who can help protect your rights and decide if you are in position to take action.

The United States Department of Labor has filed suit against Oracle, a California-based tech company. The lawsuit alleges that Oracle discriminates against women and minorities, paying them less than white male employees. The company also hires Asian employees more frequently than other races for product development and technical roles, the suit alleges.

This comes on the heels of a two-year long investigation into the company’s hiring practices. Because Oracle is federally contracted, they’re not allowed to discriminate based on gender, race, gender identity, sexual orientation or national origin. Should Oracle lose this case, they stand to lose millions of dollars in federal contracts.

The company insists that the allegations are not true, and that the complaints are politically motivated. The Department of Labor, though, says Oracle refused to fully cooperate with the investigation and did not provide records and employment data when asked.

Unfortunately, the Silicon Valley world has a reputation for valuing certain races and genders more than others. White and Asian men dominate the tech industry, so there has been a push in recent years to diversify. Progress has been relatively slow, though. The Department of Labor has been working to investigate claims of discrimination throughout the industry.

This fall, the government filed suit against another tech company, Palantir, for discriminating against minority applicants. They also recently asked Google to provide their compensation records during an audit. The company refused, insisting they don’t want to reveal confidential data. The battle will continue on, though, as long as tech companies proceed with their unfair hiring practices.

Have you been a Victim of Race/Color Discrimination?

Where you denied a  job opportunity because of your race? Are you being discriminated against because of the color of your skin? These are serious situations that should be dealt with accordingly.

With a Virginia employment attorney on your side, you know your rights will be protected at all times.

How often do you look at your pay stub? Do you know how much you should be paid each pay period? Would you notice unfair deductions if they were occurring? It pays to be aware of your financial standings with your employer.

PNC Bank has agreed to settle an overtime suit filed by employees. The company will pay $16 million to workers who say they were not fairly compensated for their overtime work.

Four mortgage loan officers in Florida and Ohio began the collective-action lawsuit back in the summer of 2015. They alleged that the Pittsburgh-based PNK Bank asked employees to work overtime – frequently from outside the office – but discouraged them from recording the extra hours. PNC Bank also allegedly failed to properly compensate these employees for the overtime they did record. Instead, inappropriate deductions were made from employee’s paychecks.

The employees involved in the lawsuit were paid an annual salary of $24,000 based on a 40 hour work week, plus commissions. In the lawsuit, they argued that they were not exempt from overtime. Though PNC Bank has admitted no wrongdoing, they did agree to pay the 17 current former loan officers to settle the case.

Unfortunately, the suit alleges that these practices likely occurred in PNC offices throughout the United States. Far from the first time PNC Bank has gone to court over unpaid overtime, the company settled a $7 million lawsuit in 2011 after misclassifying mortgage loan officers as exempt from overtime pay.

This lawsuit goes to show how carefully employees need to monitor their paychecks. Even when on good terms with your employer, it pays to keep an eye on deductions and overtime pay. If you have any concerns about being fairly compensated for the hours you work, we encourage you to reach out to our team for a free, no-risk consultation.

Wage & Overtime Lawyers

If you are independent contractor, but your hours, work attire, pay, etc., are controlled by a client, you may be misclassified. The nature of your relationship with a client could deem you an employee, and as an employee you are eligible for benefits such as overtime pay. You could be owed unpaid wages. Contact our Unpaid Wage & Overtime Lawyers to discuss your situation 877-544-5323.

Contact Us Today 877-544-5323.

*Prior results to do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Many of us feel overworked and underpaid: for information technology professionals, it’s not just a feeling – it’s reality.

A new survey reveals that most IT professionals work unpaid overtime each week. The survey, which includes responses from nearly 140 IT workers, was recently conducted by Lieberman Software.​ The results were shocking: 74 percent of IT professionals say they work overtime – but receive no extra compensation for their time.

34 percent say they work about 15 extra hours per week unpaid. Another 15 percent say they work between 10 and 15 extra hours. About 10 percent said they work about five to nine hours of unpaid overtime weekly. Only 26 percent of respondents said they typically return home on time.

IT professionals are the quiet heroes of most workplaces. With our society becoming more dependent upon technology than ever, companies rely upon IT workers to ensure the safety and success of their online presence. When they’re successful, IT workers are mostly unnoticed – and unsung. But when something goes wrong, these employees are the first to be blamed. Many time, they’re also the first to be asked to stay late.

The survey revealed another shocking reality: that most IT workers don’t have any professional training on new security products. Some even admitted they never use certain products simply because they don’t have the time in their day to teach themselves to use it.

This survey, though relatively small, shows just how unfairly IT workers are treated. No one should be expected to donate their free time to their employer. We encourage anyone – IT worker or otherwise – with concerns about their overtime hours to reach out for a free, no-risk consultation.

Wage & Overtime Lawyers

If you are independent contractor, but your hours, work attire, pay, etc., are controlled by a client, you may be misclassified. The nature of your relationship with a client could deem you an employee, and as an employee you are eligible for benefits such as overtime pay. You could be owed unpaid wages. Contact our Unpaid Wage & Overtime Lawyers to discuss your situation 877-544-5323.

Contact Us Today 877-544-5323.

*Prior results to do not guarantee a similar outcome.

4.2 million workers are in a state of limbo thanks to a judge in Texas. The federal judge granted a preliminary injunction against new overtime rules that were set to effect millions beginning this month.

The new rules would require employers to pay overtime to those who work more than 40 hours in a week but earn less than $47,476 annually. It was seen as a win for anyone who has ever worked late but not been compensated for the additional time spent on the job.

The injunction doesn’t spell the end of the new overtime rules altogether. In the next 60 days, the preliminary injunction will lead to additional court hearings. During that time, President Obama can appeal the judge’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit Court. While the appeals court tends to oppose Obama’s administration, there is no telling how it will all shake out.

In the meantime, workers and employers are left in the lurch. These new overtime rules were set to go into effect December 1st of this month. Many employers had already alerted their employees to a change in their status as salaried employees. Some employees saw this change as a demotion.

We’ll be curious to see how all of this works out. The current rule – if an employee makes less than $23,600 annually, employers must pay them for the hours they work beyond 40 each week – was put in place in 2004. Since that time, our economy has obviously grown and changed. The sheer cost of living difference between 2004 and today means the $23,600 rate is extremely low.

No matter what the courts decide, we’ll be sure to keep you posted on the changing – or in this case, not changing – overtime rules.

Wage & Overtime Lawyers

If you are independent contractor, but your hours, work attire, pay, etc., are controlled by a client, you may be misclassified. The nature of your relationship with a client could deem you an employee, and as an employee you are eligible for benefits such as overtime pay. You could be owed unpaid wages. Contact our Unpaid Wage & Overtime Lawyers to discuss your situation 877-544-5323.

Contact Us Today 877-544-5323.

*Prior results to do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Virginia Unpaid Overtime Lawyer | Employment Law AttorneyNew rules from the Department of Labor go into effect on January 1st – but what does that mean for you?

If you make less than $47,476 annually, your employer will have to start paying you for time you spend at work beyond 40 hours a week. You’ll be considered an hourly employee, now, too. Employers looking to exploit loopholes in the system might promote you to $48k just before the rule goes into effect. But that threshold won’t stay at $47k for long. It will continue to rise every three years to keep up with rising costs of living.

This new rule comes as a win for anyone who has ever been required to stay late at work without receiving additional payment. If you make more than $47k, you’ll be paid time-and-a-half for any hours you put in beyond the required 40. This new rule will impact more than 4 million Americans.

Before you sign any new contracts re-negotiating your salary or hours, keep this new rule in mind. And if you haven’t heard about it from your boss, bring it up to make sure you’re being fairly compensated in the new year. Being your own self-advocate is the best way to be proactive.

Nearly half of all small business owners are unaware of the new rules. That could leave them scrambling in 2017. Employers are held liable for back payments of overtime, for up to six years. If you’re an entrepreneur yourself, read up on the new rules and make sure you’ve got a handle on them.

Not Being Fairly Compensated? Contact Us.

If you believe that your employer has violated the law or failed to properly pay you your wages, our Virginia Employment Attorneys are here to help. Contact us to setup a consultation to discuss your situation. Call toll free 877-544-5323.

If you’ve been curious to learn more about whistleblowers but have been too afraid to reach out for guidance, this is your guide.

 1.       Whistleblowing isn’t limited to one particular industry. Any time illegal activity takes place, workers can blow the whistle. That means healthcare fraud – like overbilling or improper coding – can be exposed. Government contractors, too, can sound the alarm. Whether you work in the private or the public sector, unethical behavior can be reported.
2.       The risks might seem to outweigh the benefits… Whistleblowers may face unfair, illegal retaliation for their actions. Even before an employee blows the whistle, managers may make threats to people thinking of sounding the alarm. Supervisors mistakenly believe they can scare their employees into silence. But termination, suspension and other common whistleblower consequences are all illegal.
3.       But the rewards will be worth while. The Whistleblower Reward Program, started by the SEC, offers a prize for those who sound the alarm. In 2016, an industry expert – someone outside of the company or government agency they reported – was awarded $700,000 in prize money for his actions. The U.S. government’s whistleblower programs make hundreds of rewards every year as an incentive to report illegal activity.
4.       Whistleblowers are protected by law. Congress passed the Whistleblower Protection Act in 1989, ensuring responsible, ethical employees are safe from retaliation from their superiors or colleagues. Unfortunately, illegal forms of retaliation like termination and hush money still occur all the time. This is when whistleblowers need help.
5.       Attorneys that specialize in whistleblower lawsuits can give you guidance and make sure you’re treated fairly. Those who are brave enough to reveal fraudulent or deceitful practices within their company should not be punished.  If you are aware of such practices within your company but have not come forward, you need guidance.  In both instances, you deserve the protection that the law affords you. Do not stand by and be bullied into silence by your company.

Whistleblower Protection Attorneys

Are you aware of illegal practices going on at your workplace, but are afraid of being retaliated against if you report them? Or maybe you have already reported illegal practices, and have been fired or demoted? If so, you may want to speak to an experienced whistleblower attorney.

There are federal laws in place that protect and reward whistleblowers that shed light on individuals or companies that are engaged in fraudulent activities. For more information visit our Whistleblower Protection page, or contact us to discuss your situation.

Fox News CEO Roger Ailes has resigned following allegations of sexual harassment from female employees. The executive made headlines this month as former network host Gretchen Carlson accused him of canceling her TV show when she refused to sleep with him. Since Carlson spoke up, other women have come forward with similar accounts of sexual harassment from Ailes. The allegations stretch back into the 1960s. Ailes has denied all of them.

21st Century Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch will take over for Ailes in the interim. Murdoch made a statement about Ailes’ contributions to the company, but made no mention of the allegations against him.

Nondisclosure Agreements Prevented Victims From Coming Forward

Some say the network was designed to keep sexual harassment accusations in the dark. Nondisclosure agreements often prevent victims from coming forward with their stories. It took Carlson’s bravery for these allegations to come to light so publicly. One voice can lead the way for many others who were similarly affected. After Carlson’s story broke, several others at Fox News – including popular anchor Megyn Kelly – said they, too had experienced harassment from Ailes.

Businesses Should Be Proactive

The resignation is a win for victims of workplace sexual harassment everywhere. After decades of alleged sexism, Ailes is finally resigning. As scandals like this one rock the media industry, more and more businesses will become proactive in ousting and disciplining employees who sexually harass colleagues. For many decades, sexual harassment was a part of the job many women faced routinely, never expecting a company to take their side or even be willing to hear their accusations. Men and women alike now see sexual harassment as the serious issue it is.

Virginia Sexual Harassment Lawyer

If you are the victim of sexual harassment, contact our employment lawyers to set up a free consultation 877-544-5323.

Sex for Career Boost; TV Host Files Lawsuit Against Fox CEO

Fox News anchorwoman Gretchen Carlson has a sexual harassment suit against 21st Century Fox’s chairman and CEO, Roger Ailes. The former Fox News Channel host says that throughout her time at the network, Ailes propositioned her. When she refused, Ailes allegedly retaliated by sabotaging Carlson’s career. Her popular show, The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, was canceled in June. Carlson says there is a direct connection between her refusal to sleep with Ailes and the cancellation of her show.

Beyond the propositioning, Carlson says she also faced problematic comments about her body from Ailes. He routinely complimented her outfits and the way they complemented her figure. He requested she turn around so he could view her from the back, the suit alleges.

It’s not just Ailes who targeted Carlson. Her co-host on Fox and Friends, Steve Doocy, also allegedly treated her in a sexist, condescending manner on a regular basis. Carlson’s lawsuit points out moments on live television when Doocy would put hands on her to get her to stop talking.

Ailes has called the lawsuit defamatory and denies any wrongdoing. 21st Century Fox has defended their CEO and announced an internal review of the claims against both Ailes and Doocy.

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

This high profile case highlights a common issue rarely voiced in the workplace: sexual harassment. Statistics show that one in four women will be harassed at work in some way. Whether it is outright harassment like inappropriate touching or more subversive, like a coworker creating a hostile work environment, sexual harassment occurs more frequently than most people realize. Even women in high-ranking, highly visible positions – like Carlson – are often put into uncomfortable, unethical scenarios by their colleagues and managers.

If you are the victim of sexual harassment, contact our lawyers to set up a free consultation 877-544-5323.

1. AGAINST THE LAW

It is ILLEGAL to harass or discriminate against a person because of the person’s sex. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sexual discrimination.

2. QUID PRO QUO

There are generally two types of sexual harassment in the workplace. In a quid pro quo sexual harassment situation, an employee is subjected to demands for sexual favors in exchange for some job benefit such as promises of promotion or the ability to keep their job. The employee will be in an inferior power position to the perpetrator.

3. HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT

The more common type of sexual harassment is a hostile work environment where the employee is subjected to various forms of unwanted or unwelcome sexual conduct which can include sexual advances, pornographic materials, sexually suggestive texts or e-mails, sexually graphic language, etc. The harasser can be the victim’s immediate supervisor, a supervisor in a different work location, a co-worker, and even a client or customer of the company.

4. DOES ALL OFFENSIVE CONDUCT CREATE A HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT?

No, conduct that is not severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile or abusive work environment will not be a violation of the law. Whether the work environment is a hostile place will be determined by looking at all of the circumstances including the severity and pervasiveness of the conduct.

5. DON’T SUFFER IN SILENCE

If you feel uncomfortable around someone, speaking to them about the situation may help to remedy the situation. They may not have realized that their actions or words were improper. If the person continues the improper conduct, you should begin to keep a log of the conduct and when it occurred. You may need this information later should it become necessary for you to file a complaint, charge of discrimination or lawsuit.

6. FOLLOW YOUR COMPANY’S COMPLAINT PROCESS

You don’t always have to report the sexual harassment to your boss. He or she may be the one who is sexually harassing you. Good employers will have established procedures for making a complaint. If your company has a complaint process, you should consider following it and keeping a record of your actions.

7. CONSULT AN EMPLOYMENT ATTORNEY

IF YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED WITH THE RESOLUTION OF YOUR COMPLAINT OR WANT ADVICE BEFORE YOU REGISTER A COMPLAINT, YOU SHOULD CONSIDER CONSULTING AN EMPLOYMENT ATTORNEY. An experienced employment attorney will review your matter with you and if the attorney feels that you have a valid claim, they can help you file a grievance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and/or with your company. Being a victim of sexual harassment can be very stressful. Having an experienced attorney help you through this process can help reduce the stress and provide you good guidance on how best to proceed.

We at the Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe are experienced employment attorneys. If you feel that you have been sexually harassed at your workplace, call us for a free consultation. We are here to help you