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Employment Discrimination

Friday, June 9, 2017

Could You Have Been Rejected For a Job Due to Age Discrimination?


What is age discrimination and what are my right if I am discriminated against due to my age?

In today’s youth driven society, age discrimination is rampant.  Anyone who is over the age of 40 and hunting for a job should be aware of what constitutes age discrimination and what your legal rights may be if you become the victim of such discrimination. Our Atlanta employment discrimination lawyers at Pankey & Horlock, LLC discuss the complex subject of age discrimination below.
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Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Basics of Worker Misclassification


Employees have certain rights and protections. However, independent contractors have more control over their work and do not have the benefit of many employee protections. Employers sometimes deem workers as independent contractors instead of employees because it is cheaper for them to do so. Independent contractors are not subject to specific laws, including:

  • Protection under the Family Medical Leave Act
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Safe workplace requirements
  • Overtime compensation
  • Minimum wage and hour restrictions

Many of these benefits are expensive for the employer to maintain. To avoid these extra costs, some employers classify workers as independent contractors even though they should technically be considered employees.
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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Understanding Your Right to Vote During the Work Day


The 2016 Presidential election is fast upon us (in case you hadn’t heard), and the official day to cast in-person ballots is Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Historically, Election Day is always held on the first Tuesday in November, and as such falls squarely in the middle of the work week for most folks. If you are concerned as to how you will be able to find time to vote during the work day – particularly if your polling place is historically crowded with long wait times – the following details your rights with regard to being able to leave work to vote.


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Saturday, September 24, 2016

EEOC Settles Discrimination Claim with Georgia Baptist Church


What is being done about workplace harassment and discrimination?

The U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently settled allegations of employment discrimination and retaliation with an independent Baptist church in Douglasville, Georgia.

The case arose after an employee at the King's Way Christian School, operated by King's Way Baptist Church, complained to the school that she was being sexually harassed by the school's pastor and superintendent. Rather than addressing the kindergarten teacher's complaint, the school not only fired her, but also stated she allowed the harassment to occur.

"This case is a good reminder to employers that complaints of discrimination must be treated seriously," said Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, district director of EEOC's Atlanta District Office.


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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Don't Get Shortchanged: Wage and Hour Claims in Georgia


What are the common wage violations by employers? 

In Georgia, many individuals work hard to make a living and they are entitled to fair pay. Because the state has not enacted wage and hour laws, however, employers are required to pay the federal minimum wage and comply with other provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

What is the Fair Labor Standards Act?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law requiring employees to be paid a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and overtime pay for hours workers over 40 hours per week at a rate of time and a half.

Certain employees, however, such as executive, administrative and professionals, are exempt from the overtime requirement.


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Friday, April 15, 2016

Washington D.C. Bar Owner Liable For Employment Discrimination


Can you only hire people with certain physical characteristics to work in your establishment?

When opening a new establishment, it might be your vision that all of the staff conforms to a certain look. This perception, however can cause you a lot of trouble as a business owner.  Laws prohibiting employment discrimination prevent you from making hiring and firing decisions based on the physical characteristics of a potential or current employee. That includes the person’s race. A D.
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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Activist Push for Workplace Rights for LGBT

 Georgia is one of 29 states without laws that specifically protect LGBT citizens against discrimination in the workplace.  A gay couple could be married on a Saturday and fired on Monday because the couple’s employers are uncomfortable with their employee’s sexual orientation. In much of the state, this is perfectly legal behavior.

In the city of Atlanta, however, things are different. The Human Rights Campaign, a national advocacy organization that grades the inclusiveness of municipal governments, gave Atlanta a perfect score of 100 in 2013 and 2014, citing its nondiscrimination laws that include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity and its creation of LGBT community liaisons.

Activists intend to push for workplace rights for LGBT state employees during the 2016 legislative session, even though similar legislation has failed to pass in previous sessions. There is reason to suspect that this session might be different, however. There is a change in public opinion and the measure now has 77 cosponsors, 17 of whom are Republicans. Jeff Graham, the executive director of Georgia Equality, which supports the bill, says “if a bill does not have Republican support, it’s not going to pass.” The proposed bill would only affect State employees. Private employers would still be permitted to make employment decisions based on their employees sexual orientation.

Other members of the State legislature are reintroducing measures meant to protect business owners' religious freedom. State Senator Josh McKoon the proposed legislation would protect religious rights against government interference. Critics claim it will give business owners a license to discriminate against minorities. Last March, the bill created much controversy until it was tabled following a contentious hearing. This divisive issue is very much in flux in the state of Georgia.

If you feel that your workplace rights have been violated, you need an experienced attorney who is aware of the changes occurring in our state’s laws to help guide you through the process.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Churches & Anti-Retaliation Protections

How do anti-retaliation laws apply in the non-profit sector?

It ought to go without saying that an employer cannot discriminate against his or her employee for merely following the law. However, anti-retaliation laws have been yet again challenged in Georgia – and this time, it is the non-profit, tax-exempt sector seeking answers on this pivotal issue.

In a recent lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the petitioner is seeking damages and restitution following an alleged retaliatory decision by Atlanta’s King’s Way Baptist Church, Inc. According to the complaint, the petitioner was fired from her position as a kindergarten teacher within the church’s Christian school after reporting ongoing sexual harassment at the hands of the church’s lead pastor, who also serves as the chief executive officer of the non-profit corporation.

Allegedly, the pastor engaged in the ongoing practice of inappropriately touching the teacher, followed by veiled threats of adverse treatment if the interactions were reported. From there, the teacher reported the incidents to the church’s governing board, which opted to terminate her position rather than investigate the matter further.

In a statement by the EEOC’s Atlanta office, “[w]hen an employer fires an employee for complaining about sexual harassment, it is only compounding its own culpability and setting itself wide open for charges of retaliation….EEOC is stepping in to defend the rights of this discrimination victim not to be victimized even further. No one should be punished for telling the truth to power if that truth is sexual harassment.”

Pursuant to the lawsuit, the EEOC (on behalf of the teacher) is seeking back pay, punitive damages, and an injunction barring the school from engaging in further retaliatory acts against current or future employees. The lawsuit was filed after attempts to negotiate and settle the matter proved futile.

If you are experiencing workplace discrimination or would like to discuss your rights under state or federal anti-retaliation laws, please contact an experienced discrimination attorney toady!


Monday, December 21, 2015

Ban the Box Has Reached the Federal Government

Can a federal employer ask if you have ever been convicted of a crime?

For years, public and private employers have been permitted to ask potential employees whether they have a criminal record.  This is usually done by asking an applicant to check a box if they have ever been convicted of a crime.  Now, President Obama has banned the box.

When you are applying for a job you may be asked whether you have ever been convicted of a crime.  Why?  Because employers want to do everything they can to ensure that they are hiring a trustworthy individual.  This makes sense from an employer’s perspective, but it may not be in the best interest of a potential employee.    Serving time in jail or prison is supposed to be punitive as well as  rehabilitative.  This means that it should prepare the person to live a crime-free life.  Unfortunately, the stigma attached to being incarcerated is one that employer’s focus on and one that might lead to employment discrimination.

In fact,  65-70% of those who have been released from prison in the last year are unable to find work.  One study found that it is 50% less likely that an individual with a criminal record will land a job as opposed to a person without a criminal record.  Asking applicants to check a box if they have a criminal record enables employers to discriminate at the first juncture in the hiring process.  Removing the box will allow qualified applicants to be considered without their criminal record disqualifying them at the first opportunity.  This is not to say that employers will never be able to inquire about an applicant’s criminal record.  They just must do say at a later stage in the hiring process.

If you have a criminal record and are having a hard time finding a job, a discrimination attorney may be able to help you.

 


Friday, November 13, 2015

Churches and Anti-Retaliation Protections

How do anti-retaliation laws apply in the nonprofit sector?

It ought to go without saying that an employer cannot discriminate against his or her employee for merely following the law. However, anti-retaliation laws have been challenged yet again  in Georgia – and this time, it is the nonprofit, tax-exempt sector seeking answers on this pivotal issue.

In a recent lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the petitioner is seeking damages and restitution following an alleged retaliatory decision by Atlanta’s King’s Way Baptist Church, Inc. According to the complaint, the petitioner was fired from her position as a kindergarten teacher within the church’s Christian school after reporting ongoing sexual harassment at the hands of the church’s lead pastor, who also serves as the chief executive officer of the nonprofit corporation.

Allegedly, the pastor engaged in the ongoing practice of inappropriately touching the teacher, followed by veiled threats of adverse treatment if the interactions were reported. When the teacher reported the incidents to the church’s governing board, the board opted to terminate her position rather than investigate the matter further.

In a statement by the EEOC’s Atlanta office, “[w]hen an employer fires an employee for complaining about sexual harassment, it is only compounding its own culpability and setting itself wide open for charges of retaliation….EEOC is stepping in to defend the rights of this discrimination victim not to be victimized even further. No one should be punished for telling the truth to power if that truth is sexual harassment.”

Pursuant to the lawsuit, the EEOC (on behalf of the teacher) is seeking back pay, punitive damages, and an injunction barring the school from engaging in further retaliatory acts against current or future employees. The lawsuit was filed after attempts to negotiate and settle the matter proved futile.

If you are experiencing workplace discrimination or retaliation it is in your best interests to contact a reputable attorney who specializes in such matters


Monday, October 5, 2015

Video Series Highlighting LGBT Discrimination is Launched by Georgia Equality

Is it possible to be fired simply because of sexual orientation or gender identity in the state of Georgia?

In spite of the fact that the Supreme Court has affirmed the right of same gender couples to marry, there is still a long way to go to ensure that everyone in our society is treated fairly and afforded equal protection under the law. Evidence of this can be found in the new Georgia Equality video series entitled "All Things Being Equal." Documenting the ongoing struggle for LGBT Georgians who have suffered discrimination at the workplace, in housing, and in access to public services, the series makes a strong case for just how much work still needs to be done to overcome prejudice and discrimination, not only in Georgia, but in many other parts of the United States.

The programs will focus on stories of Georgians who have been discriminated against simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. According to Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, “Many people...assume that it’s already illegal to fire someone or deny them housing or other services simply because they’re LGBT, but that’s not true. Amazingly, in Georgia, as well as in 27 other states in the country, there are no laws protecting individuals from discrimination of this kind.

Because there are no federal laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination, and there are no pertinent state laws on the books in Georgia, discrimination remains a devastating problem for the LGBT portion of our communities. Law-abiding, hardworking Georgians are confronting issues of inequality every day, in many cases making it nearly impossible for them to feed, clothe, and house their families. 

The first video presented in the Georgia Equality video series focuses on Connie Galloway from Blue Ridge, Georgia.  This woman, a dedicated worker for more than 30 years at a firm providing mental health and disability support services, was abruptly fired just before Christmas because an interim director did not approve of her lesbianism. Connie's previously successful career at the organization, well-documented by promotions and commendations from supervisors and the board of directors, was totally disregarded.

Unfortunately, this is the reality of discrimination as it now exists in Georgia and many other parts of the country. Connie Galloway is just one example of an innocent victim of discrimination who has, after a period of long, stable, dedicated employment,  lost her financial stability and potential retirement for no other reason than her sexual orientation.

The dedicated attorneys at Pankey & Horlock are prepared to fight for you in cases of employment discrimination like the one detailed above. We  have a high rate of success in fighting for our clients' rights in cases involving discrimination, withholding of overtime pay and other employment violations. If you are facing mistreatment in the workplace anywhere in the state of Georgia,  please get in touch us at 770-670-6250.


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The attorneys of Pankey & Horlock, LLC serve the entire state of Georgia, including Atlanta, Alpharetta, Auburn, Decatur, Doraville, Douglasville, Duluth, Kennesaw, Lawrenceville, Marietta, Stone Mountain, Dekalb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, and Cobb County, GA.



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