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Common blunders that may lead to employee claims

As a business owner, you like to run a tight ship. However, you also understand that you still have a lot to learn as far as dealing with employee relations and all the rules and regulations that govern your business.

You worked hard to get this far, and you do not want to watch it all go up in smoke over employee relation problems. It is a good idea to step back and evaluate the practices and procedures you have in place that you may need to revisit. Steer clear of some of the most common missteps small business owners make that lead to employment law troubles.

California laws on the distribution of tips

For many employees in California, tipping is how they make most of their money. Tipping has come under a lot of scrutiny in recent years, so much so that some restaurants have done away with it entirely. One Los Angeles restaurant did precisely this by simply increasing the price of food. 

For now, tipping is still the common way restaurants operate. It is vital for employees to receive all the tips they have earned over the course of a shift, so workers and employers alike should understand how this payment should work. Any violation of California law should come to the attention of the employer immediately. In some cases, litigation may be necessary.

When does a bad job become a hostile work environment?

Like most of your neighbors in Newport Beach, you spend a significant amount of time at work. While most jobs have both positive and negative aspects, you do not want to be miserable. Unfortunately, though, according to a recent study, as many as 20% of U.S. employees work in a hostile environment. 

As you may suspect, not every uncomfortable situation in the workplace constitutes a hostile work environment. On the contrary, for working conditions to turn into a hostile work environment, they must meet specific legal requirements. Here are some questions you should consider in deciding whether your job site is a hostile work environment.

Can your employer ask about your citizenship status?

Looking for a new job can be stressful. After all, if you have to go without employment for even a couple of weeks, you may not be able to pay your bills. Still, when interviewing for a new position, you should be able to trust a potential employer to follow the law. Demanding proof of your citizenship status may be going too far. 

The Immigration and Nationality Act requires employers to verify the identity and work eligibility of all new hires. To do this, employers must review documentation and complete Form I-9. Some employers may also confirm work authorization through the federal government’s E-Verify program. Employers in the United States may not, however, use the employment-eligibility verification process to discriminate against applicants or existing employees

How to recognize age discrimination when looking for a job

The stereotypical situation involving any kind of employment discrimination happens at work, but did you know it can also occur even before a company hires you? You can face discrimination during the job-hunting process, from reading about positions to interviewing for one.

Sometimes, it is obvious when a potential employer discriminates based on your race, religion or gender identity. However, one area that is harder to recognize during this stage is age discrimination. Knowing what to look for can help you avoid working at a discriminatory place and know when you may have a lawsuit.

The adult bully in the workplace

Lately, topics on school bullying are gaining the recognition and concern needed to prevent America's youth from developing mental and perhaps physical damage. For many of these young people, leaving junior high or graduating from high school is a relief.

The relief may be short-lived. Bullying is alive and well in the adult workplace. World Mental Health Day's 2017 theme focused on workers and mental health. Sometimes, the difference between a playground bully and a breakroom bully is not significant. Their victims know something is wrong, but they may not be able to prove it.

Considering a divorce after the holidays? You’re not alone

The holiday season is often stressful for most people in California and elsewhere. Not only do you have to deal with the shopping crowds and a house full of kids home on winter break, but your marriage might also be strained. This is a normal occurrence for many spouses, but you might also feel like you can’t handle being married another year. You may even be considering filing for divorce as soon as the festivities are over.

As Business Insider explains, divorce season begins right after people ring in the new year. People begin filing for divorce in January, and finalized divorces peak throughout February and March. Why is this, you might wonder? Any of the following examples might apply:

  • The stress of the holidays might break an already unhappy marriage.
  • Spouses want to keep it together one final Christmas for the sake of the children and other family members.
  • Finalizing a divorce at the beginning of the year makes sense for tax purposes.
  • The start of the new year can signal new beginnings.

What couples should know about divorce mediation

The divorce process can be difficult for everyone involved, especially when there are issues the couple does not agree about. Divorce mediation is becoming an increasingly popular way to tackle disputes without resorting to full-scale litigation.

Understanding the basics of the mediation process can help a couple figure out whether this path is right for their situation.

Did a recruiter ask about your disability in an interview?

Let us say that you have a hearing impairment and you applied for a job in IT for a computer software developer. The recruiter asked questions about your hearing loss after noticing that you wear a hearing aid, and the interview deteriorated after that.

Is this an example of disability discrimination?

Pregnancy disabling conditions should be accommodated as much as a other disabling conditions

If you're pregnant and working, you may need your employer to make a few changes to accommodate a disabling condition related to pregnancy. You might need a restriction on the amount of weight you're expected to lift. You may need a temporary transfer to a position that is less physically challenging. Perhaps your doctor recommends a shorter work day or additional breaks. Maybe all you need is a place to sit down every once in a while.

Unfortunately, some employers simply don't provide these accommodations, even when restrictions are ordered by a doctor. This is even true at some companies where the same or similar accommodations are routinely approved for people with disabilities. When some people are given accommodations but others are not, the company could be guilty of discrimination.

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