February 2018 Archives

Drowsy driving is a serious risk for everyone on the road

When you think about the major causes of vehicle crashes, you can probably already name two of the three biggest risk factors. Most people who drive understand that intoxicated driving is dangerous, whether the substance involved is alcohol, a street drug, cold medicine or prescribed drugs from a doctor. Thanks to increased public awareness in recent years, more people now understand that distractions on the road can also lead to injury or death.

Lawmakers look at sexual harassment in Tennessee music industry

Two state legislators have put forward a bill that would extend protection from sexual harassment to independent contractors. Scandals emerging from the state's music industry prompted them to take action to help members of the workplace who fall through loopholes in employment law because they are contractors instead of employees. Current law only allows contract laborers to file complaints about sexual harassment if their contract specifically addresses the topic. Without legal protection, a contractor could risk a career to come forward with an allegation against an employer.

Most workplace sexual harassment goes unreported

Most employers in Tennessee and around the country have procedures in place that allow workers to report sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior, but a study from the Society of Human Resources Management suggests that they are rarely used. According to SHRM, incidents involving sexual harassment are only reported by victims or witnesses about 25 percent of the time. The study also revealed that workers are often unaware that their employers have reporting procedures in place.

Lawmakers pass bill to address sexual harassment in Congress

Media outlets in Tennessee and around the country have covered several stories concerning lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle who have been accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. The rules dealing with the way these allegations are handled have been criticized for lacking transparency and being unfairly harsh on victims, and the House of Representatives addressed these concerns on Feb. 6 by overwhelmingly passing legislation that would reform them.

Retalition is most common EEOC complaint

The number of Tennessee residents filing employment claims for civil rights violations dropped in 2017 according to the federal agency in charge of enforcing laws against workplace discrimination. Numbers from the Equal Employment Opportunity Agency, or EEOC, show that 2,640 Volunteer State claims were filed in fiscal year 2017, which ended in September. That number is down from prior years and tracks national numbers, which also declined in volume across the board. The agency reports having helped recover $398 million for claimants in 2017, which is $84 million less than in 2016.

Harassment allegations at Monster

An executive at Monster Energy has resigned amid allegations of an abusive and discriminatory 'guys club" culture at the company. At the center of the allegations are separate lawsuits filed by five female employees detailing a series of allegations which, if proven, would indicate violations of federal civil rights laws. Workers in Tennessee are often subjected to similar behaviors.

How employers should treat pregnant workers

If an employee is pregnant or has just given birth, an employer may not use that as the basis for a hiring or employment decision. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act covers workers in Tennessee and around the country, and a violation of the PDA is considered sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The overall takeaway is that pregnant workers must be treated in a similar manner to others who are dealing with health issues.

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