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Pittsburgh Employment Law Blog

Responding to EEOC complaints

When a complaint is made to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against your company, you will need to defend against that charge. You will receive notification within 10 days of the complaint being made. Remember that this is nothing more than notification that there are allegations against you. It doesn't mean that you have been found guilty, so you should start to find ways to defend against the accusations.

Once the EEOC has the complaint, they will determine how it can be resolved. You will be notified by the EEOC if the case is eligible for resolution through mediation or a settlement. These two methods are both fully voluntary.

Employers can't just take tips from tipped employees

Tipped employees count on the generosity of others to make ends meet. Unfortunately, not all of the tips these hard-earned workers make will go to them in all cases. If the workers are paid minimum wage, they might be forced to share their tips with others. This isn't a good thing for the most part because they have worked hard for those tips.

In some cases, customers don't know that the tips they give are having to be shared between employees. This comes as a shock because they think that they are taking care of the person who cared for them. It is difficult to find a good balance in tipping well and trying to show displeasure about the tip pools.

A complete review of litiguous claims against your company

Business owners hope that they will never have to deal with legal issues because of their company, but there are times when you simply can't avoid litigation. When this happens, you have to ensure that you know what your options are and how they will impact your business. You can't go into these situations thinking that you have the best answer because there might be options that you realize will work better once you start looking into things a bit more. We know that business owners in this position are likely ready to find out what is possible. We are here to help.

When we are looking into a business litigation matter, we want to know all we can about the claims that were made. From there, we need to start exploring those claims so we can find out where we can poke holes in the claims. This isn't always easy, but business owners who have good record keeping will usually have to deal with a bit less stress than those who don't.

Reasonable accommodations: A requirement in the workplace

Employers have to be sure that they are in compliance with various laws as they go about their normal work activities. One of the things they need to do is to ensure that they are providing reasonable accommodations to workers who have disabilities. The standard for this is set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but the terms of the accommodations vary from one situation to another.

In order to be a reasonable accommodation, it can't place any undue hardship on the business. This means that it can't cost a large sum in relation to the business' income. It also can't create a direct threat to the business.

Compliance with disability accommodations are important

Businesses must ensure that they are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This might not always be an easy feat, but doing this can help you to prevent lawsuits and other negative actions against your company. You might think that your small business might not ever come into contact with a person who will ask that you comply with the ADA; however, around 20 percent of the adults in this country have a disability.

The ADA is divided into different titles that dictate what is expected. Title I and Title III are the most common sections of the ADA that apply to small businesses. If your company has at least 15 employees, Title I applies to you. If you provide services or good to the public, Title III applies to your company.

Employee leave polices must be in line with applicable laws

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) sets specific requirements for employees who need to take time off of work to deal with a serious medical issue or specific family events. If your employees come to you with an FMLA request, you must ensure that you handle the situation appropriately so that you don't face any litigation because of those actions.

We understand that this is a complex law, but we are here to work with you to ensure that your policies are set in a proactive manner. We can also help you address any FMLA-related litigation quickly.

Pittsburgh offers special protections for pregnant women

Employers in Pittsburgh have to ensure that they are complying with federal and state labor laws, but they also have one more level of laws to consider. They must comply with city codes that provide some protections for specific workers. One group of individuals who have special protections is pregnant women.

The Pittsburgh passed an ordinance unanimously that place some requirements on private employers. It is modeled after several federal acts, but it is one of the first cities to include city ordinances in these protections. Before the implementation of the new ordinance, the city's code already forbade employers who have at least five employees from discriminating against pregnant women, but city officials didn't feel this was good enough for mothers-to-be.

Ministries aren't usually exempt from overtime laws

There is a fine line drawn between businesses and ministries. When it comes to employee pay and compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), churches and ministries must be especially careful because of the nuances in the law that mean that certain things apply to the ministries and others might not.

One of the consistent aspects of the FLSA is overtime. Ministries of all sorts that have paid employees are required to pay overtime to employees who meet specific requirements. First, the person must not be an exempt employee. Second, the employee must work at least 40 hours per week. If both of those requirements are met, the employee is due 1.5 times their regular hourly wage.

Documentation and training can help protect your business

Employers have to protect their workers and their company. This can sometimes be a difficult line to walk because what is best for the company might not be best for the workers, and what is best for the workers might not be best for the business. When either of these occur, you have to make decisions based on the current facts. If there are negative employment factors that are coming into the picture, you have to be prepared to protect the business from claims that you violated employment laws.

One of the most important things that you can do is to document everything related to employees. Try to think about what points a disgruntled employee might make against your company. Take steps to ensure that there aren't any factors that the employee can use to make a case. Being able to show your side of what happened can help greatly.

How to prevent claims of retaliation

As an employer, you want to avoid as many employee claims as possible. You may be taking steps to prevent claims about harassment, but what about retaliation? According to the EEOC, retaliation is the most common basis for claims of discrimination in federal jobs.

Due to the fact that retaliation is the reason many employees file claims against their employers, it is in your best interest to avoid retaliating against your employees. First, you must fully understand what constitutes retaliation under the law.

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