Staying Sensitive to Employee’s Rights

In economic hardship, people are desperate for jobs, both finding them and keeping them. Employees will endure much more than they should have to as long as they are employed at all. In times like these, employers can lose sight of what is legal and what is fair. Employees become willing to stretch their bounds of what is comfortable and acceptable if it means they get an upper hand over the next guy. This is not a fair position for a person to be in either in work or otherwise, and so I have put together some useful links to articles that describe some of the things of which employers should be sensitive.

Interview questions of a personal nature are off limits in the interview. It is important to be fair and be legal by keeping the questions professional. Yahoo Finance did an article detailing eight questions that employers are not supposed to ask prospective employees. Some of these questions involve matters regarding family, marital, and maternity status. That’s right, companies cannot discriminate against moms and pregnant women, and why should they? Moms are known masters of multitasking and, honestly, if we eliminated all the female workers in this country, what unemployment rates! For proof that it matters to many of the top companies in the nation, take a look at the 2010 Working Mothers 100 Best Places to Work 

Comp time is a fiercly tempting and seemingly reasonable and commonplace substitute for overtime. It is not, however, legal for most private companies. Do yourself a favor and read how the FLSA treats comp time, taking careful note of the employees who are suing Bank of America right now for failure to pay overtime. Bank of America substituted comp time for overtime hours and, like many of the customers I talk to every day, they even removed hours from employee’s timesheets to reflect under 40 hours a week. Now Bank of America faces a multi-million dollar lawsuit for their mistake.

Legalities are constantly in flux. Depending on what state you live in there are all sorts of obscure laws that might affect your business at some point. For example, the Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick passed a law mandating that employers inform employees any time negative information is documented in their personnel record. Illinois just passed a law prohibiting use of credit history checks as a factor for employment eligibility. All across the country in high disaster risk areas such as the coastal south and San Francisco, it is important to have a disaster plan to avoid certain legal ramifications of negligence in times of disasters like floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorism, etc.

HR news websites such as can keep you up to date with current labor related laws.

Other resources such as and are great places to search for common employee concerns.

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