How Covid-19 is Impacting Labor and Employee Laws

How Covid-19 is Impacting Labor and Employee Laws

Things are changing and a new norm is being created after the pandemic. Covid-19 has impacted all aspects of our lives, but how is it impacting places of employment and employment labor laws in Arizona? 

Just recently, Maricopa County announced that masks are mandatory in public. This includes where you work. Some companies already made it mandatory, but for the time being, now everyone in the county must comply. 

Some places are even limiting the number of people allowed in an establishment and making clear marks of social distancing. 

Working During a Pandemic

Some people do not feel comfortable returning back to work just yet. So, then what?

Well, the employer actually has leverage when requiring employees to return to the actual workplace. 

If the worker refuses, the employer can either offer to separate the worker from the public and other employees, lay off the worker, or find a replacement for the worker. 

However, keep in mind that federal law does require the need to provide a safe workplace for all employees, especially right now. 

There are some fine lines that employers need to be aware of. Allowing certain employees to continue to work at home because they have compromised immune systems and requiring others to return to a workplace is actually looked down on according to federal law. This is because you cannot decide who is allowed to return back to work based on disabilities, only using seniority and disciplinary history.

State of Arizona

In the state of Arizona, if you resign voluntarily, you usually can’t receive unemployment. But what happens if you feel unsafe to return to work? That is a different story. 

If you can provide real proof of unsafe conditions at your workplace, you could receive compensation and be justified for leaving your job. Before doing so, always talk with the Department of Economic Security to address all of our concerns and report any safety concerns to OSHA. 

Talk With an Employment Law Attorney

If you are unsure about your rights during a pandemic, as an employer or an employee, it is always best to talk with an experienced employment law attorney. They will be able to walk you through everything to ensure all of your questions are being answered, even during the pandemic. 

We specialize in employment law at Hernandez Law Firm and can provide you the advice you need to fully understand your rights during these times.

Do Service Animals Have a Place in the Workplace?

Do Service Animals Have a Place in the Workplace?

Over the last few years, service animals have been a hot topic. From allowing them into grocery stores to permitting them to fly on an airplane. But where do service animals stand in the workplace?

Every year on June 26th, Americans celebrate taking your dog to work day, but what about every other day of the year?

Service Animals

The Americans with Disabilities Acts defines a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for those with a disability, such as a physical sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. 

It is important for service animals to be licensed and to always provide the proper documentation establishing the need for a service animal. Penalties and violations for a first-time offense can be up to $75,000 for those with a “fake” service animal. 

Service Animals in the Public

There are of course concerns about service animals in the workplace when it comes to other employees, such as those who may suffer from allergies.

However, there is a way to accommodate everyone:

  • Allow employees to work in other areas
  • Establish different travel paths for employees
  • Use portable air purifiers
  • Allow employees to work from home
  • Offer a flexible schedule to employees
  • Deep clean work areas 

Keep in mind that at the end of the day, it is the right of the employee to bring their service animal to work. 

Before any final decisions on how to handle service animals in the workplace, make sure to speak with your human resources department and consult with an attorney. 

Talking with an Attorney

Before taking any action, as an employee or an employer, it is best to talk with an experienced employment law attorney to know your rights. They will be able to walk you through everything to ensure everyone’s rights are being met. At Hernandez Law Firm, we specialize in employment law and can provide the advice you need to fully understand your rights as well as evaluate each case carefully. 

What is the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Harassment Claims in Arizona?

What is the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Harassment Claims in Arizona?

Sexual harassment is not easy to deal with. It can leave you scared, ashamed, and confused. You may need time to process everything that has happened, but you also need to remember that because of the statute of limitations, you only have a certain amount of time to report the incident and file a sexual harassment claim.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Unfortunately, sexual harassment in the workplace is not uncommon. Sexual harassment includes any unwelcome sexual advances, special requests for sexual favors, verbal sexual conduct, or physical conduct. These advances usually happen more than once and sometimes continue even after being told to stop. 

What is the Statute of Limitations? 

Statute of limitations is defined by Legalmatch.com as a restricted amount of time a victim has to come forward with a sexual abuse claim. There are some plans in the works to extend the current statute of limitation laws. But as of now, each state has its own time frame. 

In the state of Arizona, the victim of sexual harassment has 300 days from the alleged incident to file a charge against an employer to the Civil Rights Division. If you are looking to file to the Attorney General, you have 180 days from the date of the incident to do this. 

Steps to Filing a Sexual Harassment Claim

The first thing to do when experiencing sexual harassment is to report it right away to the person in charge at work. You should also report it to the police right away so a police report can be filed. All claims should be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated. 

After reporting the incident, seek legal advice and representation from an experienced lawyer. Your lawyer will be able to handle your case from collecting evidence to dealing with the accuser’s legal team. This way, you can focus on getting back to your life. 

How Workplaces Can Prevent Sexual Harassment

Every employer should have a sexual harassment plan in place. This means they should train their staff to identify and even prevent sexual harassment from occurring. A policy should always be in place and all employees should be responsible for following these guidelines. 

Working with Hernandez Law Firm

The legal team at Hernandez Law Firm understands how stressful a sexual harassment claim can be. At Hernandez Law Firm, we specialize in employment law and can help you deal with working in a hostile environment. We can provide the advice you need to fully understand your rights as well as evaluate the case and aggressively fight for you. 

What is the Difference Between Retaliation and Unfair Treatment?

What is the Difference Between Retaliation and Unfair Treatment?

It can be confusing, but when being treated unfairly at work, it could actually be considered retaliation. Either way, you could have some sort of claim on your hands. Before moving forward with any legal action, speak with an attorney and learn the difference between retaliation and unfair treatment. 

Did you know that retaliation in the workplace is actually very common? The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission receives plenty of complaints each year. 

The EEOC’s official definition states that retaliation in a work setting comprises a narrower set of circumstances than what is considered everyday retaliation. Three things must be present for a valid retaliation claim as stated in the Civil Rights Acts of 1964:

  • You have engaged in protected activity
  • Your employer took adverse action against you
  • Your employer did this because you engaged in protected activity

 Those who have filed a discrimination in the workplace claim are always encouraged to do so and should be protected from fear of being fired or punished for doing so. A retaliation reaction to filing a claim could be in the form of being denied a promotion, denied job benefits, a demotion, a suspension, or even a discharge from your job. 

To move forward with a retaliation claim, you must provide evidence. Keep in mind that direct evidence can be very hard to find, but with the right attorney, like the skilled team at Hernandez Law, they will be able to prove it. 

Unfair treatment in the workplace is when you have either been denied a promotion, denied job benefits, a demotion, a suspension, or even a discharge from your job for no reason and before filing any workplace discrimination claims. When this happens, you should always speak with an attorney to know your rights. 

Steps to Take If You Work in a Hostile Environment

Steps to Take If You Work in a Hostile Environment

Working in a hostile environment can be harmful and can really impact your job performance as well as your health. If you feel you are working in a hostile environment, it is vital to be aware of what you can do to improve the situation.

What is Considered a Hostile Work Environment?

The definition of a hostile work environment is unwelcome comments or conduct related to gender, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, age or nationality that interfere with the work of employees which create an intimidating workplace. These comments or actions can be done by a vendor, client, manager or coworker.

Laws Surrounding Hostile Workplaces

It is unlawful to conduct a hostile, abusive or intimidating workplace, especially in cases where salary and status of an employee may be impacted. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces laws surrounding hostile work environments.

If you are working in a hostile environment, you will need to file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This can be done through the mail, in person, or via telephone. Keep in mind that you must file this within 180 days of the incident.

You will also need to report to the proper person at your place of employment and let them know what you are experiencing and that you have filed a charge of discrimination.

Talking With an Employment Law Attorney

Before taking any action, it is best to talk with an experienced employment law attorney to know your rights. They will be able to walk you through everything to ensure your rights are taken into consideration. At Hernandez Law Firm, we specialize in employment law and can help you deal with working in a hostile environment. We can provide the advice you need to fully understand your rights as well as evaluate the case and aggressively fight for you.