The pandemic has brought on many changes in the workplace. So, it is a good time to revisit wage and hour policies during these uncertain times.
Running a business can be tough, especially during these tough times. However, a business owner needs to always be in the know and keep up with new policies. They also need to adapt and make any changes needed to keep up with the new circumstances. Remember, always look to better your business and keep the best interest of your employees in mind.
Since telecommuting has become more popular, more employees working from home means policies need to be updated. These policies need to describe these changes and set new telecommute policies and boundaries in place.
Keeping Track of Time Worked
Even though employees are working at home, punch clocks and other protocols need to be enforced. It can be difficult to manage hours worked, any overtime worked, and any breaks taken. Luckily, you can easily amend these policies to better fit the current telecommunication circumstances.
How can you achieve this? By setting schedules, using timekeeping management, and establishing clear work hours. The key is to be consistent with these new policies and communicating them to your employees.
Make sure to set clear expectations of responsiveness and availability to avoid any conflicts. Changes may need to be made as things continue, but you can still roll with the punches for an efficient workday.
Help Employees Avoid Distractions
It may seem strict, but setting schedules and making sure that work is actually done on the clock and not off the clock, might be needed for some employees.
Employees face many additional distractions when working from home. This can make it difficult for them to manage their time. Help them eliminate distractions and stay on track by sticking to a strict schedule.
To help keep track of things even more, always require approval for overtime work since this is very hard to manage remotely, especially for hourly workers.
Of course, you want to encourage employees to document everything accurately. This is when you might want to invest in management software to help keep track of projects, deadlines, and hours… all in one place. Have questions regarding current labor laws or employee wage policies? The team at Hernandez Law can help point you in the right direction.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.