labor law

sexual harassment

Offensive and unwelcome sexual conduct that is so severe or pervasive that it affects the terms and conditions of the victim's employment, either because the victim's submission or failure to submit to the behavior is the basis for job-related decisions (like firing or demotion) or because the victim reasonably finds the workplace abusive or hostile as a result of the harassment.

severance pay

Money paid to an employee who is laid off, fired or leaves by mutual agreement. Employers are not generally required to offer severance pay, although a few states require some severance pay for employees who lose their job in a plant closing or large layoff. Employers may also be obligated to provide severance pay if they promised to do so in an employment contract or employee handbook.

serious health condition

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), eligible employees may take leave for their own serious health condition or to care for a family member with a serious health condition. A serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves (1) inpatient care; (2) incapacity for more than three full days with continuing treatment by a health care provider; (3) incapacity due to pregnancy or prenatal care; (4) incapacity due to, or treatment for, a chronic serious health condition; (5) permanent or long-term incapacity for a condition for which treatment may not be effective, such as a terminal illness; or (6) absence for multiple treatments for either restorative surgery following an injury or accident, or a condition that would require an absence of more than three days if not treated.

retaliation

Punishment of an employee by an employer for engaging in legally protected activity such as making a complaint of harassment or participating in workplace investigations. Retaliation can include any negative job action, such as demotion, discipline, firing, salary reduction, or job or shift reassignment.

reasonable accommodation

Any adjustment to a work environment or job that allows a qualified worker to perform the job in question. Employers subject to federal employment laws must offer reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities (for example, providing a TDD telephone to an employee with a hearing impairment) or based on religious beliefs (such as not assigning an employee to a shift on his Sabbath), as long as those accommodations do not create an undue burden for the employer.

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