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Workers prioritize jobs over filing sexual harassment suits

Despite discrimination laws prohibiting workplace sexual harassment, it remains a widespread problem in Maryland and across the country. The employment and education vice president at the National Women's Law Center testified in January to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that a majority of such cases are never reported because the victims are more worried about possible retaliation or losing their jobs if they file complaints. One out of every four female workers is a sexual harassment victim, and the problem is pervasive in a range of jobs, o ften within male-dominated industries. One workplace discrimination attorney says that many employees are afraid of reprisal if they complain, such as whether they could find another job, particularly if their jobs are in certain industries. Another employment attorney notes that the best sexual harassment cases are those with enough evidence, facts and histories of previous harassment, and the companies and victims often…

Dealing with workplace harassment and discrimination

Maryland employers that are designing policies around harassment and discrimination may wish to inform employees about the best way to report such behavior. For example, employees should know that it is crucial to document any harassment or discrimination in as much detail as possible. This may include gathering material such as emails and voicemail. Individuals should be encouraged to turn over all the evidence they have despite discomfort about bringing witnesses into the case. Although gathering evidence to back the claims is important, individuals should not delay reporting the harassment. Doing so might appear to minimize the incidents. Furthermore, witnesses may leave the company and records may disappear as email is deleted off the server. While it is necessary to report the harassment in a timely manner, individuals should understand an investigation may take time. Furthermore, individuals should not get too attached to the idea of one particular outcome, such…

The options that employees have when their rights are violated

There are several laws in place to protect the civil rights of employees. For example, workers cannot be overlooked for promotion because of their gender, race or religion. When the protected rights of Maryland workers are violated, they have a few options to initiate an employment dispute. One of these options is informal negotiations between the employee and employer, rather than going through a court battle. The optimum result is that the employer consents to compensate the worker, while the employee consents to dismiss the right to take legal action. However, this is not always the result. When informal negotiations do not work in an employment dispute, the worker has the option to submit a complaint to the state or federal government. This allows the government to launch an investigation into the violation of the employee's civil rights. Depending on what the investigation uncovers, the government could take further legal…

UFC faces antitrust lawsuits

Residents of Maryland who enjoy mixed martial arts may be interested to learn that the Ultimate Fighting Championship, a major organization that specializes in the sport, was targeted with three separate antitrust lawsuits in December. The actions were filed against UFC on Dec. 16, Dec. 22 and Dec. 24 by a total of seven individual plaintiffs who claim the organization illegally hampered competition. Some of the plaintiffs are MMA fighters or participated in the sport in the past. Commentators say the UFC hired a New York-based law firm to fight back against the allegations; this firm has participated in a number of high-profile antitrust cases, including Bush vs. Gore, United States vs. Microsoft and a dispute between the NFL Players Association and the NFL. According to a representative, the UFC simply served the needs of consumers and sports fans as it created its business, and the organization believes its current…

Enforcement of the ADA in Maryland

Employers in Maryland are required by federal law to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The law allows employers to offer reasonable accommodations to employees who have a disability. Providing reasonable accommodations protects employers against employment litigation while also maintaining the civil rights of anyone with a disability. The law does provide exceptions for undue hardships regarding an employer's legal obligations to provide accommodations. Under the federal employment law, a reasonable accommodation may include a change in the physical work environment or in the way that the workplace usually does things in order for an applicant or employee to function in the workplace. The three levels of reasonable accommodation include modifications to the job application process, modifications to the work environment and provision of equal benefits and privileges as employees without disabilities. Examples of what a reasonable accommodation could include are modification of work schedules and enhancing facilities access,…