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My Boss Says...

Steps for filing a flood insurance claim

Standard homeowner or renter's insurance does not cover flooding losses. Flood insurance is a different policy offered through the National Flood Insurance Program, but private insurance companies handle selling the policies to consumers and businesses.

According to FloodSmart.gov, NFIP's official website, those who have flood insurance and sustained damage can file a claim by following these steps:

Getting Financial Assistance after the Flood

The extent of damages created by Louisiana's August 2016 flood event boggles the mind. Five days into the event as flood waters were still making their way south, an estimated 40,000 homes and businesses were already flooded and more than 8,000 people were in shelters because they had nowhere else to go.

The financial losses that these affected businesses and individuals experience will be huge. While some who sustained damages had flood insurance, many did not because some of the areas had not flooded before. But because many of the flood-affected parishes are now federally designated disaster areas, other financial assistance may be available to those without flood insurance coverage.

MY BOSS SAYS . . . he's firing me because of something I posted on Facebook.

Employees are sometimes fired because of statements and opinions they have posted on social media. Often I receive questions about whether such terminations violate the First Amendment to the Constitution which protects the right to free speech from government restriction. However, private employers are not the government, and the First Amendment does not necessarily protect employees of private companies when those companies fire them for what they say. 

MY BOSS SAYS . . . I haven't worked long enough to get FMLA leave. What are the rules?

Sometimes a serious health condition comes up and employees need to take off from work to deal with their own condition or that of a parent, spouse, or child. The Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") was enacted to protect employees in this situation. Under the FMLA, employers must provide 12 unpaid weeks of leave per year to qualified employees. While an employee is taking that leave, the employer must protect the employee's job and must continue his or her health insurance. But certain rules apply - not every employee is protected by the FMLA.

MY BOSS SAYS . . . I'll be eligible for overtime at the end of the year due to new rules. What do the new rules say?

The Department of Labor has issued its final rule updating overtime regulations, which will automatically extend overtime pay protections to over 4 million workers within the first year of implementation.

MY BOSS SAYS . . . I need to keep quiet about the environmental violations I've seen at work or I'll be fired.

Under state law in Louisiana, employees are protected from retaliation for disclosing or threatening to disclose environmental violations to a supervisor or a public body (such as the Department of Environmental Quality or other state or federal agency). The law also provides protection to employees who provide information to or testify before a public body that is conducting an investigation. Environmental whistleblowers are protected whether the environmental violator is their employer or another business with whom their employer has a business relationship.

MY BOSS SAYS . . . he's terminating me because of the quality of my work, but my work has always been excellent. I think he's discriminating against me because of my age.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") prohibits age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older. If you are under 40, the ADEA does not protect you. The ADEA only applies to employers with 20 or more employees.

Under the ADEA, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.

MY BOSS SAYS . . .she can demote me, but I think she's retaliating against me.

"Retaliation" has a very specific meaning in employment law. The laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, sex, religion, national origin, age and disability also make it illegal to retaliate against individuals who oppose unlawful discrimination or participate in an employment proceeding. If you have complained to your employer about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") or the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights, participated in a discrimination proceeding (as a witness for example) or otherwise opposed discrimination, your employer cannot retaliate against you.

In addition, the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") protects individuals from coercion, intimidation, threat, harassment, or interference in their exercise of their own rights or their encouragement of someone else's exercise of rights granted by the ADA. The Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") also prohibits retaliation against employees for taking leave under the FMLA, opposing employment practices that violate the FMLA, or testifying or giving information with regard to an FMLA violation.

So what is retaliation, exactly? 

MY BOSS SAYS . . . she won't do anything about the way I'm treated in the workplace because I work as a temp for a staffing agency.

These days things can be complicated in the workplace, even in terms of who exactly your employer is. Many employees work for staffing or "temp" agencies and are assigned to work in companies for supervisors who have a different employer.

Let me give you a hypothetical employment situation involving "Sally," a fictional staffing agency employee. Let's say Sally works for ABC Staffing Agency, and she is sent to perform data entry services on the computer system of XYZ Corporation. Sally happens to have high blood pressure, which is considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Part 2: MY BOSS SAYS . . . he's firing me and it's for something I didn't do. Do I have a wrongful termination case?

Last week, I discussed what is not a wrongful termination.  Essentially, your employer can have no good reason or even an unfair or mistaken reason for firing you.  Your employer, however, cannot fire you for an illegal reason.

Some examples of illegal reasons for termination include, but are not limited to, firing you because of: