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Baton Rouge Employment Law Blog

You should be respectfully treated during your termination

If you have just received word that you are being terminated from your job, you are probably feeling all kinds of emotions. You may be confused, anxious and frustrated at the prospect of having to find new employment. At Robert B. Landry III, PLC, we have helped many people in Louisiana who have been wrongfully terminated from their job. 

You should never hear that you are being terminated from anyone other than your superior. If you begin hearing rumors through the grapevine, your employer is doing a lackluster job at protecting your wellbeing and keeping details of your employment private. According to Forbes Magazine, if you have previously received a performance evaluation where you were given criticism or recommendations for performance improvement, your termination should address these issues with an apparent reason for your employer's decision to let you go. 

#MeToo may increase harassment reports

People who live and work in Louisiana have no doubt been aware of the dramatic surge in media reports and public demonstrations surrounding allegations of sexual misconduct in the past year. The initiation of the #MeToo movement seems to have brought about a change in the cultural mindset and made more people willing to come forward with stories of their experiences than in the past.

Harassment at work can happen in any industry. As reported recently by WBRZ, four-year universities in the state of Louisiana have noticed a jump in the number of reports made about potential sexual assault, abuse or harassment. One woman who is said to have worked at Southern University for four decades recently filed a complaint against a coworker saying that the man attempted to kiss and touch her against her wishes. Following an investigation, the university indicates action was taken although details of that action remain unknown.

Detailing Louisiana's whistleblower protections

Many from Baton Rouge have come to members of our team here at Robert B. Landry III, PLC wrestling with the issue of whether or not they should report statutory and/or regulatory violations made by their employers. If you have witnessed such actions, your loyalty to your employer and the gratitude you feel for all it has done for you and your family may be what is holding you back. Yet if you are like most, your reluctance has more to do with the fear that you may be retaliated against if you come forward. 

Fortunately, the law protects you in such a scenario. Section 42-1169 of Louisiana's Revised Statutes says that it is unlawful for you to be targeted for disciplinary action by your employer (when you are a public employee) in response to you reporting a violation of the law or any other improprieties it may have committed. If you are fired, suspended or see your workflow reduced in retaliation, this law mandates that you be reinstated to your previous position and be compensated for any lost wages or benefits you may have missed. This statute also extends to contracted employees and entities. 

More employees are calling out companies for discrimination

Everyone deserves the same chance to succeed in his or her chosen profession. No employer should hold you back because of your race, gender, religion or other status protected by Louisiana and/or federal law. If you believe you suffered from discrimination due to one or more of these factors, you have the right to file a complaint.

Your employer cannot retaliate against you for doing so. If that happens, you may go outside of the company for relief. In fact, you would join many other people who now call out their employers for their discriminatory treatment of employees.

Men are also victims of sexual harassment

Sexual harassment in the workplace targets victims in many industries throughout the United States. In 2018, over 13,000 incidents of sexual harassment were reported to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the highest number in over 7 years. This number is thought to be even larger as many cases go unreported. Yet, not all cases involve women as victims. A growing number of men have reported being victims of sexual harassment at work by women managers or co-workers.

Sexual harassment towards men, as well as women, involves unwelcome physical advances, such as rubbing someone’s leg or giving a back massage. Yet, it also involves comments of a sexual nature, as well as propositions. In some cases, a female boss may tell her male subordinate that he cannot advance in the company unless he engages in certain activities. In one case, a female boss would continually ask her male co-worker to stay late and would require him to report to her office. She would ask him out after work, and after he turned her down, told him he would not get far in the company without her recommendation.

What impact has MeToo made on U.S. workplaces?

Whether you are male or female, you are likely aware that the topic of sexual harassment has gained a lot of media attention over the past year. This has happened not just in Louisiana but across the nation and is in large part due to what has been coined the MeToo movement. There have been laws in place that make harassment in the workplace illegal for some time now yet many people assert that sexual harassment or other types of sexual misconduct continue to be a problem.

As reported by Voice of America, the increased awareness surrounding this issue has been making a difference in many ways through society and business. Corporate culture may well be getting an increased level of scrutiny not just by employees of companies but by those people looking to make financial investments in businesses. Some investors have been identified as less willing to back a company that has active sexual harassment issues.

Expecting fair warning from your employer before termination

If you have been terminated from your job in Louisiana, you should have had plenty of warning from your employer that provided information about what was going to happen and why things were happening the way they were. At Robert B. Landry III, PLC, we are experienced in helping employees recognize when they have been wrongfully terminated from their job. 

From the time you are hired, your employer should disclose their policies regarding termination so you can be educated about what to expect should this situation ever occur. Often, the use of performance evaluations and other forms of measuring your productivity and effectiveness are used to provide you with suggestions for improvement that can help you to excel in your job. 

What are your rights as a nursing mother?

Being a new mother while working a job in Louisiana can be a hectic time, especially if you are also breastfeeding your child. Fortunately, according to FindLaw, the federal government requires that your employer provide accommodations for you and other nursing mothers to provide for your baby by expressing breast milk as needed while at work. 

The Fair Labor Standards Act covers most nursing mothers in the workplace, with few exceptions. Under FLSA, your employer cannot discriminate against you for breastfeeding, nor can your employer retaliate against you for asserting your FLSA rights.

You may keep your pregnancy discrimination claim out of court

Pregnant women continue to encounter discrimination in the workplace. Some employers believe that it's okay to tell pregnant employees that they never would have hired them if they had known they were pregnant. Other employers tell pregnant women that they can't accommodate them and that they can't return to work after the birth of their babies.

In reality, federal and Louisiana law prohibit these behaviors. If you find yourself in this position, you have the right to make a formal complaint.

Is sexual discrimination or harassment always blatant?

Louisiana residents share the workplace with a lot of different people. Unfortunately, a mixed bag of coworkers can sometimes bring you big trouble. Robert B. Landry III, PLC, is here to help if you have faced discrimination related to your gender or sexual harassment at the workplace.

Often times, we think of cases involving sexual harassment or gender discrimination as being very obvious. This is indeed the case sometimes. For example, if a person is groped, that's grounds for a sexual harassment case. If your boss pays you less than equally qualified male coworkers who hold the same position, that could be considered gender-based discrimination.