By Erin Tucker
Below is helpful information about on-the-job, sex-based discrimination from US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Sex discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of that person's sex, including the person's sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy.
Discrimination against an individual because of gender identity, including transgender status, or because of sexual orientation is discrimination because of sex in violation of Title VII.
Sex Discrimination & Work Situations
The law forbids discrimination 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.
Sex Discrimination Harassment
It is unlawful to harass a person because of that person's sex, including the person's sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy. Harassment can include "sexual harassment" such as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person's sex, including the person's sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.
Both the victim and the harasser may be any sex, and the victim and harasser may be the same sex or a different sex.
Although the law doesn't prohibit minor teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not frequent or serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).
The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, a subordinate, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.
Sex Discrimination & Employment Policies/Practices
An employment policy or practice that applies to everyone, regardless of sex, can be illegal if it has a negative impact on the employment of people of a certain sex and is not job-related or necessary to the operation of the business.
By Kelly Sargent
Today, December 21, is the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. On the same day while we're celebrating our winter solstice, the Southern Hemisphere is having their summer solstice. Conversely, when they're having their winter solstice on June 21, we'll be having our summer solstice.
Both winter solstices, the one in the North and the one in the South, are the two moments during the year when the path of the sun in the sky is farthest south in the northern hemisphere and farthest north in the southern hemisphere, and during which the sun travels the shortest path through the sky. As a result, those days have the least daylight and the longest night.
Solstice, which is a marriage of the Latin words for “sun” and “to stand still," is the official start of the astronomical winter in both hemispheres. Celebrating the solstices is one of the oldest traditions known to humankind, along with storytelling and burying the dead.
One poetic writer wrote, "Since we first crawled out of the cave, the winter solstice has heralded a time to retreat back to it, to consider what is lost with the frost and what is promised by spring. The longest night offers a chance to reflect on the year that has passed and cast an eye and a lantern towards brighter days ahead."
In addition to the solstice, of course there are other notable celebrations: the eight days of Hanukkah run from Dec. 18 through Dec. 26. Christmas is Dec. 25, Kwanzaa is celebrated Dec. 26 through Jan. 1, and then of course there's New Year's Eve on the 31st. Let the celebrating begin!
As always, if you need us, call.
By Kelly Sargent
Your friends at Tucker Law hope you and those you care about had an abundant Thanksgiving full of good food and warm companionship. It’s a holiday so named to remind us to count our blessings.
But being grateful shouldn’t be reserved for just one day. Harvard Medical School says that gratitude is strongly associated with an increase in happiness. "Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions. relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adverstiy and build strong relationships."
In a study conducted jointly by the University of California and the University of Miami, participants were broken into three groups. One group was asked to write once a week about things that had annoyed or frustrated them. The second group was asked simply to write about what they did during the week. The third group was asked to write about things that had happened during the week that they were grateful for.
After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives, and interestingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to doctors than those who focused on sources of aggravation.
A study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center tested the impact of various positive psychological approaches on 411 participants. When the assignment was to write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for being kind, the participants immediately showed a very large increase in their happiness scores, and the impact was greater than that from any other approach, with benefits lasting for month.
A study of couples found that individuals who took time to express gratitude for their partner not only felt more positive toward the other person but also felt more comfortable expressing concerns about their relationship. We have to admit that this one seems like a no-brainer.
In the workplace, managers who remember to thank people who work for them may find that those employees feel motivated to work harder. A study at the University of Pennsylvania divided university fund-raisers into two groups. One group made phone calls to solicit alumni donations in the same way they always had. The second group received a pep talk from the director of annual giving, who told the fund-raisers she was grateful for their efforts. During the following week, the university employees who heard her message of gratitude made 50% more fund-raising calls than those who did not.
Although correlation doesn’t prove causation, most studies published support a positive association between gratitude and individual well-being.
If you’re struggling to live in gratitude because you’ve been injured on the job, injured in car accident through no fault of your own, or wrongfully terminated from your job, we're here to help you navigate through those difficult waters.
By Erin Tucker
October 16 through October 22 of this year is National Invisible Disabilities Awareness Week. Invisible disabilities are chronic illnesses that may not be visible or are less visible and include physical as well as mental health conditions. Estimates are that 25% of Americans live with a visible or an invisible disability.
Invisible diseases can include many conditions. Below are some common ones:
Although invisible disabilities can be as disabling or more so than obvious ones, because invisible disabilities are just that . . . unseen, people who live with them often don't receive the empathy or accommodation that those with visible conditions are accorded.
Human nature is such that people tend to disbelieve and distrust something they can't see. Unfortunately that only serves to increase the sense of isolation and invisibility of the person who is living with an invisible disability, adding an additional layer of stress to a health-challenged life.
As a result, workers who have invisible disabilities can sometimes be subjected to more workplace discrimination, bullying and lack of accommodation.
At Tucker Law, we've seen those situations. If this has happened to you, We're here to help.
By Erin Tucker
Here’s a little perk for friends of Tucker Law. In addition to writing for our law firm, Kelly and her husband Paul, manage a 17-piece Big Band where Paul also plays lead trombone. Multi-talented, right?!
The band they manage is Turner Center Jazz Orchestra, and their opening concert is Thursday, September 29 at the Turner Center on the Drake Campus. In recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, the concert is featuring all Latin music with guest artist, Latin percussionist specialist, Ed East. He'll not only dazzle you with his performance, but he'll guide the audience through Latin rhythm patterns known as clavés. You’ll learn how to tell a mambo from a cha-cha.
Tucker Law has represented Hispanic clients and clients from many nations of origin, but since we’ve got an in with the band, in recognition of National Hispanic Heritage month we’ve worked out a deal whereby friends of Tucker Law get $5 off the regular ticket price. Just click on this link TCJO and enter the coupon code TUCKER to save $5.
As a little brain enrichment, here’s the back story on this commemorative month It was originally established in 1966 as Hispanic Week by legislation signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson. Twenty years later President Ronald Reagan signed legislation that changed the name to National Hispanic Heritage Month and expanded the week to a month: September 15 to October 15,
September 15 was chosen as the beginning date of NHHM because it’s the anniversary of the start of the Mexican War of Independence, which achieved independence from Spain 11 years later for Mexico and the Central American nations of Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Nicaraguan. Most Central American countries, Mexico and Chile continue to celebrate this designated month, and the United States supports the recognition with National Hispanic Heritage Month.
By Erin Tucker
Kelly has a friend, who for purposes of confidentiality we'll call Emily, who underwent a necessary medical intervention that left her temporarily disabled. She could still work in her position, which had always been remote, where she developed IT training courses, but for a few months, she needed extra time to complete tasks while her brain healed. Instead, she was reprimanded and written up by her supervisor. As time went on, Emily couldn't take the harassment and stress and resigned. She had been driven from her job.
Many people, including Emily's daughter who is an attorney, urged her to sue for compensation on grounds of discriminatory treatment of a disabled person, but in spite of being advised by many that she had a very strong case, Emily couldn't face reliving the emotional trauma she had suffered on the job by talking about it and giving depositions.
Recently, someone Emily worked with at the same company filed suit. Although not related to lack of disability accommodation, the suit cites the same supervisor who had drummed Emily out of her job.
Emily is thankful that her workmate has the courage to move forward with a lawsuit. Both Emily and her coworker hope that this particular supervisor will be held accountable and prevent future employees from having to suffer what they endured.
Although sometimes a supervisor or other person in authority in a workplace will single out one employee, usually there's a pattern of abuse. It's how they treat everyone under them. In other words, it's not you.
Toxic workplaces can make you feel crazy and cause you to start doubting your own eyes, ears, reason and sanity. It's important for you to know that — and trust yourself.
The other important thing to know is that if you've been unjustly wronged or discriminated against on the job, you won't be alone if you want to seek compensatory damages. We'll be with you every step of the way. It's what we do every day, so we know what to expect and how to handle anything that arises.
Call us if you need us.
By Kelly Sargent
Once a year Super Lawyers issues a call for nominations for the honor of being designated a Rising Star, a distinction that recognizes outstanding up-and-coming attorneys on a state-by-state basis. To be considered, attorneys must be 40 years or younger or have been practicing for less than 10 years. Attorneys cannot nominate themselves.
The nominees are then evaluated on the basis of 12 indicators of professional achievement by an independent research team. The candidates with the highest point totals from the first two rounds of selection then serve on a blue-ribbon peer review panel which evaluates the candidates within their primary practice area.
In the last step of the process, 2.5% of applicant attorneys are selected to receive the designation of Rising Star.
By Kelly Sargent
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and nonbinary people, communities and relationships have existed since long before these terms became familiar to most of us. Historians agree that there is evidence of same-sex love in every documented culture from as far back as Ancient Greece.
Well-researched studies of animal sexual behavior have revealed that from insects to reptiles to primates, same-sex coupling is relatively widespread across all animal groups, with bisexual and homosexual behavior patterns existing in more than 450 species.
In the Western world, however, lack of knowledge combined with fear resulted in persecution and murder of people who didn’t fit proscribed gender roles. In Germany repression of homosexuals began within days of Hitler becoming Chancellor. In the Nazi effort to ‘purify’ German society, an estimated 100,000 men were arrested as homosexuals. Many thousands of them were either put to death or died in prison.
In the United States, misinformation exacerbated by Puritanical thinking spawned hatred. As early as 1624, a Virginia Colony man was tried and hanged for being homosexual. During the Red Scare of the 1950s, right wing Cold War hawk Senator Joe McCarthy and his closeted gay sidekick, attorney Roy Cohen, intertwined communism and homosexuality as national security threats. Gays were hunted down, outed and forced to resign on charges of “immoral conduct”.
In 1953 President Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose trusted post-wartime staffer identified as a lesbian, nevertheless issued an executive order banning homosexuals from government employment including in the military, as a threat to national security.
In general those who didn’t conform to traditional male-female behavior were shamed, shunned, belittled, vilified and denied employment, health care and other benefits. It’s no wonder that people hid ‘in the closet’.
Gradually society is evolving to be more inclusive and just for non-traditional individuals. June was officially recognized by the US government as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month in 1999. In an effort to eliminate prejudice and celebrate the diversity of America, President Barack Obama added the B and T (bisexual and transsexual) in 2011 to make it LGBT Pride Month. President Joe Biden has since added Q+ to the name. Elsewhere in the world, Pride is celebrated at different times of the year, but many cities observe it in June.
Though individual states’ numbers vary, the percentage of LGBTQ adults in the US has doubled from 3.5% in 2012 to 7.1% in 2022, according to a recent Gallup poll. And as the youngest Americans slowly outnumber and replace the oldest, Gallup predicts the number of LGBTQ-identifying adults will increase at a much faster rate than past generations.
Tucker Law supports diversity and fair treatment of all people regardless of race, gender, religion, creed, age or sexual identification and orientation. If you feel you’ve been discriminated against in the workplace, reach out to us.
By Kelly Sargent
The National Safety Council recently reported that ten states experienced an increase of 35% or more in the the number of traffic deaths in the first quarter of 2022 compared to 2021:
Iowa is in that category: up 41% over the previous year. Which brings us to this weekend; AAA predicts that more than 39 million Americans will drive 50 miles or more from home this Memorial Day weekend. Even more people will be traveling close to home for get-togethers with friends or family.
Here are five commonsense ways for you and your family to be safe this weekend . . . and every weekend.
1. Wear your seatbelt
Extensive data has proven that wearing seatbelts prevents injuries and saves lives. Make sure that everyone buckles up — including you. If you’re driving with small children, be sure their car seat is the appropriate size and installed correctly, and don't forget to safely secure pets when traveling.
2. Don’t drink drive
Either don't consume alcohol or any other substance that might impair your driving or call a Lyft, Uber or a taxicab for a ride. If you're in a group, designate one person who will stay substance- and alcohol-free.
3. Stick to the speed limit
Speeding was a factor in 29% of all traffic fatalities in 2020, according to the National Safety Council. You'll be less stressed and get better gas mileage if you don't speed. Watch out for other drivers who are speeding or driving recklessly.
4. Check your vehicle
If you'll be traveling farther than just around town, make sure. your vehicle is in good running order. The American Automotive Association expects to receive over 425,000 calls for help the weekend. You don't want to be one of them, so check the oil and tire pressure and windshield washer fluid, and make sure your vehicle's airbag is in working order.
5. Focus on the road
Don't text, dial the phone manually or read texts and emails while you're driving! Finalize your music playlist before you leave home or put a passenger in charge of the playlist.
Stay safe, and as always, we're here if you need us.
By Kelly Sargent
Honest to goodness, this happened to me yesterday! In my case, however, it was an expensive printer instead of an iPhone. But whether it's an iPhone or a printer, here's how the scam works.
An email pops in notifying you that your Amazon, credit card or bank account has been charged many hundreds of dollars for an iPhone or some other piece of pricey equipment, and careful guardians of your account that they are, they're protecting you by checking to make sure you actually purchased whatever it was. Obviously you're extremely alarmed because you didn't purchase anything of that description for so much money.
There's a number to call to verify the purchase or cancel it, and you're extremely grateful for the catch. . . but it's a scam. They're banking — quite literally — that you'll call, where you'll be connected to an extremely helpful customer service representative who says they can fix the problem. They just need to verify your bank account or credit card number.
Fortunately, I'm onto these phishing scams. First and most foremost, I did NOT open the email. I knew what the premise was because the "notification" about my account being charged was in the subject line. Next I checked with my husband Paul to make sure he hadn't purchased a printer. Then I trashed the email without opening it.
Here's advice from the Better Business Bureau:
Double check the sender’s email address. Phishing emails are usually designed to look like they come from a reputable source like your bank or Amazon. But look closely at the sender’s email to see if it’s really from an official source.
Check your bank for charges first. If the charge isn’t there, it’s likely a scam. Don’t contact the scammers. Erase the email and block the sender.
Never click on suspicious links. It’s best not to click on links in unsolicited emails you receive from unknown senders. These links could download malware onto your computer or mobile device, making you vulnerable to identity theft.
This Blog is made available by the publisher for educational and entertainment purposes only, as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.