Sexual harassment is a serious legal issue that affects workplaces throughout the United States. Men and women in Tennessee have undoubtedly experienced it as they have fought to advance in their chosen professions. While sexual harassment can involve hostile work environments, crude comments and jokes and countless other offensive actions and behaviors, one type of sexual harassment can be a little more difficult to identify.
Not long ago this Tennessee legal blog discussed the ever-present problem of age discrimination in American workplaces. Unlike in other cultures, where older individuals are valued for their knowledge and experience, in the United States older workers are often looked at as liabilities and relics of a previous time. Not long ago a 70-year-old man was fired from a company where he had worked for 50 years.
While age discrimination is against the law, it still happens in Tennessee workplaces far too often. Instead of being respected for their years of knowledge and experience, older Americans may suddenly be considered out of touch with current practices, and thus are passed up for promotions or even fired. In other situations of age discrimination, an employer who wants to slash the budget may fire or refuse to hire an older employee, in preference for a younger employee who likely will not be paid as much as the older employee.
Running a business in Tennessee can be a satisfying endeavor, but sometimes issues come up between employers and employees that cause friction, especially if the issue claims one party violated the other party's legal rights. Employers can face serious financial consequences if they are held liable for violating an employee's rights, and employees can face emotional trauma and financial damages if their rights are violated in the workplace. It's a situation no one wants to find themselves in.
Many women these days in Tennessee are waiting longer to have children so they can concentrate on their careers. However, whether a pregnancy comes when a person is a new employee or after they have become established in the workforce, most women who find themselves pregnant are overjoyed. But, while they may be eagerly awaiting their new arrival, their employer may be concerned on how the pregnancy will affect the woman's ability to work and the company's bottom line. Such situations can sometimes result in workplace discrimination.
Most people do not go to work in the morning thinking, "Today is the day I'm going to be fired." Of course, sometimes employees make mistakes or break workplace policies, leading to a discharge, but other times a person's discharge can come as a complete surprise. Tennessee residents who find themselves in such predicaments may wonder what their legal rights are.
Many strides have been made over the years to prevent discrimination in the workplace. Unfortunately, sometimes workplace discrimination still occurs, leading to a hostile work environment. For example, a black man in Tennessee is suing his employer, the Springfield Water and Wastewater Department, for $500,000 plus punitive damages, alleging that he was the victim of racial discrimination and that his employer permitted a hostile work environment to exist. In the lawsuit, the man alleges that his co-workers placed a rope around his neck and called him a monkey, among other incidents. For example, per court documents, one city worker referred to the man as a "black bastard" in a text message sent to other city workers.
It may seem as though the gay rights movement has gained steam nationwide, protecting those of all sexual orientations. However, it is an unfortunate fact that workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation still occurs in professions across the nation, including law enforcement. The issue of sexual orientation discrimination in law enforcement departments is becoming so problematic that some officers are suing their employers for alleged discrimination and harassment. Some officers are forced to endure taunting, hostile work environments and limited chances for promotion or protection, simply due to their sexual orientation.
A person's religious beliefs can be a part of their identity. For some in Tennessee, their religious practices are of paramount importance. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects people working in the private sector from discrimination in the workplace based on religion. The courts have determined that there are numerous types of discrimination that are illegal. Specifically, these include fostering a hostile work environment, disparate impact discrimination and disparate treatment discrimination.
If a Tennessee employee is not a party to a work contract, they are an "at-will" employee. This means that their employer has the legal right to fire the employee for any reason or for no reason at all. Conversely, the employee has the legal right to quit for any reason or for no reason at all.