Workplace Discrimination

Employers with more than four employees are covered by Rhode Island discrimination laws and cannot discriminate based on an employee’s religion, sex, race, color, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, or an employee’s status as a domestic abuse victim or HIV patient.

Prospective employees are likewise protected by the discrimination laws. Moreover, current employees are protected during all aspects of employment, including: transfers, compensation, job assignments, time-off, and retirement plans.

Employers should be careful to not retaliate against employees who complain of workplace discrimination. Employers cannot retaliate under any circumstances, including if the employee’s claim of discrimination is baseless.

What if an employer discriminates but it is unintentional?

Both intentional and unintentional forms of discrimination are banned. Unintentional discrimination can occur where neutral employment practices have a disparate impact on a protected class in a disproportionate and unfair way.

The neutral practice will only be allowed if it is legitimately related to the job. For instance, if a job requires lifting heavy objects, it may be necessary for an employee to possess a certain amount of strength. This could mean women are discriminated against. However, since it can be said to be a necessary component of the job, it will be allowed.

What should employers do to shield themselves from liability?

Employers should act whenever they learn that an employee, manager, or vendor is harassing or discriminating against another employee. They should investigate and take immediate action, up and including, if necessary, firing the offender.

Federal Court Judge Sides with Muller Law Client

A federal magistrate judge in the District of Rhode Island recommended that the Court deny a motion for summary judgment brought by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  The magistrate judge agreed that a jury should hear the case of Michael Kelly, who was threatened with termination and ultimately forced out as a transportation security
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Workplace Bullying– Any Legal Recourse?

The “at-will” employment rule governing the typical employment relationship in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut usually means an employee can be terminated for almost any non-discriminatory reason.  Workplace bullying may be perfectly legal if it is not done on the basis of an impermissible characteristic such as race, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and
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