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Georgia Employment Law Blog

How the False Claims Act protects whistleblowers

If you see wrongdoing at your company, you might understandably be hesitant to report it to your superiors or the authorities. Throughout recent history, many of those who report fraud, corruption or illegal activity at their places of employment have suffered negative consequences. These whistleblowers might have been demoted, transferred to an unfavorable facility, lost benefits or lost their jobs. Some have even been threatened with jail or been made to feel as if their lives were at risk. You and other Georgia residents should be able to right a wrong without having to fear the consequences.

The False Claims Act is a law meant to protect you and others who report a person or organization that is defrauding the U.S. government.

Pregnancy discrimination can take many forms

Pregnancy discrimination is a form of workplace harassment that often does not receive as much attention as other forms of harassment. But it is prevalent nonetheless. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission receives more than 3,000 pregnancy discrimination complaints in a typical year. 

Harassment takes many shapes. One common scenario is when an employer discriminates against a pregnant woman during the hiring process because he or she does not want to provide a new employee with paid leave in the near future. However, there are many other ways for employers to discriminate, and it is often the case that the aggrieved can pursue legal action. 

Stand up to sexual harassment in the workplace

With many claims of sexual harassment against powerful men in Hollywood and politics having surfaced in the news, now is a watershed moment for reporting such incidents. If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, you do not have to stay silent; there are many things you can do to stand up to this type of behavior.

The following suggestions are different ways you can take action against sexual harassment in the workplace and stand up for your rights. Those who perpetuate this kind of behavior often benefit from their victims staying silent, and this enables them to continue their behavior against others with impunity.

Are you eligible for FMLA leave?

The Family and Medical Leave Act protects certain American workers from losing their jobs for taking time off to tend to their own health issues or those of a loved one. Whether you are able to take advantage of FMLA depends on several factors, including how long you have worked for your company and how many other workers your place of business currently employs.

More specifically, in order to qualify for FMLA leave, your employer must have a staff of 50 or more workers, and all of them must work within 75 miles of where you do. Further, you must have at least a 12-month history working for your employer, though the 12 months do not necessarily have to be consecutive. In addition to working for your employer for at least 12 months, you must have also worked at least 1250 hours during that period to qualify for FMLA leave.

How far does reasonable accommodation go?

Georgia and federal law prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of a disability. As a corollary to this rule, the law also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to enable disabled employees to do their jobs.

Most often, the employee must take the first step of requesting needed accommodation. If this request does not occur, the employer will usually not bear the responsibility for the employee's ensuing difficulties. As with all other important communications, it is best to make this request in writing in order to avoid misunderstandings and have dated documentation in case of later disputes.

3 frequently asked questions about paternity leave for fathers

As a soon-to-be father, you might be wondering if you are going to be able to take time off work. You want to spend quality time with your newborn child and your partner. The Family and Medical Leave Act allows many new fathers to get time away from employment. But you might have some concerns about your eligibility and whether it will hurt your career. 

You must be aware of the rights and opportunities to which the law entitles you. Read on for a guide to taking medical leave as a new father. 

Paid Breaks During The Workday

The law is clear: Employers must pay their employees for the short breaks they take during the workday. There are limits and, as with all laws, there are loopholes. But by and large, workers should be compensated for breaks lasting 20 minutes or less.

Unfortunately, employers flout this law routinely. They argue that they shouldn't have to pay their workers for not working. And the consequences are far-reaching. When break periods go unpaid, it can mean that some workers earn less than the minimum wage. Likewise, it can lead to issues concerning overtime pay. Such scenarios violate the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and may lead to messy legal disputes.

3 types of discrimination women may face in the workplace

While sexual harassment may be a serious problem in the workplace, it is not the only threat female employees face. In addition to inappropriate touch and expectation of sexual favors, women may also experience many types of discrimination. 

If you are a working woman, it is important to be aware of all forms of illegal behaviors your employer may commit so you can recognize them and protect your rights.

Why Congressmen Are Fighting To Repeal Worker Protections

The idea is simple: construction contractors should pay their laborers and subcontractors fairly for the work they perform on publicly funded projects. Indeed, they are required to do so by law. The Davis-Bacon Act (DBA), passed in 1931, establishes that workers be paid "no less than the locally prevailing wages and fringe benefits for corresponding work on similar projects in the area."

It isn't hard to see that the DBA provides important protections to workers. It prevents contracting firms from "racing to the bottom" by underbidding each other for projects, and then stiffing their workers to meet costs. As a recent piece in the Washington Post notes, it also "prevents public investment from undermining local standards" - and has done so for decades.

With rumors in the air about a $1 trillion investment in public infrastructure, it would seem that the DBA is more important than ever. Yet some lawmakers are looking to repeal it.

New Law Makes It Easier For Parents To Care For Their Children

A tweak to Georgia's employment laws has made it easier for parents to stay home when their children are sick.

Specifically, the Family Care Act (FCA)--which passed into law in May, and went into effect in July--requires that employers let their employees use up to five days of paid sick leave to care for immediate family members. Legislators and activists alike believe the FCA carries benefits that will extend to the state's entire economy.