Archive for October, 2011

Sexual harassment in the workplace must be quickly addressed by employees and employers in all cases. However, it is even more important to address where minor employees are involved. In at least one case, the managers of a Dairy Queen did not address the harassment quick enough.

The guardian of a 17-year-old minor has filed a lawsuit against Dairy Queen, claiming the fast food restaurant allowed the teen to be sexually harassed by a co-worker.

Kathryn McCauley, as guardian and next friend of a minor, filed suit against Food Service Holdings Ltd., doing business as Dairy Queen, on Oct. 17 in the Eastern District of Texas, Lufkin Division.

The 17 year old was employed by Dairy Queen in Huntington in June 2010, where she was subjected to discrimination on the basis of her sex, including sexual harassment and retaliation for reporting such harassment, the suit claims.

According to court records, the minor was subjected to a hostile work environment by a co-employee and was told the co-worker would be fired after his 30-day probationary period.

However, McCauley claims that when the probationary period was over, the co-worker was not fired. Instead, the minor was not properly placed on the schedule and given very few hours. The teenager was terminated on Oct. 3, 2010, allegedly for failing to show up to work.

The teen maintains that she was informed that she was not scheduled to work on the date in question and she was really terminated for reporting the sexual harassment.

If you believe you or one of your children has been the subject of sexual harassment in the workplace, speak to an attorney experienced with sexual harassment suits such as Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm.

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The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $71,809 in minimum wage and overtime back wages for 48 workers jointly employed by GHM Wentworth LLC, doing business as Wentworth by the Sea Hotel in New Castle, and contractor Eco-Clean New England Inc., doing business as The Cleaning Crew in Londonderry. Wentworth contracted its housekeeping and kitchen work through Eco-Clean; consequently, the companies were jointly responsible for ensuring compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act.

An investigation by the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division found that employees, many of whom traveled more than 120 miles daily between the Boston area and New Castle, were not properly compensated. Employees were paid “straight time” wages rather than time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 during a single week, as required by the FLSA’s overtime provisions. Additionally, minimum wage violations resulted when the employers failed to provide wages owed from several payrolls and when some resort employees were not compensated for all hours of their work.

GHM Wentworth Inc. has agreed to pay all back wages due the affected employees and to maintain future compliance with the FLSA. The company also has committed to ensuring full compliance by all contractors with which it has a joint employment relationship. Specifically, the company will require Eco-Clean to submit weekly payroll documents to ensure that the jointly employed workers are being paid proper wages for all hours worked.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour as well as time and one-half their regular hourly rates for every hour they work beyond 40 per week. The law also requires employers to maintain accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment, and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law.

If you believe you are owed for unpaid overtime or wages you should contact the U.S. Department of Labor or a law firm that handles wage and hour litigation. Feel free to contact Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation.

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Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, you are entitled to be paid time and a half for each hour worked over 40 in a given week. When computing these hours, the employer should normally include off the clock training.

Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, Tulsa-based United States Beef Corp., doing business as Arby’s, has agreed to pay $56,838 in back wages to 759 current and former hourly paid managers in Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

Investigators found that at 255 Arby’s locations in the five states, bonuses paid to managers were not included in regular rates of pay when overtime was computed. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that covered employees be paid time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week.

Additionally, managers in training at an Arby’s in Wichita, Kan., were required to review training material outside of their work hours and not properly compensated for this time. Under the FLSA, employees must receive at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked.

“We are pleased that this company has agreed to change its practices to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the department’s Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “The Wage and Hour Division actively pursues systemic violations by multi-state employers wherever employees are affected by bad practices.”

If you believe you have not been paid properly by your employer speak to the U.S. Department of Labor or an attorney that specializes in wage and hour law. Feel free to call Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation.

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Discrimination is illegal against all pregnant employees not only while they are working for employers, but also during the hiring process. The EEOC is trying to educate Tampa’s Capri Home Care.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced that it filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against Capri Home Care, Inc. for refusing to hire a pregnant applicant into an administrative assistant / billing clerk position at its Clearwater, Fla., facility. Capri Home Care is a home health agency that provides skilled nursing and specialized home health care throughout Central Florida.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Capri’s management was so impressed with the applicant at her initial interview that they immediately extended her an offer for the position starting the next day. Following orientation on the applicant’s first day of work, Capri’s sentiment changed after she disclosed she was pregnant. Within an hour, the EEOC said, Capri rescinded its job offer, claiming it had already offered the position to a former employee. A non-pregnant woman was selected several months later, the EEOC said.
Pregnancy discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District, Tampa Division (EEOC v. Capri Home Care Inc., d/b/a Capri Home Care, Case No. 8:11-cv-02211-RAL-MAP) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency is seeking back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for woman who was subjected to discrimination. The suit also seeks injunctive relief to prevent and correct pregnancy discrimination, posting of anti-discrimination notices, and training of Capri’s managers and employees about equal employment opportunity laws.

If you believe you have been denied employment because you are pregnant, you should file a claim with the EEOC or speak with an employment law attorney that handles pregnancy discrimination matters. Feel free to call Scott M. Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation.

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Well this recent case gives me one more reason to dislike Virginia Tech aside from their last minute win over the Miami Hurricanes this past weekend.

As you know, we have blogged on many occasions about employee rights under the various state and Federal sexual harassment statutes which make it illegal for an employer to harass or discriminate against an employee based upon sexual harassment.

Well, a former Virginia Tech employee has settled a sexual harassment lawsuit in which she claimed her supervisor treated a five-day training session with her “as if the trip was an extended date.”

Getra Hanes, who worked as a fundraiser for the university, will receive $60,000 as part of a settlement reached last week in U.S. District Court in Roanoke.

In her sexual harassment lawsuit, Hanes accused Robert Bailey Jr., her direct supervisor, of repeatedly making sexually inappropriate comments during a five-day training trip to Maryland in 2007.

The lawsuit also said that Bailey held Hanes to different professional standards than he did his male employees, and that he fired her when she complained about the harassment.

On the way to the training session, the lawsuit said, Bailey told Hanes how uncomfortable he was travelling with a young attractive women, then proceeded to ask at length if she was married and whether she was dating.

He later tried to invite himself to her room to discuss the development office’s Moves Management program, emphasizing the first word “so as to focus on the double-entendre meaning of the title,” the suit said.

When Hanes refused, Bailey insisted that she come to his room, where he made her feel uncomfortable by wearing pajama pants, drinking a beer and leaning over her as she sat at a computer, the lawsuit said.

If you believe you have been the subject of sexual harassment in the workplace or by one of your supervisors, make sure and report the matter to Human Resources or to the EEOC. If you are fired or retaliated against based upon your complaints, speak to an employment law attorney on the issue. Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm handle sexual harassment cases and are available for a free consultation.

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