January 2014 Archives

When to consult an attorney when you are let go?

Immediately! Don’t wait.Well, first, file your application for unemployment compensation benefits but then contact legal counsel. It is worth discussing the matter with an attorney, even briefly, to make sure that you have notbeen wrongfully terminated. This is especially true if you believe that you have suffered some form of discrimination and can articulate specific facts in support of that belief. Being fired from a job, whether you expected it or not, is very difficult to accept and understand. Speaking with an attorney will help you understand whether you have a claim and what your options are in proceeding.If possible, it is even more valuable to speak with an attorney prior to being let go so you can be in the best possible position to protect yourself.

Are you a Target For Termination?

Are you next on the list? How can you tell?These are normal concerns for any  employee in the workforce, especially in a bad economy where every WSJ or NYTimes article foretells of more layoffs and corporate budget cuts. How can you protect yourself in this environment? Be aware of the signs. Unless you are caught in a company wide layoff, you will always see some form of the followingsigns before you are terminated:-Alleged Performance Issues: a supervisor or HR may raise a performance issue with you, claiming that you have violated some company policy or procedure and giving you a period of time within which to “correct your performance.” If you disagree with anything at all contained in performance evaluation, make sure you don’t sign it and dispute it in writing. If you don’t, you will be deemed to have agreed with everything contained in it. In some instances, the statements contained in your performance improvement plan may not be clear enough, and in which case, you must ask for more specificity and clarity on the issues. It is very important that you contest an improperly given negative evaluation to take the sting out of it. This is an indicator that your supervisor is documenting a reason to support your termination.-Being Excluded From Meetings: If you are being left off meeting invites for events or gatherings where your presence would be normal, you should beconcerned. Keep a log of these exclusions but know that there is a reason forthis if its happening more than once.-Being treated differently (negatively) from other employees: This is a clear sign that something is afoot and that a decision maker is upset withyou. Again, you should keep a detailed log of how you are being treated differently, the dates when the incidents take place and the other people involved or witnesses.Above all, the issues that you are experiencing are all signs that something is not well at work. You should seek legal counsel as the way to handle the  situation differs from a case-by-case basis.

LGBT Rights in Pennsylvania

  PA HB 300/SB 300: "An Act amending the act of October 27, 1955 (P.L.744, No.222), known as the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, further providing for the title, for findings and declaration of policy, for right to freedom from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation; defining "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression"; and further providing for unlawful discriminatory practices, for prohibition of certain real estate practices, for powers and duties of commission, for education program and for construction and exclusiveness of remedy." HB 300/SB 300 was referred to the State Government Committee on April 28, 2011, and there it has remained since.  This Bill appears to have bi-partisan support in the PA House and Senate and provides much needed civil rights protections for the LGBT community at the state level, in the employment and housing realm.  All of our surrounding states provide these protections and there is no reason that Pennsylvania cannot step up to the plate.  The LGBT community constitutes an important and productive part of our society and deserves the same protections afforded to Pennsylvania citizens being discriminated on the basis of race, age, sex, or disability.   These amendments to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act would prevent discrimination on the basis of "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression" in the workplace as well as in housing. I can't think of a single legitimate reason to oppose this Bill.  Can you?

Prepare to Expect the Unexpected

Happy New Year!With that comes a brand new start for both you and youremployer. The word on the street is that the economy is improving but theaverage Joe disagrees. The unemployment rates are still high and homes arestill in foreclosure. So, what does the start of a new year mean for you andyour employer?Companies are still in contraction mode so that means no newjobs. But what does it mean for those of you who still have jobs? Nothing. It’sbusiness as usual. Keep your head down and do your job. The economy is stillstruggling and employers are still tightening their belts so bonuses may beimpacted. Changes may be afoot. But as you go through your workday, keepyour eyes and ears open for signs of this impending change. Pick up on thesesignals early so that you aren’t blindsided and seek help and counsel at the first sign that something is afoot. Sometimes, discussing the issues with someone on the outside may help give you a perspective on how to repair relationships and correct deficiencies in the work place before reaching the point of no return.Staying alert means that you will never be caught unprepared and that you are improving your chances of taking charge of your employment security.

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