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Archive for the ‘Employee Rights’ Category


Setting Rules for Social MediaWhen social media in the workplace is discussed on most media outlets, they tend to focus on the downside: employees who badmouth their bosses or company secrets getting leaked. This has led companies to ban the use of social networks outright, but this isn’t always the right decision.

For many companies, having employees tweeting and posting about the company can be a good thing. A really good thing. After all, it’s free marketing! Also, employees can use social networks to get inspired, do research, and learn more about their field.

Plus, a ban at the workplace doesn’t keep people from posting about the company from home, and many employees may be confused about what is or isn’t allowed. That’s why it’s important to have a social media policy as part of your employee handbook. But where do you start?

Encourage employees to get involved. It’s likely they are already, and you can harness the power of all their connections for the good of your company. Also, by presenting your social media policy in a positive light, you’re less likely to get backlash from employees. Explain that you are developing a policy to clear up any confusion for employees and encourage them to ask questions about any concerns they have.
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January 9th, 2012 by Juliana Weiss-Roessler   Posted in Career Advice, Employee Rights

Preparing for Maternity Leave While obviously beautiful and exciting, pregnancy also has to be one of the most stressful times in a woman’s life. Your body is changing, you worry about every little thing that has even a minute chance of harming your baby-to-be, you’re constantly going to or coming from appointments, and you have this huge, scary expense looming - on top of all the smaller expenses like maternity clothes and prenatal vitamins that just keep coming.

Bottom line, this is not the time you want to be worrying about the logistics of something like maternity leave. Unfortunately, unless you’re a super planner and looked into all of this ahead of time, that’s exactly what you have to do if you’re a working woman. Luckily, there are some common things you can do to help make the process easier.

Research your rights. While the Family and Medical Leave Act allows many workers 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the care of a newborn child or the adoption or foster care of a child, this law doesn’t apply to anyone who works at a company with fewer than 50 employees. You also have to have worked for your employer for 12 months, for at least 1,250 hours in the last year. The law prevents your company from firing you due to your pregnancy, but that doesn’t protect you from being laid off with other people.

Use resources. Human resources, that is. Among other things, your HR rep can explain to you your company’s maternity leave plan, including how many paid days of leave you have (if any), whether they or the state offer short-term disability (STD) and how and when you should apply, how many vacation, sick, and personal days you have and what the limitations are on how you can use them, and how your maternity leave might affect any other work benefits you get, both while you’re on leave and after you return to the office.
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December 16th, 2011 by Juliana Weiss-Roessler   Posted in Career Advice, Employee Rights

How to Ask for Holiday Vacation TimeWhile many of us have the luxury of working in companies that shut down for the holiday, not everyone does. And sometimes it’s not enough just to have a day - or even a week - off around this joyous (stressful, busy) time of year.

If you need to ask for more time off for the holidays, there are several things you can do to make the situation less nerve-wracking for everyone involved.

Ask early - really early. Because it’s the holiday season, chances are you aren’t the only one wanting time off. If you actually hope to get all the days that you want, you’re better off asking several months in advance. Don’t lose hope if you just realized you need more time off this year, though. Just ask as soon as possible. Better three weeks in advance than two or one.

Find a good time. This one’s obvious, but just like any other potentially sticky conversation with your boss - asking for a raise, explaining why your division didn’t meet quarterly sales figures - you want to do your best to approach them when they seem like they are in a good mood. Moreover, you’ve got to pick your battles. If you’re thinking about asking for a raise and more time off, it’s probably better to pick just one. And if you just asked them for something, it’s probably best not to ask again right away. This is why planning ahead is so important.
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What to Do If You’ve Been Wrongfully TerminatedAlmost everyone, at some point in his or her life, will be fired or “let go” from a job. Oftentimes, we share in the blame for this, but not always. In fact, experts estimate that a quarter of a million people suffer wrongful termination each year.

That number may seem high, but keep in mind that wrongful termination includes firing for any kind of discrimination, loss of employment due to complaining or whistle blowing, or for refusing to do something illegal for your employer.

In any of these cases, you may be able to sue your former company and - if you win - receive back pay, damages, attorneys’ fees, and even reinstatement at the company. But before you take that big, difficult step, there are some ways to look into whether or not you really have a case without emptying your bank account.

U.S. Department of Labor - Not only can they give you information on every law that regulates employment, you can learn where and how to file a claim.
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Silence Gesture by young woman, What to Do If You’re Being Blackmailed at Work

There are many ways that someone can blackmail you at the workplace. Maybe you made a mistake at work that someone promised to help you cover up. Or it can be a secret of a personal nature that is being used against you. Whatever error you made, you don’t deserve to pay for it over and over again. You don’t have to live in fear. You can take steps to fix the situation.

Talk to someone you trust. Is there a co-worker you are certain you can confide in? Better yet, is there is someone in a position of authority, a manager or a member of HR, you feel you can talk to? If not, consider talking to someone outside of work. Getting advice from a third-party can make a big difference. Sometimes you’re not seeing the situation as clearly as you think you are.

Get some perspective. What are the consequences if this secret comes out? Be honest with yourself. Everyone makes mistakes at work every now and then. It may be better to just come clean about whatever it is than to consider the blackmailers requests.

Don’t make things worse. It can be tempting to want to take action against the person who is blackmailing you. This is not a good idea. In the end, it can harm you just as much, if not more, than the other person. Stay calm. Don’t make any rash decisions.
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