In recent weeks, the issue of sexual harassment has been in the forefront of local and national news. Many well-known individuals have lost their jobs. Others probably should have or likely will in the weeks and months to come. At Rittgers & Rittgers, we applaud the men and women who have come forward to help expose those who abuse their power and behave inappropriately in the workplace. Importantly, we also want those who may be fearful of coming forward to report similar misconduct to know that we are here to help you through the process and to protect your rights.
On our website, we discuss the nature of "at will" employment which makes terminating an employee legal so long as the decision is not made because of the employee's age, race, gender, national origin, religion, because they are pregnant, or because they have a disability. These are referred to as Protected Classes. With a recent ruling from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, sexual orientation may soon be added to the list of Protected Classes.
In 1975, Congress exempted home healthcare workers providing companionship services from the overtime protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act. What that meant was that home healthcare companies were only required to pay straight time for hours worked in excess of 40 during the week, not time and a half. Effective, January 1, 2015, though, the Department of Labor ended the long-standing overtime exemption due in large part to the dramatic shift in the provision of health care from institutions to in home services. Now, employers of direct care workers are not permitted to claim the exemption for companionship services and must pay time and half for hours worked in excess of 40 in a week to their employees.