(215) 568-1155     info@bazless.com

A Pennsylvania law firm

Lawblog

Date: 1/25/2018 2:25 PM EST



January 25, 2018


So thrilled to see the Philadelphia Business Journal publish the article I authored with Robyn Pollack, Esq. on sexual harassment. You can find the article here. The timing is exquisite given the Larry Nasser decision, once again highlighting the ubiquitous and serious nature of non-compliance. Do not leave your company exposed.

I have partnered with Robyn in the creation and delivery of an experienced based sexual harassment training which includes audience participation. Our training is designed to train your employees on exactly what they do not know or are unclear about. It is targeted, up-to-date and relevant. If you are interested in providing this training to your employees, please contact me.




Christina M. Reger, Esq. is a shareholder at Bazelon Less & Feldman, PC. She is licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Christina works with small and mid-sized business to prevent litigation from employees and applicants by ensuring that the employer has the proper policies and procedures in place, providing training and educating staff, and generally reviewing the operation to ensure compliance with the morass of employment laws. Christina offers a unique fee structure that provides predictability and accessibility to the legal services her clients need.

Posted by BLF Lawblog | Post a Comment

Date: 12/14/2017 2:08 PM EST



December 14, 2017

By: Christina M. Reger

I am excited to announce that I have partnered with Robyn Pollack of Trellis Consulting to create a new approach to sexual harassment training. We have combined our expertise in employment law and diversity and cultural competency to design an innovative, comprehensive platform.

Solution based and practical, our program features experiential learning, real time interactive tools and storytelling scenarios. All sessions are customized to meet specific company and workforce needs on issues of sexual harassment, corporate culture and gender communication.

Time magazine recently named “The Silence Breakers” as the Time Person of the Year, referring to the women of the #MeToo campaign and the tidal wave of conversation they started. According to Time’s editor, it is the actions of hundreds of women and many men that “have unleashed one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s.”

These social and cultural shifts are happening right now in the workplace that cannot be ignored. Can your organization really afford to take a hands off approach?


Helping small businesses avoid litigation from employees and applications in an environment where employment laws are changing every day.

Posted by BLF Lawblog | Post a Comment

Date: 11/16/2017 3:02 PM EST

By: Christina M. Reger


Yes, its true.  Even the federal agencies are catching up with technology.  Just two weeks ago, the EEOC launched a new national online portal for employees. The EEOC Public Portal will employees to inquire, set up appointments and file a complaint online.  The site is a virtual one-stop shopping for aggrieved employees.  A press release announcing the new portal can be found here.

This information should come as no surprise.  Last year, I told you about the government launching another site to allow employees the ability to file Department of Labor complaints.

So in the wake of the Weinstein Company debacle, and the plethora of sexual harassment claims made against various individuals and companies, might I suggest that your best course of action, is an ounce of prevention.  Like your momma told you, it could be better than a pound of cure.


Helping small businesses avoid litigation from employees and applications in an environment where employment laws are changing every day.

Posted by BLF Lawblog | Post a Comment

Date: 10/13/2017 10:50 AM EDT

By: Christina M. Reger


Unless you have been on a deserted island this past week, with no access to social media, you have heard the stories about Harvey Weinstein.  In case you missed it, you can get the details here and here.

 Sexual harassment can happen in every organization -- some industries more than others.  However, how a company handles complaints -- or even whispers -- of sexual harassment (or assault!) will have a significant impact.

It seems incredible that the Board at the Weinstein Company did not know about the antics of its founder.  Yet, many a company will turn a blind eye to the actions of its executive, its top performer or its best sales person.

Doing so will (not may) have severe ramifications for the company.  First it sends a message of unacceptable behavior which will permeate the organization's culture.  Second, it rewards the wrong individual and legitimizes the conduct.  And, third, it could have disastrous effects for the company once exposed.

So, what is a company to do?

First:  Investigate the conduct -- even if you do not have an official complaint, but merely whisperings in the office (or a public acknowledgement at the Oscars).  Do not hesitate to properly investigate the conduct alleged.  Hire an outside investigation firm, or contact your attorney for guidance.

Second, if the evidence warrants, take action.  Even if the person is your top performer, CEO, or best salesperson.  Sexual harassment is inexcusable.  Yes, even for you, Harvey Weinstein.

Apology NOT ACCEPTED.

Christina M. Reger, Esq. is a shareholder at Bazelon Less & Feldman, PC. She is licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Christina works with small and mid-sized business to prevent litigation from employees and applicants by ensuring that the employer has the proper policies and procedures in place, providing training and educating staff, and generally reviewing the operation to ensure compliance with the morass of employment laws. Christina offers a unique fee structure that provides predictability and accessibility to the legal services her clients need.

Posted by Christina M. Reger, Esq. | Post a Comment

Date: 1/18/2017 6:00 PM EST


By: Christina M. Reger


Just when you thought you had it all figured out, here comes the EEOC again. This time, the EEOC's latest Guidance is aimed at revising, consolidating and superseding four existing EEOC documents issued in the 1990s and portions of the EEOC Compliance Manual. The Guidance responds to a report issued by the EEOC's Select Task Force on a Study of Harassment in the Workplace, issued in June 2016, which I am sure all of you read. In case you have not, you can find the 95-page document here.

This report sets forth findings and recommendations about harassment prevention strategies, including how to effectively train employees to reduce incidents of harassment and effective employer policies.

So, in your copious amounts of free time, you can peruse the 75 page document and offer your comments to the EEOC.

Or....

you can read this blog to get the highlights and know what is coming down the pike -- often whether you like it or not.

The document does not focus solely on sexual harassment but addresses all types of harassment. As Chair Jenny R. Yang has stated, “Harassment remains a serious workplace problem that is the concern of all Americans. It is important for employers to understand the actions they can take today to prevent and address harassment in their workplaces. . . . The Commission looks forward to hearing public input on the proposed enforcement guidance."

The Guidance also focuses on defining and evaluating a hostile-work environment claim as well as the basis for holding employers liable. It also provides examples of unlawful conduct. Now is the perfect time to take a fresh look at your harassment policies and see if yours is up to snuff.

The EEOC will accept public input until February 9, 2017.


Helping small businesses avoid litigation from employees and applications in an environment where employment laws are changing every day.

Posted by Christina M. Reger, Esq. | Post a Comment

Date: 1/3/2017 6:01 PM EST



By: Christina M. Reger

So it's 2017. What will you do differently? What goals have you set for your company?

No business resolution list is complete without an examination of your HR policies and employee issues.

Specifically, here are the top five issues an employer should examine in 2017:

1. Are your employees classified correctly?

Even though the new overtime regulations seem to have died on the vine, it doesn't change the fact that many of your employees may be misclassified and entitled to overtime anyway. To ensure good health and good wealth in the new year, you should examine your workforce and make sure that those employees that are entitled to overtime are getting it.

2. Are your independent contractors really employees?

You know that contractor that has been working full-time with your company for years, or is now performing a function that is core to your operations? Perhaps they are not (or no longer) really independent. The Department of Labor's crusade on this issue has not (and likely will not) die.

3. Has your employee handbook been reviewed and updated?

With all of the changes in the law in just the last year or two, it’s time to dust off that employee handbook, make sure it's still accurate and that it says what you want it to say. Remember, if you have a dissatisfied employee, the first place they will look is your handbook. Do you know what it says?

4. Are you hiring in 2017?

Great, hiring is a sign of growth. But, hiring has become its own landmine. Make sure you comply with the FCRA, the new I-9 regulations, Ban the Box, and the anticipated regulations on asking about salary requirements. If you have no idea what I am talking about, time to talk to your trusted employment attorney.
 

5. Do you have a social media policy? And if you do, when was it updated?

So two points if you have a policy, but if you haven't updated it in 6 months, it is out of date. Since then Facebook launched a live feature and the government launched worker.gov (see my prior post here), among the many, many changes to social media. Time to take a look at what you have by way of social media.

So there you have it. I could go on, but that should be enough to keep you busy for quite some time.

Wishing all of you a prosperous and litigation-free new year!


Helping small businesses avoid litigation from employees and applications in an environment where employment laws are changing every day.

Posted by Christina M. Reger, Esq. | Post a Comment

Date: 11/18/2016 6:04 PM EST


By: Christina M. Reger

Hot off the presses, the EEOC published its fiscal year 2016 Performance Report. For a quick summary of the 104 page report, you can click on the press release, or just read this post.

In a nutshell, the agency secured $482M for victims of discrimination. The good news, that number is down from the approximately $525M collected in FY 2015.
 

 An increase in EEOC staff has resulted in the resolution of 97,443 claims; more than the number of actual complaints received last year.

The agency received 585,000 calls to its toll free number, and handled 160,000 pre-charge inquires.

So what does all of this mean? A whole lot of people think to call the EEOC if they have an issue.

In case you want to read the entire report, or are having trouble sleeping at night, you can find the complete report here.

Want to know what the EEOC plans to do in the next few years?

In its Strategic Enforcement Plan released last month, the EEOC summarizes six areas where it intends to focus its activities in the coming year....that is assuming President-elect Trump doesn't have other plans.

The six areas are:

Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring;

Protecting immigrant, migrant and other vulnerable workers;

Addressing emerging and developing employment discrimination issues;

Enforcing equal pay laws;

Preserving access to the legal system; and

Preventing harassment through systemic enforcement and targeted outreach.

Notable updates from the last Plan include, 1) issues related to complex employment relationships in the 21st century workplace; and 2) backlash discrimination against those who are Muslim or Sikh, or persons of Arab, Middle Eastern or South Asian descent, as well as persons perceived to be members of these groups, as tragic events in the United States and abroad have increased the likelihood of discrimination against these communities.

The Plan suggests that if you are an individual represented by an attorney with a harassment claim, best to go to court because you will not be on the EEOC's agenda. But if you are a group of individuals complaining about (a) Americans with Disabilities Act coverage, including reasonable accommodations, qualification standards, or undue hardship; or (b) pregnancy accommodations; or c) LGBT rights, you may get asked to stay for dinner.

So..... employers, the flip side of that observation is that if you have THAT employee, who is complaining about harassment, rather than seeing an EEOC charge in your mailbox, you may be handed a lawsuit filed in federal court.

Helping small businesses avoid litigation from employees and applications in an environment where employment laws are changing every day.









Posted by Christina M. Reger, Esq. | Post a Comment

Date: 11/11/2016 6:06 PM EST


By: Christina M. Reger

Many of you have often asked me how to keep up with all of the laws, rules and regulations that govern employers. I am going to make your life a little bit easier. Well, I can't take all the credit, the EEOC's new Small Business Resource Center can help. I am just the person making sure you know about it.

So what is this all about? Recently, the EEOC announced the release of an online resource center that" provides a user-friendly one-stop source for information on federal employment anti-discrimination laws."

As Commissioner Constance Barker stated,

Startups and other small businesses continue to play an integral role in the strength of our nation's economy. It is our responsibility as a federal government agency to help businesses understand their legal obligations under the complex and ever-changing laws and regulations we enforce. We want small businesses to be able to quickly and easily access the information they need to comply with the laws. It is our hope that the Small Business Resource Center will help them do just that, so that they can focus their time and efforts on growing their businesses and creating new jobs.

But which laws apply to your small business, you ask? Good question. The EEOC explains here what laws apply depending on the size of your business. A fact sheet will summarize the most pertinent information for you. There is even a link to frequently asked questions, which provides even more links to answers to your most burning EEOC questions.

In short, the Small Business Resource Center is a handy dandy tool for small business to quickly access information and answer questions. But, it still requires something that small business owners often do not have...TIME. So, I have another solution, you can always call that employment lawyer that specializes in working with small businesses.


Helping small businesses avoid litigation from employees and applications in an environment where employment laws are changing every day.

Posted by Christina M. Reger, Esq. | Post a Comment

Date: 11/3/2016 5:50 PM EDT


By: Christina M. Reger

To help employees address their pressing employment problems, the Department of Labor is introducing:

worker.gov

What is it?

The website is a collaborative effort between the Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Justice. According to the Department of Labor blog, the website "remov[es] the guesswork, and provid[es] workers access to critical information about their rights under the major labor statutes in a way that makes sense for them."

How does it work?

The site will ask you what your job title is, and then provide the employee with many handy links to educate them on a variety of employment law problems. Clicking on a link to explain the problem will provide them with another link to file a claim, right from the worker.gov site.

Does it apply to everyone?

As the DOL explains, "in the coming weeks and months, the site will expand to target more and more occupations, informed by use and feedback. In future releases, as users answer more questions, the site will learn to narrow in on the precise information that workers need most. For example, if workers who identify as construction workers most often look for information about worker safety and wage theft, the site will begin to feature that information more prominently for users who identify themselves as construction workers."

The beta version was launched last Friday, October 28.


Helping small businesses avoid litigation from employees and applications in an environment where employment laws are changing every day.

Posted by Christina M. Reger, Esq. | Post a Comment

Date: 8/5/2016 5:48 PM EDT


By: Christina M. Reger

Well, it's not like I didn't warn you that this day was coming.

Today, the United States Department of Labor issued a press release stating that it has signed a three year agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry to "provide accurate and easy-to-access outreach to employers, employees and other stakeholders; share resources; and enhance enforcement by conducting coordinated investigations and sharing information consistent with applicable law."

Right...

Dr. David Weil of the U.S. DOL describes the program as follows: “The Wage and Hour Division continues to attack this problem head on through a combination of a robust education and outreach, and nationwide, data-driven strategic enforcement across industries. Our goal is always to strive toward workplaces with decreased misclassification, increased compliance, and more workers receiving a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.”

The Press Release can be found here.

For more information on the misclassification issue, click on the DOL resource here.

Think your independent contractors may be misclassified, check out the factors in my July 20, 2015 post.

So what does this mean for you?

Big brother is not just watching, but he's coming to a theater near you. If you have independent contractors and you have not evaluated whether they truly are independent contractors, now is the time, lest you be buying Uncle Sam a big bucket of popcorn to join you for the double feature.


Helping small businesses avoid litigation from employees and applications in an environment where employment laws are changing every day.
















Posted by Christina M. Reger, Esq. | Post a Comment

THIS IS JUST AN RTE - AND CAN BE DELETED ONCE APPROPRIATE WORDPRESS INFORMATION IS ADDED INTO THE BLOG WIDGET ABOVE HERE.  THIS IS ONLY HERE TO SHOW THE APPROXIMATE WIDTH OF THE BLOG POST AREA IN THE EVENT THAT THERE ISN'T ANY PLACEHOLDER INFO IN THE DEFAULT WIDGET.

THIS IS ALSO JUST AN RTE - SAME THING AS THE ONE OVER THERE <------ OR UP THERE ^^^ (if you're looking at this on a device with a browser width of 769px or below) BUT THIS IS FOR THE BLOG ARCHIVE PLACEHOLDER

© 2018 Bazelon Less & Feldman, P.C. All rights reserved.