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Uche O. Asonye, CPA, JD, founded the Chicago law firm of Asonye & Associates in 1993. His firm concentrates on workplace issues, immigration law, employment, and civil litigation. His practice includes employment contracts, discrimination, workplace harassment issues as well as immigration, with special focus on physicians, health care workers and medical institutions. The firm relies on advanced technology to provide competent and cost effective representation for clients

This Hospitalist had experienced a number of hardships in her personal life that made finishing the three year requirement in her original place of employment a near impossibility. After an initial consult with the Hospitalist, we determined that her situation provided a strong argument for extenuating circumstances that would allow the doctor to pursue a J-1 Waiver Transfer.

This Hospitalist was engaged to a fellow physician who was serving their J-1 Waiver time across the country. This long distance resulted in a serious strain on the Hospitalist's time and energy through frequent travel. The stresses resulting from this were further compounded by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in additional risks around frequent travel. Additionally, the Hospitalist became pregnant, and due to the stresses and requirements of the work and distance, it became increasingly difficult for her to maintain her busy schedule in a healthy manner without any family or loved ones nearby to provide support.

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Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration announced it would be granting temporary protective status (TPS) to Ukraine citizens, or those who last habitually resided in the Ukraine who have no nationality, who have been living in the U.S. without legal documentation since March 1 or earlier. If you are eligible for this status, it would give you permission to stay and work in the US for 18 months. This time can be extended by the administration if the conditions in the Ukraine have not improved by the end of the designation.

TPS is intended to protect citizens from countries where they are experiencing armed conflict or a natural disaster that makes it unsafe to return. However, this does not provide for permanent residency. You can apply for this status even if you currently possess a valid non-permanent visa, like a visitor (B-1/B-1) or a student (F-1/F-1) visa. This helps protect you from deportation when those visas expire or while you are in the process of applying for a more permanent visa.

Since this is not intended to be a permanent status, the best action after filing and being granted TPS is to start looking at other more permanent visa options. Asonye and Associates can help you navigate the immigration process during this hard time and help you find more permanent status in the US. Please do not hesitate to call us or fill out the Contact Us form on our website.

On December 14, 2021, the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it added a new section in its COVID-19 technical assistance clarifying under what circumstance COVID-19 may be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

COVID-19 is an actual disability under the ADA if the person's medical condition or any of its symptoms is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. This assessment is done on a case-by-case basis and is a fact specific inquiry. EEOC provides few examples of individuals who would and would not qualify to have a COVID disability. An ADA disability does not apply to an employee whose COVID-19 result in mild symptoms that resolve in a few weeks and have no other effect on the person.

Furthermore, an employee who is disabled due to COVID is only entitled to a reasonable accommodation when their disability requires it and the accommodation does not pose an undue hardship for the employer.

After filing a charge with EEOC, a notice of the charge will be sent to the employer within 10 days of the filing date. In some cases, both you and the employer will be asked to take part in mediation. In this process, a mediator will try to help achieve a voluntary settlement by discussing the concerns of both sides. Mediators don't decide or pick sides, rather they suggest ways to solve problems and disagreements.

If the charge is not sent to mediation or if the situation is not resolved, the employer is usually asked to submit a "Respondent's Position Statement." After the statement is available to you, you must provide a response within 20 days.

EEOC will investigate the charge by holding interviews of supervisors and co-workers or by asking for documents. On average, an investigation can take about 10 months to complete, depending on the information needed to be gathered and analyzed.

You can amend your charge after you file it if new discriminatory events take place. You also have the option to file a new charge of discrimination. After the amendment or new charge of discrimination is filed, the document will be sent to the employer and the new events will be investigated with the original charge.

If the charge is filed under Title VII or under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you will need a Notice of Right to Sue from EEOC before filing a lawsuit in federal court. However, you must allow EEOC 180 days to resolve the charge.

If EEOC determines that the employer violated the law, EEOC may try to reach a voluntary settlement with the employer.

How the Build Back Better Act Can Turn the US Economy Around

COVID-19 has exposed major gaps in the U.S. labor force, including immigration concerns for millions of foreign workers due to USCIS processing delays.

Immigration experts point out that in addition to policy changes during the Trump administration, which made work authorization even more strenuous for asylum seekers and immigrants coming to the US, COVID-19 exacerbated the issue with further consulate and agency closures in alignment with quarantine measures. The foreign nationals already in the US have been waiting for months or over a year for work authorization. This major delay has led to these individuals to make the difficult decision to quit their jobs after their current authorization expires. By the end of June 2021, more than 1.3 million work authorization applications were pending with USCIS and an estimated 1.5 million immigrants are still waiting for employment-based green cards, with roughly 850,000 of those workers simply waiting to adjust their status. USCIS has tried to alleviate some of the backlog by taking certain measures such as: temporarily suspending certain biometrics requirements for some groups and granting extensions of work permits, but the issue persists.

It is estimated by the Census Bureau that there were over 1 million immigrants in the US in 2016, leaving only about 480,000 in 2020, according to JPMorgan Researchers. The steady decline of immigrant workers coupled with the 1.7 million people that retired during the pandemic, has threatened not only the labor force but also the overall economic productivity.

The Democrat's $1.7 trillion Build Back Better legislation is aimed at addressing the labor force gap caused partly by immigration complications due to USCIS delays and backlogs. To provide some background, Employment-based visas are capped at 140,000 each year and will expire at the end of the year if they go unused. Currently individuals from any one country only have access to about 7% of the annual amount of work-based and family-based green cards, with individuals from certain countries facing a wait that spans years. The proposed legislation would recapture immigrant visas starting from 1992, which could potentially open up 157,000 work-based visas and about 262,000 family-based visas – both allowing applicants to work.

The bill has yet to be passed due to lack of support from Republicans and there are those who criticize the effectiveness of the act. For example, The Federation for American Immigration Reform argued in an analysis of the Build Back Better act that "the sudden increase in the supply of legal labor generated by amnesty would likely further contribute to wage stagnation, giving employers even less incentive to raise wages." Robert Law, director of regulatory affairs and policy at the Center for Immigration Studies, adds that he is concerned the funds proposed would not be enough to combat the immense backlog issues UCSIC is facing. Law believes that "There's too much volume, there's too many other obstacles."

Despite the concerns, the Build Back Better Act is focused on providing temporary protection and work authorization to an estimated 7 million undocumented immigrants — including Dreamers and farmworkers — who are already in the U.S., leading Democrats to remain hopeful that this will kickstart the economic recovery.

On March 23, 2021, Governor J. B. Pritzker signed into law S.B. 1480, which amends certain sections of the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA).

Among three amendments, one change adopted by this law makes it a civil rights violation for any employer to use a conviction record when making employment decisions such as hiring, promoting, discharging, and renewing employment unless specified exceptions apply. Employers may consider a conviction record if there is a substantial relationship between the criminal offense and the employment or the employment would involve an unreasonable risk to property or to the safety or welfare of a specific individual.

If employer's preliminary employment decision is based on a person's conviction record, the employer must notify the person in writing. This notification requires specific information to be disclosed: 1) the disqualifying conviction(s) and employer's reasoning for the disqualification, 2) copy of the conviction history report and 3) explanation of the individual's rights to respond to the notice.

The employee or job applicant gets at least 5 business days to respond before employer makes a final decision. If employer makes a final employment decision based on the conviction, the employer must notify the employee in writing with the following: 1) notice of the disqualifying conviction and employer's reasoning, 2) existing procedures to challenge the decision or request reconsideration with the employer and 3) the right to file a charge with the Illinois Department of Human Rights.

This change imposes a firmer requirement on the use of a conviction record when employers make employment related decisions.

In early April 2017, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled that employer discrimination against an employee’s sexual orientation is illegal. In an 8-3 decision, the 7th Circuit held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 affords the same protections to sexual orientation as it does to sex.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national origin, color, and sex. For many years, the 7th Circuit understood that Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex excluded sexual orientation. While the Supreme Court of the United States never expressly answered this question, the Supreme Court’s recent decisions regarding sex discrimination convinced the 7th Circuit to look at the language of Title VII with fresh and modern eyes.

The Supreme Court’s decisions over the last two decades broadly interpreted discrimination on the basis of sex to include interracial marriages, sexual harassment in the workplace (including same-sex sexual harassment in the workplace), and discrimination based on gender or sex stereotyping. The 7th Circuit used the Supreme Court’s framework and analysis when reviewing Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana.

In Hively, the Plaintiff was an openly married lesbian woman who worked for the Defendant as a part-time Adjunct Professor for fourteen years. Between 2009 and 2014, the Plaintiff sought and applied for a full-time position at Ivy Tech at least six times. In 2014, her part-time contract was not renewed and the Plaintiff filed a charge with the EEOC, believing that the Defendant was spurning her employment opportunities because of her sexual orientation.

The 7th Circuit interpreted the language of Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex to mean that the Plaintiff was being disadvantaged because she was a woman and did not conform to “gender stereotypes.” Simply put, if the Plaintiff was born a man but everything else stayed the same, the Defendant would have not discriminated against her. The 7th Circuit believed allowing a policy on sexual orientation discrimination was based on assumptions about what was considered proper and normal behavior for someone of a given sex. The 7th Circuit reasoned this can no longer stand in light of the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision regarding same-sex marriages as a fundamental liberty that is protected by the Equal Protection Clause and Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution.

This is a landmark and historical ruling for the protection of sexual orientation in the workplace.

J-1 Waiver Granted to a Colombian Pulmonary and Critical Care Physician to Serve in an Underserved Area in San Antonio, Texas

This physician from Colombia completed her Internal Medicine Residency and Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Fellowship while on a J-1 Visa. To forgo the 2 year home residency requirement, the physician found a job in an underserved area in Texas with an employer who agreed to sponsor her J-1 Waiver and H-1B. 

The physicians group retained our firm to file the J-1 Waiver. In the application, we demonstrated that the area in which the physician will work had diminished access to medical care. We showed that the physicians group is trying to expand their services to satisfy the needs of the community and enhance its access to primary medical care reducing the need for emergency care. We also argued that this can only be accomplished by adequate physician staffing. With adequate physician staffing, the community that the doctor will serve will enjoy better access to health care, decreased hospital costs and reduced burden on the emergency departments. The application was approved and the physician’s 2 year foreign residence requirement was waived. After we secured the J-1 Waiver, we successfully applied for the physician’s H-1B visa.

J-1 Waiver Granted to a Colombian Pulmonary and Critical Care Physician to Serve in an Underserved Area in San Antonio, Texas

This physician from Colombia completed her Internal Medicine Residency and Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Fellowship while on a J-1 Visa. To forgo the 2 year home residency requirement, the physician found a job in an underserved area in Texas with an employer who agreed to sponsor her J-1 Waiver and H-1B.

The physicians group retained our firm to file the J-1 Waiver. In the application, we demonstrated that the area in which the physician will work had diminished access to medical care. We showed that the physicians group is trying to expand their services to satisfy the needs of the community and enhance its access to primary medical care reducing the need for emergency care. We also argued that this can only be accomplished by adequate physician staffing. With adequate physician staffing, the community that the doctor will serve will enjoy better access to health care, decreased hospital costs and reduced burden on the emergency departments. The application was approved and the physician’s 2 year foreign residence requirement was waived. After we secured the J-1 Waiver, we successfully applied for the physician’s H-1B visa.

A Physician’s Group in Oklahoma retained our firm to assist with the employment of three hospitalists in H-1B status. The Physician’s Group serviced hospitals in medically underserved areas and needed to fill part-time positions. The Physician’s Group understood how complex the immigration process is and wanted to ensure that this second employment would not negatively impact the physicians’ current H-1B status and full time employment. Our firm filed concurrent H-1Bs for each physician. In the petition, we outlined the details of the position including the location, duties, and the number of hours required of each physician. Two of the physicians also had previously secured J-1 Waivers. In drafting the concurrent H-1B petitions, our firm ensured that the physicians continued to fulfill all the requirements of their J-1 Waivers. Once our firm confirmed that the moonlighting met all the requirements and would not negatively impact the physicians’ current visas, we successfully submitted the petitions and received an approval shortly after.

In May 2016, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued final rules regarding minimum overtime salary levels. The new overtime rule was intended to go into effect on December 1, 2016 and requires that nearly all salaried employees earning less than $913 per week, or $47,476 annually, be eligible for time-and-a-half overtime pay; more than doubling the previous minimum salary level. The new overtime rule also mandates that future automatic updates to the new minimum salary levels will occur every three years, starting January 1, 2020.

On November 22, 2016, a federal district court judge in Texas enjoined the Department of Labor from implementing the new overtime rule on December 1, 2016. This injunction was the result of a suit brought against the DOL by several states, business groups, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Plaintiff parties claim that the DOL exceeded its regulatory authority by substantially raising the salary threshold and providing automatic updates. The preliminary injunction will halt the implementation of the new overtime rule until the case is fully adjudicated.

Employers make take a risk by not implementing the new overtime rule on December 1, 2016. If the injunction is vacated by the district court judge or on appeal before the 5th Circuit, employers that elect to defer compliance may still have liability exposure for those employees who should have been treated as nonexempt. Employers should still have a plan to move forward under the new overtime rule, if necessary.

In May 2016, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued final rules regarding minimum overtime salary levels. The new overtime rule goes into effect on December 1, 2016 and requires that nearly all salaried employees earning less than $913 per week, or $47,476 annually, be eligible for time-and-a-half overtime pay. The new overtime rule more than doubles the previous minimum salary level of $455 per week, or $23,660 annually.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, unless designated exempt, employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours. This was the case prior to and under the new rule. However, the new overtime rule expands the regulations for determining whether an employee is exempt. Exemption applies to employees in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity; often referred to as the “white collar” exemption or the EAP exception.

To determine exemption status, the DOL evaluates an employee based on three tests: 1. the Salary Basis Test; 2. the Salary Level Test; and 3. the Duties Test. Under the Salary Basis Test, exempt employees must be salaried, meaning they are paid a predetermined and fixed salary that is not subject to reduction because of variations in the quality or quantity of work performed. The Salary Level Test designates that exempt employees must be paid more than a specified weekly salary level. Under the Duties Test, exempt employees must primarily perform executive, administrative, or professional duties. The Salary Level Test and Salary Basis Test do not apply to doctors, lawyers, teachers or employees in outside sales. The new regulations have also adjusted the exception for some highly compensated employees (“HCE”), who now must earn more than $134,004 (up from $100,000) and satisfy a minimal duties test to be exempt.

The primary focus of the new overtime rule is to update the threshold of the weekly compensation level needed under the Salary Level Test for an employee to be excempt; now $913 per week, or the equivalent of $47,476 annually. The DOL set the new salary level at the current 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest wage Census Region (currently the South). In an effort to maintain this status, future automatic updates to the new minimum salary levels will occur every three years, starting January 1, 2020. The DOL did not make any changes to the duties test for the administrative, executive, professional, or highly compensated employee exemptions.

The new rule is estimated to have a substantial impact by extending overtime pay to approximately 4.2 million people who were previously exempt. These employees will either: 1. need to be reclassified as non-exempt and paid overtime whenever they work more than 40 hours in a workweek; or 2. receive an increase in their salary to meet the new requirement. However, employers will experience some reprieve. Under the new overtime rule, for the first time, employers will be able to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10 percent of the standard salary level, provided these payments are made on a quarterly or more frequent basis. Employers may also make a “catch up” payment. Penalties for violations of this rule could be severe and it is advisable that employers seek legal counsel before the implementation of the rule.

Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois (September 30, 2016)

Our client filed a charge and complaint of discrimination based on sexual harassment, sex discrimination, retaliation, assault and battery against her former employer. Our client claimed that over the course of approximately 5 months, her employer made numerous inappropriate sexual comments and sexual advances towards her. Some of the claims included our client’s employer commenting on her appearance, touching her thigh, breast, and buttocks, grabbing her by the hips and pushing her head towards his lap, pulling her onto his lap and asking her to touch his erect penis, and offering to purchase her a car in exchange for sex. Our client rebuffed every instance of inappropriate sexual conduct and consequently was terminated.

After the complaint was filed, Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgement. This Motion was denied by the Honorable Judge and the case went to a jury trial. The jury found in favor of our client on all counts and awarded her $1,800 in lost wages, $15,000 in compensatory damages, and $135,000 in punitive damages.  
 

The newly published final rule will allow more nonprofit entities to take advantage of the exemption.

USCIS has published a final rule on November 18, 2016 which introduces a fourth option to meet the exemption from the H-1B quota. A nonprofit entity can claim cap exemption by demonstrating that it has entered into a formal written affiliation agreement with an institution of higher education that establishes an active working relationship between the nonprofit entity and the institution for the purposes of research or education, and the fundamental activity of the nonprofit entity is to directly contribute to the research of education mission of the institution of higher education.

In the proposed rule, the term “primary purpose” was used instead of “fundamental activity.” However, in response to the public comments which suggested the term “primary purpose” was too restrictive, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) replaced “primary purpose” with “fundamental activity.” DHS expects that this substitution of the terms will allow more nonprofit entities to take advantage of the exemption. In the commentary preceding the regulation, DHS also clarified that if a nonprofit entity is engaged in more than one fundamental activity, it can still  take advantage of the exemption because the exemption requires that at least one of these fundamental activities directly contributes to research or education of an institution of higher education. This rule will go into effect on January 17, 2017.

Extenuating Circumstances for J-1 Waiver Transfer Approved Due to Hostile Work Environment and potential danger to US citizen Spouse and Child

April 25, 2016 - After obtaining a j-1 waiver and H-1B visa, this internal medicine physician began his j-1 waiver job in California. Shortly after he initiated his employment, the employer began engaging in illegal and unethical conduct as well as harassment, mistreatment, and retaliation against the physician. In addition, throughout his employment, the physician’s employer continuously disregarded and ignored the physician’s medical judgement, thereby jeopardizing the health of its patients and the safety of its community. After the physician complained of the harassment as well as the unfair compensation he faced, the physician was given a final warning.

In our petition, we argued that as a result of the employer’s behavior, the physician could not complete his j-1 waiver service. We also argued that the denial of the physician’s j-1 waiver transfer would cause extreme hardship on the physician’s spouse and young son, both US citizens. The physician’s wife has several mental illnesses and in the event of a denial, the physician and his family would need to return to India, a country that lacks adequate mental health care.

The physician and his new employer retained our firm to prepare and file the J-1/H-1B visa waiver transfer to another hospital in California. Our petition included a declaration signed by the physician, his spouse’s medical records reflecting her diagnoses, treatment plan, and her physician’s recommendations, as well as articles regarding the access to mental health care in India. USCIS approved the physician’s J-1/H-1B visa waiver transfer on April 25, 2016.

Russian Endocrinologist Granted NIW to Serve in Medically Underserved Community in Michigan

March 29, 2016 - This Russian national is an Endocrinologist that came to the United States on a J-1 visa in order to complete her residency training in Internal Medicine. Upon completion of her training program in 2012, she began her fellowship in Endocrinology, which she completed in 2014. Afterwards, we filed a J-1 visa waiver that waived the 2-year foreign home requirement and allowed her to remain in the US.

We were retained again recently to file this physician’s NIW in order for her to serve five years in an underserved community in Isabella County, Michigan. We stated that her employment will have an immediate and positive impact on the members of Isabella County by reducing the long wait by patients to see an endocrinologist, enhancing follow up procedures with the facility, as well as enchaining the availability and quality of care provided to patients. We also argued that a denial of the NIW would deprive the community of a specialty physician that can provide patients with much-needed preventative care. Her NIW was approved on March 29, 2016.

 

3.18.16

An H-1B Visa is not an immigration Visa but an alien visa that allows a foreign person to live and work in the United States for a specific employer. The employer is considered the sponsor. This is a good way for American companies to obtain legal foreign labor for specific industries.

 The H-1B Visa is only for occupations that require at least a 4-year college degree. This allows companies to get the skilled help they need, especially if it is simply not available in their area. Here are the steps that must be taken to obtain an H-1B Visa for an employee.

1.    Employer Files A Labor Condition Application

The sponsoring company must file an LCA with the Department Of Labor. This application is required to disclose wages and working conditions.

2.    Form I-29 Petition

This is the formal petition to request a worker be granted a VISA. Employers declare their need and desire to hire this person and commit to being the sponsor for a specific period as long as employment performance is satisfactory. Upon approval, the foreign worker can apply for the Visa personally.

3.    Pay Fees

There are fees associated with obtaining a visa. This fee is required for each Visa requested.

4.    H1-B Visa Personal Application

The foreign worker must apply themselves for the Visa. Asonye & Associates can help arrange the documents needed to make sure the process of applying for the Visa goes smoothly.

5.    Exemptions And Medical Professionals.

Specific professions such as those in the medical field face special regulations and rules to ensure they are qualified to practice medicine in the United States. This visa is for those that are entering residency programs. A 2-year residency in their native country after training is required but can sometimes be waived. If you need a J1 waiver in Chicago, then contact us for the help you need with this difficult process. There are other visa options available for medical staff.

Streamlining The Process

 

An attorney with experience in immigration law can save you a lot of time and money when it comes to getting a Visa. Asonye & Associates have experience in all immigration and visa matters. As a top deportation law firm in Chicago, we make sure that you get the help you need.

3.4.16

 

You just lost your job for no reason.  Or you weren’t hired and you know you were the most qualified.  You came back from having a child and you lost your job. Was this because of discrimination?

 

There are many forms of discrimination and it still happens today.  Laws make it illegal for an employer to take adverse employment action against you.  However, it can be difficult to prove.  First, let’s explore the true meaning of discrimination and what claims are out there. 

 

What Is Discrimination?

 

There are several laws that protect you and each law makes it illegal to discriminate against certain categories of people or protected classes.  You are only protected if you fall under one of these classes.  It is illegal to discriminate against someone based on age, race, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin or gender.  Also it is also illegal for an employer to discriminate against a woman based on pregnancy, childbirth or medical conditions related to the pregnancy and/or birth. Employers also can’t discriminate against people with a disability. 

 

What Types Of Discrimination Claims Can I Make?

 

Here are some discrimination claims:

 

•Discriminatory claim is when you feel your employer treated you worse because you were a member of a protected class or category.

•An impact claim is a type of discrimination based on the effect of an employment practice.  For example, if a company has a seemingly neutral policy rule or practice in place that negatively impacts a protected class like a strength requirement that females could not meet. 

•A retaliation claim is when an employer retaliates against an employee who engages in conduct that the law protects, like making a complaint about discrimination, or reporting a safety hazard.  

 

What Types Of Evidence Do I Need? 

 

Direct evidence is the best, which could be written documentation from your employer saying you need to be let go because of your age, but this is hard to get.  Other examples include verbal comments, memos, emails or a written policy.

 

Having these types of evidence is very unrealistic.  You must fit into one of these protected categories and have enough circumstantial evidence for a jury.

 

Some types of employment cases are easier to win than others such as retaliation cases.  Despite the amount of evidence you have, you will need to show that you are honest, respectful and accountable to prevail. 

 

More Questions? 

Give AA Law a call today to discuss.  We are here to help and will evaluate your case.

2.26.16

 

Are you working in an environment that makes you uneasy or uncomfortable?  Do you hear jokes and language that you feel are not appropriate?  Do you dread going to work because of this?  Harassment of any type does not belong in the workplace.

 

Defining Harassment

 

Sexual harassment is one form of harassment and includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and a verbal or physical conduct that:

 

•A person feels he or she needs to do in order to keep a job. 

•A person feels he or she needs to do in order for raises or promotions. 

•Conduct that interferes with a person’s work performance because it creates an offensive work environment. 

 

Along with sexual harassment, there are other types. Harassment is verbal or physical conduct that creates hostility toward an individual because of that person's race, skin color, religion, gender, national origin, age, or disability, and that: 

 

•Creates an offensive work environment 

•Interferes with work production 

•Limits a person’s employment opportunities 

 

What Does This Mean?

 

This can include slurs, negative stereotyping, intimidation, crude language, discussing sexual activities, using indecent gestures, sabotaging someone’s work, or any threats that relate to the categories listed above. 

 

Harassment can also be written or graphic material that shows aversion toward an individual, like sexually suggestive or racially insensitive.  These materials can be displayed on walls, bulletin boards and other locations throughout the workplace. 

 

Some important things to remember about harassment:

 

Both men and women can be victims of sexual harassment. 

•Either a man or a woman can be a harasser.  The employee who feels harassed against can be the same gender as the harasser (i.e. male harasser to another male employee.)

•A person can complain of harassment even if it wasn’t directed at him or her.  It can be directed at another person but someone else was affected by this conduct. 

•Harassment doesn’t always have to happen at work.  It can occur at company-sponsored events or between coworkers away from work. 

•Harassment situations can be peer-to-peer, supervisor-to-employee or even a third-party-to employee (such as a customer or vendor.)

Prevention is best to remove harassment from the workplace.  All employers are encouraged to complete training and other appropriate steps to prevent harassment.

 

If you feel you have been harassed and need an opinion to determine if you have a case, give AA Legal a call today.  We are here for you.

2.12.16

After seeking help in finding his stolen car, Salvadoran man is facing deportation 

Pedro Figueroa is facing deportation and was detained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement after contacting police officials to get help in finding his stolen car. However, it is actually a violation of laws that are designed to encourage all to come forward and report crimes, regardless of their legal status.  

In other words, San Francisco PD was not supposed to have contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, when Figueroa contacted them. However, there was an ICE agent waiting outside when Pedro arrived at the San Francisco Police Station, and he ended up being detained for “45 days and counting, at risk of deportation to danger and even death in El Salvador,” his lawyers noted in their statement on the case.  

Pedro Figueroa is an El Salvadoran man who has been living in San Francisco, and is a father to an eight-year-old girl. If San Francisco Police were indeed in violation of these immigration laws designed to allow everyone, regardless of citizenship status, the right to contact law enforcement to report crimes, this would be a very disturbing case. Pedro’s case is “now being reviewed by the immigration courts to determine whether he has a legal basis to remain in the U.S,” according to the statement made by ICE. 

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