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Some workplace laws may be misunderstood

Posted on February 8th, 2012 Read time: 1 minutes

How well do your employees understand workplace laws? One job of HR administration is to educate workers about their rights and how to protect themselves from wrongful actions.

A recent New Jersey Newsroom article touches on definitions of certain workplace terms – such as hostile work environment, wrongful termination and severance – that some employees may have misconceptions about.

For instance, a hostile work environment is not one in which a manager is merely rude or lacks civility. There is no rule that states an employee is entitled to a perfect workplace. However, sexual harassment or discrimination based on race, religion, age or disability may fall under the category of hostile.

In addition, because most workers are classified as "employees-at-will," managers can fire them even if there's no seemingly reasonable cause. It may be because the employers simply didn't like the worker – it may sound unfair, but it's not illegal. What is illegal is firing someone based on age, gender, race, ethnicity or disability.

Lastly, severance is not entitled after termination, even if the employer has offered it to other fired workers.

WDAF-TV reports that the Missouri state senate recently voted to pass a bill that would change the definition of workplace discrimination to be more in line with the 1964 Civil Rights Act, making it harder for workers to prove they'd been discriminated against.
 

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