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Detroit Employment Law Blog

Crack the glass ceiling and help end workplace discrimination

If each of the women working in Detroit took a swing at a sheet of thick glass, what do you imagine might happen? Every strike would crack the glass until the entire thing shattered into irreparable shards. It is a great example of how it takes strength and unity to create real change.

Failure to promote keeps women firmly in place beneath the glass ceiling. Make no mistake; this is workplace discrimination in one its most enduring forms. In the age of enlightenment, we believe this kind of gender discrimination is archaic and detrimental to the growth of society as a whole. In simpler terms, it is wrong for everyone and it is against the laws governing American employment.

Are women still being unfairly denied CEO positions?

March is Women's History Month, where we honor women's contributions to society. Part of that includes celebrating women continuing to make great strides in the workplace. In many companies, however, there may be a glass ceiling for women in the workforce who are trying to reach the executive suites.

According to figures released this month by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 27 percent of CEOs in the United States are women. While that figure is higher now than in years past, it is still low when considering that women make up 47 percent of the country's workforce.

What is a golden parachute clause in an employment contract?

In simple terms, a golden parachute is simply a severance package. However, it is unlike almost all severance agreements because the value of a golden parachute is typically substantial. Entry-level or even mid-level employees will probably never be offered a golden parachute in their employment contracts. This clause is reserved for top, executive-level employees only.

The basic purpose of golden parachutes in employment contracts is to recruit top-level executives. In addition to more ordinary incentives like base compensation, stock options and bonuses, the inclusion of a golden parachute is an effective way of enticing new executives into a company. These clauses may go into effect for a regular termination or in the event of a business merger in which an executive loses his or her job.

Is your employer withholding your commissions?

Many times, sales people miss out on commissions because their employers unfairly withhold them. This can be because of jealousy, discrimination, or any number of reasons. Here in Michigan, however, you have rights to recover the money that you have earned.

What are some examples of whistleblower retaliation in Detroit?

Despite belief to the contrary, employers in Detroit cannot treat their workers however they like. Employers do have some leeway in how they manage employees, but laws are in place to ensure workers remain protected from certain behaviors. Retaliation against whistleblowers is one of these prohibited behaviors.

The problem for many whistleblowers is that they are not sure what constitutes retaliation and they may not think to ask questions like yours. This post should help you and other readers better identify whistleblower retaliation in the workplace. Below are the examples you requested.

What constitutes age-related workplace discrimination?

In the United States, all citizens have the right to acquire gainful employment regardless of their age. Employers must abide by these laws and refrain from engaging in workplace discrimination because of a worker's age. Like other forms of workplace discrimination, age discrimination is often confusing to workers. As a result, many of them might not know if discrimination is occurring.

It is important for aging members of the Detroit workforce to learn about these laws. Asking questions like yours is one of the best ways to start learning. In 1967, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was put into place. It protects workers aged 40 and older from discrimination. Examples of age discrimination prohibited by the ADEA include the following.

Negotiating compensation in your executive employment contract

Executive level employees must often sign employment contracts upon hiring. While employment contracts are valuable tools in establishing the rights and responsibilities of all parties, it is vital to ensure the contract will benefit your needs as an employee. Contract negotiations can provide Detroit executives with the means to control some of the risky aspects of a written contract such as the compensation package.

As employment law attorneys serving residents of Detroit, Michigan, we like to advise executives to consider working with a lawyer during these important negotiations. This ensures that your employee rights remain protected and that your contract contains a compensation package that meets your needs.

Debunking common myths about blowing the whistle

Why is "blowing the whistle" about corruption so important? Any time companies, employees or supervisors engage in illegal activity, it harms the economy. This is just as true in the Detroit region of Michigan as it is in New York City. Unfortunately, there is a stigma attached to whistleblowers that may make other people afraid to come forward. The risk of retaliation in the workplace is also a deterring factor for would-be whistleblowers.

Below are three myths associated with blowing the whistle as well as information to debunk the myths. Hopefully, more people will come forward to report corruption after learning how blowing the whistle really works.

Am I bound by my noncompete agreement?

Many workers who are considering moving on from their current place of employment are shocked to learn that their employment contract contains a "noncompete agreement." If it is too restrictive, it can prevent you from earning a living in your chosen field at anywhere other than your current employer.

Whether you are negotiating a contract, your employer has asked you to sign a new noncompete agreement, or you have already signed a contract containing the clause, it is important to remember that you may still have rights.

Workplace discrimination can begin during the interview process

Have you ever been interviewed for a job and began to feel uncomfortable during the process? These awkward or downright unsettling interviews typically begin well but may begin to deteriorate if the interviewer begins to ask uncomfortable questions. Before you know it, the tone of the interview has made you feel more like a target instead of a potential employee.

If the above scenario sounds familiar, you may have been the target of workplace discrimination during a job interview. This can happen to anyone regardless of race or gender, but it is often women who are targeted in this manner. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 protect women from workplace discrimination, even during a job interview, but it can still happen in Detroit and other Michigan cities.