Expert Employment Attorneys in Cleveland, Columbus and Detroit
Whether you are an employee or an employer, Herman Legal Group can investigate any claim, determine whether any laws were violated, and represent you in court. We understand what’s at stake for you personally and professionally and will strive to help the law work on your side. Please read through the more common types of employment law cases that we handle and feel free to call us at 1 (800) 808-4013 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Sexual harassment is a discriminatory behavior that leaves the victim feeling marginalized and debased. Fortunately, there are laws protecting employees from sexual harassment in the workplace. If you have been the target of sexual harassment, you want an attorney that is both experienced and compassionate. Our Cleveland sexual harassment attorneys provide personal counsel and aggressive litigation services in sexual harassment cases.
As an employee, you should be aware that your employer is not legally allowed to treat you unfavorably on the basis of your gender. This includes any form of discrimination or any type of sexual harassment, whether it be physical, verbal, or otherwise. All companies are required to have a way for employees to report harassment, and they are required to correct and prevent unlawful harassment within the workplace. If you have followed the appropriate policies and your employer does not act on your harassment report, you can, and should, bring a lawsuit against it. In addition, an employer is not allowed to retaliate against you for filing a complaint or bringing a lawsuit. If this occurs, we can help.
Defining Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Sexual harassment consists of a pattern of unwelcome behavior that might include:
- A sexually offensive work environment
- Sexual comments or innuendos
- Requests for sexual favors
- Physical contact
- Off-color jokes
The law recognizes two types of sexual harassment:
- Quid pro quo – where a superior makes an employee’s hiring, retention, performance review, promotion or benefits dependent upon sexual favors.
- Hostile work environment – where a pattern of unwelcome sexual talk or conduct is so pervasive that an employee cannot be comfortable on the job.
If you have been accused of committing sexual harassment, let the trusted legal team at Herman Legal Group help protect your reputation and legal status.
Despite strict federal and state laws designed to protect workers from employment discrimination, the sad reality is that workplace discrimination still occurs at varying positions in both small businesses and large corporations. In 2016 alone, over 91,000 employee discrimination lawsuits were resolved across the United States. If you believe that you have been a victim of employment discrimination, it is important to know that you are not alone. There are ways to fight this unfair and illegal treatment, and the law is on your side.
What Constitutes Discrimination
Unlawful discrimination refers to unfair or unequal treatment of an individual (or group) based on certain characteristics, including:
- Physical or mental disability
- National origin
- Sexual orientation
- Marital status
- Pregnancy status
Discrimination law is laid out in federal and state statutes that govern employee-employer relationships. Our attorneys are adept at handling cases involving any number of regulatory violations, including:
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
- Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
- Ohio Human Rights Act
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
- Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other whistleblower protections
Protecting You Against Retaliation
In addition to laws intended to protect employees from workplace discrimination, there are also regulations meant to safeguard workers from retaliation. In Ohio, Michigan, and across the United States, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for reporting harassment or discrimination or participating in an ongoing workplace investigation.
Yet this doesn’t prevent employers from doing just that. Employers often retaliate against employees who they believe are causing trouble or bringing unwanted negative attention to the company. This retaliation can come in many forms, including:
- Recruitment and hiring
- Promotions and demotions
- Work environment
- Job training
- Work assignments
- Performance reviews
- Wages and benefits
- Family or medical leave
How We Can Help
Herman Legal Group attorneys can handle discrimination claims for employees and employers through all phases of their cases, including preliminary mediation, meetings, and negotiation. If an agreement cannot be reached during this time, we take our clients’ cases to court. If you are a state or federal employee whose case must be heard by an administrative board or commission, we can assist you as well.
Whistleblowing / Retaliation
Although Ohio is an “at will” employment state, employers may not fire employees for unlawful reasons, including age, disability, sex, pregnancy, race, national origin or religion. Along the same lines, an employer may not terminate or discriminate an employee for whistleblowing.
Under the law, whistleblowers are protected from retaliation if you have, in good conscience, alerted management or authorities to any of the following:
- A violation of the law
- Gross mismanagement
- Gross waste of funds
- Abuse of authority
- Serious safety violations
Whistleblowers are also protected against discrimination or wrongful termination for:
- Reporting a worker’s compensation injury
- Making a claim about gender, age, disability, religious, or racial discrimination
- After returning from FMLA or disability leave
Although there are many different ways in which an employer may retaliate against a “troublesome” employee, our experienced attorneys can investigate your claim, determine whether the law was violated, and represent you in court. If you feel you have been unjustly disciplined as a result of filing a whistleblower claim, Herman Legal Group can help.
Severance / Negotiations
A severance package is a deal, and the deal is very simple: you, as the former employee, receive compensation and your former employer receives various protections. Usually, your employers will seek a general release of claims, confidentiality, or sometimes, an agreement that you won’t speak poorly of the company once you have been terminated. Put plainly, you have things your employer wants to buy when you are terminated and now you need to negotiate what you are willing to sell and and at what price.
Upon leaving employment at your company, you may be asked to review and sign a severance package that contains complicated, detailed legal language about future compensation and rights to take legal action against your employer. This agreement will usually state that you have been informed that you should seek the advice of an attorney before signing the agreement. It is recommended that you follow this advice and contact an attorney.
Severance is rarely the “take-it-or-leave-it” proposition that companies lead many employees to believe. It’s an interactive process, but what is important to remember is that you only get one shot at doing it right. Your objective is to do your best for yourself and your family, and position yourself for the start of the next chapter of a successful career.
Our experienced severance agreement attorneys can help you negotiate fairly and firmly with your employer to get you the best terms possible. We will consult with employers, management, executives, and businesses on the drafting of these agreements to ensure compliance with best practices employment policies and conformity with governing labor laws, negotiations, and related legal services.
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