Author: Derek Smith

Attorney Derek T. Smith is an experienced sexual harassment & discrimination law litigator who has particular experience in the areas of workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, civil rights litigation, employment law and civil litigation.

What Can You Do If Your Paycheck Is Incorrect?

How to Address Payroll Errors with Your Employer Mistakes happen. Sometimes, payroll and human resources make errors. They may dock you a couple of hours or forget to issue a paycheck on time for some reason or another. The key is that they must correct their mistakes quickly or risk legal trouble.  When your employer shorts your money in your paycheck or misses a paycheck entirely, you have a right to ask for it to be corrected. You also have a right to ask your employer to ensure it never happens again. However, what can you do if the problem continues or your employer retaliates ... Read more

Can My Boss Make Me Sign a Non-Compete Agreement?

A Non-Compete Clause in Your Employment Contract Prevents You from Working for Your Competitors. Is It Legal?  Many employers want to prevent employees from working for their competitors. They accomplish this result by requiring employees to sign a non-compete agreement when they begin working for the company. It may be a separate agreement or part of your employment contract (a non-compete clause). When you sign a non-compete agreement, you agree to avoid working for competitors or opening a competing business within a specific mile radius for a specific time frame. However, not all states allow non-compete agreements. Many states say ... Read more

Me Too: Sexual Harassment Awareness and Prevention

How the #MeToo Movement Changed Sexual Harassment Forever In 2006, the Me-Too movement began. It was an effort to bring awareness to sexual harassment and sexual assault across the country. Countless women began telling their stories of sexual harassment and assault at work and on college campuses. In 2017, Actress Alyssa Milano brought national attention to the movement with #MeToo across all social media platforms. Soon, everyone knew someone that had experienced some form of sexual harassment or sexual assault. It may have happened to your mother, sister, brother, father, neighbor, uncle, aunt, best friend, or child. #MeToo allowed people ... Read more

President Biden’s Executive Order, the COVID Vaccine, and Your Employee Rights

Can the Federal Government Force You to Get Vaccinated Against Coronavirus without Providing Religious or Medical Exemptions? President Biden recently announced a new executive order that requires employers with 100 or more employees to require their employees to get the COVID vaccine or submit to weekly Coronavirus testing. In the same executive order, he required all federal employees and contractors to get vaccinated. However, they do not have the option to test out of the vaccine. Furthermore, the mandate requires healthcare workers in medical facilities receiving Medicaid and Medicare funding, Head Start teachers, and employees in education facilities receiving federal ... Read more

Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Reach the New York Governor’s Office

Investigation Leads to Allegations Against Andrew Cuomo for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Sexual harassment allegations flood New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office after the NY Attorney General’s office completed their investigation. Allegations against the New York Governor of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, retaliation against a whistleblower, and an overall hostile work environment came to light in February 2021. As a result of the allegations, the Attorney General’s office appointed Joon Kim and Anne Clark as special investigators. Their investigation uncovered 11 women who were allegedly sexually harassed by the New York governor. The allegations also claim the Governor created ... Read more

Top Reasons You Need an Attorney Review of Your Severance Agreement

An Attorney Review of Your Severance Agreement Can Ensure You Do Not Leave Money on the Table. Many companies conduct employee layoffs for various reasons. They may need to change their company goals and remove an entire department. They may need to reduce staff due to a reduction in revenue. They may be selling the company and need to reorganize to complete the sale. Whatever the reason, legal layoffs are a normal part of company culture. While the law does not mandate it, many companies will offer executives and employees severance packages upon termination. They offer these separation agreements to ... Read more

Why Don’t Most Employees Report Misconduct at Work?

Only a Small Percentage of Misconduct at Work Gets Reported Every Year. Employment discrimination and sexual harassment affect thousands of employees a day across the country. However, only a fraction of these issues get reported to the proper federal or state agencies. Even fewer become lawsuits against employers. Why do so many acts of misconduct at work go unreported every year? Why do so many employees and job applicants choose to ignore their rights? Why do they refuse to fight for justice in the workplace? The reality is that many employees worry about retaliation, humiliation, losing their job, and upsetting the work ... Read more

Get the Best New York City Sexual Harassment Lawyer Near You

The Best New York City Sexual Harassment Lawyer Will Help You Get the Compensation You Deserve As a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, it is easy to feel afraid. You may be afraid to trust anyone, whether at work, at home, or even the professionals you hire. That is why you need a New York City sexual harassment lawyer with a stellar reputation that you know you can trust. How do you find the best New York City sexual harassment lawyer near you? Follow these easy steps to find a sexual harassment attorney in New York City you ... Read more

6 Pregnancy Rights You Need to Know

Pregnant Employees Have the Right to Work in An Environment Free from Employment Discrimination Pregnancy is a medical condition that comes with protection from discrimination in the workplace. Whether you need reasonable accommodations during the workday, medical leave, or protection against discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination, federal and state laws prohibit employers from targeting you for negative employment actions due to your pregnancy. As a pregnant employee or job applicant, you have several rights in the workplace. Make sure you know your rights to avoid any adverse (or negative) treatment from your employer, coworkers, managers, supervisors, or clients in the ... Read more

Sex for Rent Schemes Hit Low-Income Renters

Landlords Sexually Harass Tenants Who Cannot Afford to Pay Rent During the COVID Pandemic Coronavirus has cost people jobs. It has cost them security. It has cost them their independence. And in some cases, it has cost them their lives. However, federal and state laws were supposed to prevent it from costing them their homes. The CARES Act instituted a nationwide eviction plan. When it expired, a National Eviction Moratorium continued this plan. Under the moratorium, landlords cannot evict tenants who cannot pay their rent due to Coronavirus. The moratorium remains in place through December 31, 2020. Unfortunately, many low-income ... Read more

Know your rights: Can you get fired if you refuse to take the COVID vaccine?

Understand Your Employee Rights To Religious And Medical Exemptions Under A Company Vaccine Policy Flu season normally causes worry for most adults, especially those in the healthcare industry. However, flu season during a global pandemic causes even more concern. COVID-19 symptoms can mimic flu symptoms. As a result, people do not know if you have the flu or Coronavirus. Anyone with the flu must still quarantine for two weeks unless tested and negative for Coronavirus. Even then, they insist sufferers are fever-free for at least 24 hours before returning to work. Now, the new COVID vaccine is available. Anyone aged ... Read more

How to Find an Experienced Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Los Angeles

You Want to Work with an Experienced Los Angeles Sexual Harassment Lawyer Victims of sexual harassment look for the best way to obtain justice against their harasser and their boss who allowed it to happen. However, to get the justice they deserve, they need an experienced sexual harassment lawyer that knows every aspect of the law and how to apply it to their cases. Finding an experienced Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer takes a bit of work. Experience comes from many avenues. Sometimes, it comes simply from the time an attorney has worked in the field. However, many times, it ... Read more

6 Ways to Take Time Off When Emergency Leave Expires

When the FFCRA expires at the End of the Year, Employees Need to Know Their Options if They Get COVID-19 or Their Child’s School is Closed. In April 2020, the federal government passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The bill included the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act for people who had to quarantine due to COVID-19 or care for family members with COVID-19. It also included the Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. The Act provided up to 10 weeks of paid leave for parents whose children could not go to school or daycare due to Coronavirus. Employers ... Read more

12 Ways Sexual Harassment Targets Work from Home Employees

Find out what sexual harassment looks like when you work from home Coronavirus has changed the workplace as we know it. Many office workers can now work from home. They set up a remote workplace and complete daily tasks. Online platforms, such as Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and more, host conference rooms and other in-person meetings. Employees can now spend their entire workday from the comfort of their couch. However, even employees working from home deal with online sexual harassment from colleagues, supervisors, CEOs, managers, and business owners. Below are twelve ways sexual harassment occurs in the remote workspace. ... Read more

Black Women Golfing Leads to Race Discrimination

Golfing While Black Is the Newest “Crime” In York, PA’s Public Accommodations. Public accommodations are places meant for use by the public. They may include restaurants, shops, golf courses, libraries, or any other public place. Even places requiring memberships may be considered public accommodations under the law. Discrimination in public accommodations occurs when people are refused service or treated unfairly due to race, color, religion, or other protected reasons under the law. Federal and state laws protect all people from discrimination in public places. These laws prohibit owners, managers, employees, and even customers and patrons from discriminating against customers in ... Read more

5 Signs to Identify Child Sexual Abuse

These Signs will Help You Spot Child Sexual Abuse and Stop It Immediately. Child sexual abuse has become an epidemic in America and beyond. Children face sexual abuse from trusted religious leaders, community leaders, family members, teachers, and more. Unfortunately, according to RAINN, 93% of victims of sexual abuse know their abusers. Abusers often convince their victims that no one will believe them, or they are guilty of something. Therefore, victims of child abuse, especially child sexual abuse, often keep the abuse a secret. As parents, teachers, and trusted adults within the community, we must learn to spot child sexual ... Read more

New York State Employees Are Entitled to Paid Sick Leave

The New York State Sick Leave Law Provides Employees with Up to 56 Hours of Paid Sick Leave On April 3, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York signed into law the New York State Sick Leave Law (NYSSL). The law aligns New York State with the 14 other states and Washington D.C. that mandate employer-paid sick leave for employees. The NYSSL goes into effect on September 30, 2020. The state law requires all employers to provide up to 56 hours of sick leave to their employees. Most employers must provide paid sick leave to employees. Read on to learn ... Read more

How to Get Paid for Your Commute

Federal Laws May Allow Non-exempt Employees to Receive Travel Time Pay for Their Commute. COVID-19 has changed the lives of people around the globe. One of the most prevalent changes is the way people, particularly Americans, work. Businesses have found ways to allow people to work from home. The home has become a new office space. As a result, when a person must go into the office, it changes the definition of the commute to work. Since people are now working from home, is the commute to the office for a meeting or other work-related event subject to travel time ... Read more

How Employees Can Take Paid Leave While Schools Are Closed

The Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) May Help Parents Trying to Juggle Their Jobs While Children Are at Home, Learning Virtually. The start of the 2020-2021 school year brings a new set of challenges to working parents. Working parents are forced to stay home and skip work because schools are closed. The silver lining for this problem exists in the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The FFRCA provides parents paid time off to care for children when their schools are closed due to Coronavirus. Many areas are experiencing the beginning of the school year like never before. Children ... Read more

George Floyd’s Death Opens Communications About Race at Work

Having Difficult Discussions About Race Relations in the Workplace Can Keep Peace During the Most Difficult Times. The story is not new. However, it may be the final straw. People across the nation are making sure they are heard this time. George Floyd’s death will not be in vain. Race relations in America need to change. Whether you worry about police brutality, race discrimination at work, or other forms of systemic racism, the time to talk and make a change is now. If you want to learn more about the facts of the George Floyd incident and how to start ... Read more

Is Your Employer Using Coronavirus Firings to Discriminate?

Many Employers Are Terminating Employees for Discriminatory Reasons Under the Mask of the COVID-19 Pandemic Reduction in Force. As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to require shelter in place rules across the country, many businesses must lay off and terminate employees to stay afloat. Unfortunately, many of these employers are using this opportunity to discriminate against employees for race, religion, pregnancy, disability, age, national origin, for complaining about illegal activity or any other protected status under the law. Most employers have the best intentions. They are reducing their workforce with the hopes of hiring people back. They are following the law ... Read more

“Uber Black” Drivers May Be Entitled to Millions in Unpaid Employee Wages

Courts Determine Whether Uber’s Restrictions on “Uber Black” Drivers Create an Employee Relationship Between Drivers and the Company In 2016, several “Uber Black” drivers brought a class-action lawsuit against Uber Technologies Inc. in Pennsylvania. The lawsuit alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), claiming the drivers were employees as opposed to independent contractors. The Philadelphia judge issued a summary judgment in favor of Uber Technologies. In January 2019, the Plaintiffs appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. On March 3, 2020, that court ordered the case remanded to the lower court for further ... Read more

Employee Rights When Laid Off Due to Coronavirus

Covid19 Is Creating a Wave of Mass Layoffs and Terminations in Many Workplaces. Are Your WARN Act Rights Protected in the Middle of a Pandemic? The Coronavirus has effectively shut down life within the United States in a matter of days. Many companies are making decisions regarding their workforce. With no money coming in, many will be unable to keep their doors open beyond the shutdown. Unfortunately, mass layoffs and terminations will follow. Even amid a pandemic, employees have rights protecting them against mass layoffs and terminations. Federal and State WARN Act laws protect employees from sudden layoffs without written ... Read more

Healthcare Workers’ Rights When Fired or Forced to Quit for Objecting to Work Conditions While Treating Coronavirus Patients

Healthcare Workers Have the Right to Report Unsafe Working and Patient Conditions without being Terminated or Forced to Quit Even During the Coronavirus Pandemic Healthcare workers are essential personnel during the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. When the rest of us are practicing social distancing and isolation, healthcare workers are treating patients diagnosed with Coronavirus. However, even in the most infected areas, healthcare workers have a right to work in a safe environment. When a healthcare facility doesn’t meet the proper safety standards instilled by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) or Covid-19 federal and state protocols, employees have the right to ... Read more