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Articles Posted in Employment Law

Today, the Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in three separate cases establishing that Title VII prohibits employment discrimination against homosexual and transgender individuals. Title VII of the rainbowflag-300x199Civil Rights Act of 1964 is one of the primary federal laws that provides protections for employees. In Title VII, Congress outlawed workplace discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.

When I first started practicing employment-law, there was no federal or North Carolina precedent to support pursuing a claim on behalf of a homosexual or transgender employee who suffered employment discrimination. I cannot count the number of times that I had to tell gay, lesbian, or transgender individuals who were subjected to discrimination in the workplace that there was no legal basis to support their claims. It was unfathomable and frustrating to repeatedly explain that discrimination against homosexual and transgender employees was entirely legal.

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Many women who initially choose to breastfeed their child do not continue to do so after six months. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 70 percent of mothers start breastfeeding immediately after birth, but less than 20 percent of those mothers are breastfeeding exclusively six months later. This can be attributed in part to difficulties with breastfeeding in public due to the lack of private areas and disapproving looks and comments. Many women may also find it difficult to breastfeed after returning to work. Unfortunately, many nursing mothers do not have supportive employers.

Federal Legal Protections for Breastfeeding Mothers

Federal laws are in place to make it easier for many women who want to continue breastfeeding to take lactation breaks at work. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) contained an important provision for nursing mothers, which took effect when the ACA was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. Section 4207 of the ACA, known as The Nursing Mother Amendment, amends Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to require some employers to provide lactation breaks and facilities for employees who are breastfeeding. Continue Reading

Almost all private sector employees in North Carolina are “at will” employees. That means that an employee is hired for an indefinite period of time and may be terminated for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice, as long as they are not terminated for an illegal reason that is prohibited by federal or state laws.

Does Having a Contract Protect Me?

Some employees, usually medical or other professionals, actually have employment contracts, verbal or written, for a definite term of employment, or providing that employment can only be terminated “for cause.” However, even in some written employment contracts, there are provisions that the contract may be terminated “at will.”

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