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Do I Have to Notify My Employer of My Pregnancy?

Congratulations on your pregnancy! Now that the initial excitement and adrenaline has worn off, you probably have a lot of questions. Many mothers like to wait until after the first trimester to tell friends and family about a pregnancy. But, what about your employer? Do you have to notify your employer about your pregnancy, and when? Sharing the Good News As always, the answer to this question is complicated. Legally, you are under no obligation or deadline to tell your employer about your pregnancy. However, you may want to consider doing so as soon as possible. There are many legal protections and benefits for pregnant women at work, and the only way you can take advantage of those benefits is to notify your employer about your pregnancy. Disability and Accommodations Don't be afraid to tell your employer about your pregnancy. Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), employers are prohibited from discriminating against you based on your pregnancy. They cannot refuse to hire, fire, change your job assignments or pay, or make promotion or demotion decisions based on your pregnancy. Also, the Americans with Disabilities Acts covers impairments resulting from pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. This means employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for your pregnancy related disability. Family Medical Leave Act In addition to accommodations, you may be entitled to leave during and after your pregnancy. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) requires employers to allow eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave for family or medical reasons each year. Pregnancy is a covered medical reason for FMLA leave. To be eligible to take FMLA leave, you must: Work for an employer with at least 50 employees within 75 miles Worked for the employer for at least 12,50 hours over a 12 month period Notice Normally, you should notify your employer at least 30 days before you want to take FMLA leave. If leave is needed in an emergency and was unforeseeable then you have to notify the employer as soon as possible. While there is no legal requirement on when you must tell your employer of your pregnancy, you should do so as soon as possible if you think you may need accommodations or at least 30 days ahead of time if you intend to take FMLA leave. If an employer discriminates against you because of your pregnancy or denies leave, consult with an experienced employment lawyer for help. Related Resources: Browse Employment Lawyers by Location (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory) EEOC's New Pregnancy-Discrimination Guide: What Moms Need to Know (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)/li> UPS Pregnancy Case at the Supreme Court: 5 Things You Should Know (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Do Employers Have to Provide Accommodations for Pregnant Employees? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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Labor Day: 5 Employment Law Changes in 2014

For more than 100 years, Labor Day has been a federal holiday celebrating the role played by the American worker in shaping our nation's prosperity. And though Labor Day remains the first Monday of every September, what have certainly changed over the last 100 years are the laws governing labor. From wage and hour rules to workplace safety regulations, employment law is constantly evolving. To mark this year's Labor Day, here are five noteworthy changes to employment laws so far in 2014: Minimum wage increase for federal contract workers. During his State of the Union speech earlier this year, President Obama announced that he was going to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers. A month later, he signed an executive order to that effect, reports Reuters, raising the federal contract worker minimum wage to $10.10 an hour starting January 1st, 2015. State minimum wage increases. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 11 states and Washington D.C. raised the state minimum wage in 2014. These states include Hawaii, Michigan, Vermont, and Rhode Island. California whistleblower protections. California kicked off 2014 by rolling out changes to state employment laws protecting whistleblowers, reports The Wall Street Journal. Among the new rules are expanded prohibitions from employer retaliation against employees who report suspected illegal activity internally, including rules guarding against employers who take action against an employee in anticipation of that employee reporting illegal activity. Veteran discrimination protection. There were several new laws passed in 2014 prohibiting employers from discriminating against veterans of the armed services. In Indiana, HEA 1242 made it illegal for employers to discriminate against veterans of any armed services branch or current members of the Indiana National Guard. Added protections for pregnant women. Also added to the list of protected classes for purposes of workplace discrimination law: pregnant women. Earlier this year, New Jersey amended its state Law Against Discrimination to include pregnant women and women who have recently given birth, reports Think Progress. The federal Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission also issued new guidelines clarifying federal rules against pregnancy discrimination. If you have a question about labor law or feel your rights have been violated, an employment lawyer can help explain your legal options. And regardless, enjoy your Labor Day! Related Resources: What is Labor Day? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) 5 Things an Employment Lawyer Can Do (That You Probably Can't) (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Legal How-To: Requesting FMLA Leave From Your Employer (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Can Your Boss Make You Work on a Holiday? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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Legalese From A to Z: 5 Legal Terms Beginning With ‘G’

Welcome back to Legalese From A to Z, our series highlighting the meanings behind legal terms that may not be familiar to non-lawyers. Legalese describes the specialized language of the legal profession -- in other words, things only lawyers would say. With the help of FindLaw's Legal Dictionary, let's take a closer look at five of these terms that begin with the letter "G": Garnishment. Garnishment is a device used by creditors to attach the property or wages of a debtor to repay a debt. Wage garnishment can be used to collect a wide variety of debts, including back taxes, child support, and judgments from court cases. Gift tax. The gift tax is a tax imposed on gifts of property made during a person's lifetime. Certain gifts are exempt from the gift tax, such as gifts to a spouse, donations to a charitable organization, and gifts to any individual up to $13,000 per year. Good faith. Good faith is the absence of bad intentions when entering into an agreement, negotiating, or bringing a lawsuit. For example, in union collective bargaining situations, both the employer and the union are required to negotiate with one another in good faith. Good Samaritan law. A good Samaritan law is a law that provides immunity from liability for a good Samaritan who attempts to provide aid to someone in distress, but inadvertently causes further injury. A good Samaritan law recently passed in New Jersey, for example, provides legal protection to medics and ordinary citizens who administer opioid antidotes to drug overdose victims. Gratuitous. Gratuitous describes an act not involving consideration, compensation, or return benefit. In contract law, a gratuitous promise -- a promise made without an expectation of a return benefit or burden on the promisee -- may be unenforceable if the promisor fails to do what he promised. If you need help with defining a legal word or phrase, check out FindLaw's Legal Dictionary for free access to more than 8,000 definitions of legal terms. Or check back here next Sunday, when Legalese From A to Z will demystify five more legal terms you may not know, beginning with the letter "H." Related Resources: Legalese From A to Z: 5 Legal Terms Beginning With 'A' (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) What Does 'Wet Reckless' Mean in a DUI Case? (FindLaw's Blotter) What's the Difference Between Bond and Bail? (FindLaw's Blotter) What Is the War Powers Act? What Does It Require? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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Calif. ‘Yes Means Yes’ Sexual Assault Bill Awaits Gov.’s Signature

California lawmakers approved a groundbreaking "Yes Means Yes" bill on Thursday, in an attempt to fight the growing problem of sexual assault on college campuses. The bill must be signed by Governor Jerry Brown before it becomes law, but if/when it becomes effective, all California colleges and universities will have to change their standards. The Los Angeles Times reports that the bill would require "affirmative consent" between college students hoping to have sex -- removing silence or lack of resistance as signs of consent. SB 967 Requires a Sober 'Yes' for Sex The "Yes Means Yes" bill, officially known as California SB 967, seeks to create more institutional protections for college students who may be sexually assaulted by their peers. Authored by state senators Kevin de Leon and Hannah-Beth Jackson, SB 967 sets the standard for consent to sex a bit higher than some colleges have in the past. And that standard is "affirmative consent." The consent of affirmative consent is best understood by the bill's slogan: "yes means yes." The old "no means no" doesn't create a very high burden on would be sexual assaulters to ascertain whether their partners' silence, intoxicated state, or lack of resistance is really tantamount to a "yes." And with the very serious charge of rape being a possibility for sex without consent, this is not a situation to trifle with. With only a "yes" (or each partner affirmatively consenting), can many of their sexual assault fears be silenced. The "affirmative consent" standard also would not allow accused rapists to claim that an intoxicated victim consented or that the accused was too intoxicated to confirm consent. For college students, this may mean a sobering new reality about drunken sex. Critics Worry About Consequences Not everyone is a fan of "Yes Means Yes." Writing for TIME, Cathy Young notes that this law will create "a disturbing precedent for government regulation of consensual sex" and place many young students at the mercy of "vague and capricious rules." While the California criminal law regarding sexual assault will not be altered by SB 967, disciplinary action from a rape accusation may lead to suspension or even expulsion. Students can still appeal these disciplinary actions, but the burden in school rape cases would certainly be shifted to the accused. According to USA Today, Gov. Brown has until the end of September to sign or veto the "Yes Means Yes" bill. Related Resources: California bill defines what it means to say 'yes' to sex (The Washington Post) 55 Colleges Facing Title IX Sexual Violence Investigations (FindLaw's Blotter) 5 Legal Tips for Sexual Assault Victims (FindLaw's Blotter) Calif. Egg Law Challenged in Federal Lawsuit (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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S.D. Comic-Con’s Moving Because of Court Ruling?

A decision by the San Diego City Council not to appeal a ruling by the Fourth District Court of Appeals may spell the end of that city's annual hosting of what has become a comic book culture institution: San Diego Comic-Con. The appeals court decision earlier this month struck down the proposed levying of a special tax on hotel rooms around the San Diego Convention Center, where the yearly event is held, reports The Hollywood Reporter. The city had planned to use the money to expand for a $520 million expansion of the convention center. Why does this news mean we may be seeing the Los Angeles Comic-Con after the convention's contract with San Diego runs out in 2016? Expansion Was Key to Extending Comic-Con Contract The annual, five-day Comic-Con is estimated to bring $180 million dollars a year to San Diego, reports the San Diego Union Tribune. So when other cities began tempting the convention with their larger convention centers San Diego officials convinced Comic-Con to stay put, in large part by agreeing to an expansion of the city's aging convention center. However, in order to finance the expansion, city officials enacted a somewhat controversial plan. According to the Los Angeles Times, the plan allowed hotel owners to increase taxes on hotel rooms around the convention center without putting it to a vote by the city's voters. Special Tax Found Invalid The Fourth Appellate District Court ruled that this tax plan violated the California Constitution, which requires that no special tax will be imposed unless it is submitted to the electorate and approved by a two-thirds vote. In deciding not to appeal the ruling, the City Council now must now find another way to come up with the money needed to expand the convention center to accommodate the Comic-Con's growing footprint. In the meantime, the Comic-Con may be once again entertaining offers from other cities. Follow FindLaw for Consumers on Facebook and Twitter (@FindLawConsumer). Related Resources: San Diego Ruling Means Comic-Con Could Leave After 2016 (IGN) SLCC Punk: San Diego Tries to Muscle Rights to 'Comic Con' (FindLaw's Free Enterprise) 'Twilight' Fan Killed by Car at Comic-Con (FindLaw's Injured) San Diego Mayor Bob Filner Set to Resign: Report (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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Are Workers Entitled to Paid Sick Time Off?

Workers everywhere scramble to remember their sick time off policies whenever they catch a cold, but many are not entitled to paid sick leave. Unless you live in specific states or cities with mandatory paid sick leave laws, there are no laws that require your private employer to pay for your time at home with the flu. Why is that? No Federal Law for Paid Sick Leave The Family and Medical Leave Act, signed into law more than 21 years ago, provides workers with unpaid mandatory time off for serious illnesses and family needs. This federal law applies to most private employers with 50 or more employees and all public employers, but it won't entitle you to paid sick leave even if you're eligible. This means that private employers in most states are not required to provide employers with any paid sick time off. There's also no right to paid vacation time off. As far as federal law is concerned, each private company is more or less free to set its own sick time and vacation policies, as long as they're fairly enforced. State. Local Paid Sick Time Laws There are a few states that require employers to provide workers with paid sick time off. San Francisco the first city to provide all employees with paid sick leave in 2007, no matter the size of the business. Connecticut was the first state to approve a mandatory paid sick leave law, which took effect in 2012. According to a recent FindLaw.com survey, 71 percent of Americans support these kind of laws, and only 10 percent actively oppose them. With support like this, it's no wonder that many other cities and states have mandatory paid sick time on their dockets. Chicago is very close to approving its own mandatory paid sick leave law this month. If you live in a state or city which requires your employer to provide you with paid sick leave, you may be entitled to a paid sick day off. However, several states (see Kansas or Louisiana) have explicitly prohibited local lawmakers from enacting mandatory paid sick leave laws, so the fight for sick time off is far from over. Related Resources: 10 Ways the FMLA Can Work for You (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Time Off for Jury Duty: It's the Law (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Do You Get Time Off for Any Religious Holiday? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Browse Employment Lawyers by Location (FindLaw)
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