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Lakeland Legal Issues Blog

Why sexual harassment is so difficult to prove

Here at Kaylor, Kaylor & Leto, P.A., in Florida, we represent many workers who have suffered some form of workplace discrimination. For many, their on-the-job problem has been sexual harassment. We know, therefore, how especially distraught and offended you feel when your boss or one of your co-workers harasses you this way.

Unfortunately, however, sexual harassment represents a form of workplace discrimination that is often difficult for you to prove. You must show the court by clear and convincing evidence that the words and actions the person used against you rose above the level of being simply irritating. They must have caused you actual damage.

What to expect during a Social Security Disability video hearing

As a resident of Florida with a serious, debilitating injury or illness, you may be trying to obtain Social Security disability payments through the U.S. Social Security Administration to help you get by in the absence of working. You may, too, have received a denial in response to your original claim, and if you also had a denied reconsideration, you may be preparing for an upcoming hearing. At Kaylor, Kaylor & Leto, P.A., we recognize that many people who apply for Social Security benefits have their initial claims denied, and we have helped many clients facing similar circumstances pursue solutions that meet their needs.

According to the U.S. Social Security Administration, unless you prefer otherwise and wish to meet in person or over the phone, you may need to participate in a video hearing if you wish to continue to pursue disability benefits. The purpose of the video hearing, which an administrative law judge conducts, is for the judge to gather more evidence about your condition in order to render a final decision about whether you should receive disability benefits.

Workplace bullying and discrimination

As with bullying at school, bullying in the workplace can have strong, negative effects on the individuals experiencing it and those around them. Though in some cases bullying can be physical, it is usually mental and emotional in nature for most people, which can cause the effects to last longer.

For this reason, different organizations and companies are trying to crack down on such instances, but parties that experience it must still make this fact known. For this reason, it is important to understand a few key aspects of workplace bullying and discrimination.

Construction’s “Fatal Four” cause majority of worker deaths

As someone who makes your living working construction in Florida, you may have firsthand knowledge of just how dangerous your line of work can be. Working in construction presents numerous occupational hazards, but recognizing where your most notable risks lie may help you learn to mitigate them. At Kaylor, Kaylor & Leto, P.A., we recognize that many construction worker injuries and deaths result from what are known as construction’s “Fatal Four.” We have helped many construction workers who experienced an injury on the job site pursue appropriate recourse in an accident’s aftermath.

According to the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, construction’s Fatal Four played a role in more than 63 percent of all construction worker fatalities in 2016. Additionally, construction worker deaths accounted for more than 21 percent of all private sector occupational fatalities that same year, shining a spotlight on just dangerous modern construction sites continue to be.

Can men be victims of sexual harassment?

If you have ever suffered from unwelcome sexual comments or advances while working, you may be familiar with being a victim of sexual harassment. Sadly, this isn’t uncommon in workplaces across various industries in the United States. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 13,055 claims of sexual harassment were filed in 2018 alone. Surprisingly, 15.9 percent of these claims were made by male workers. Sexual harassment was once thought of as actions of men harassing women. Yet, as these statistics show, the tables are turning with more men claiming to be victims of harassment. Whether this behavior has occurred for quite some time and men have not wanted to report the incidents out of fear of embarrassment or the rate of incidents have increased over the years, people are becoming more aware of men being victims of harassment.

One reason for this increase may be a rise of women holding higher positions in companies throughout the country. The number of women working in America has increased significantly when compared the number of women working 60 years ago. Women hold a significant number of managerial positions, and often times have many workers reporting to them. This puts women in a situation where they are able to sexually harass men. Women superiors may ask men to perform acts in order to keep their positions or in order to work their way up the corporate ladder. They may also make inappropriate comments in an attempt to flirt while on-the-job. All of these matters involve sexual harassment and may be reported to the EEOC.

What are the effects of employment discrimination on businesses?

As an employee, you may already know that employment discrimination and harassment are not permitted in Florida workplaces. To prevent these situations from occurring, your workplace may have harassment awareness programs and reporting protocols in place. Until you witness or experience discrimination or harassment on the job, you might not realize just how badly such an event could impact your workplace.

As you may already be aware, discrimination and harassment on the job are more than just a liability issue for your employer. These behaviors hurt people. According to the Houston Chronicle, when workplace bullying, disability or racial discrimination, sexual harassment and other harmful behaviors occur, the following results are common:

  • Employees become less satisfied with their jobs and not as motivated to work as a team.
  • The staff’s loyalty and commitment to the workplace can plummet.
  • Employees who are targeted by discrimination and harassment can suffer from depression and anxiety, or might even retaliate.
  • A harassment or discrimination claim can negatively impact the reputation of a business and affect future hiring.
  • Businesses that fail to acknowledge and address claims may be subject to legal action.

Hearing loss America’s most common workplace injury

Chances are, if you work in a Florida environment where you undergo exposure to high levels of noise on a daily basis, you take steps to protect your ears and your hearing, but what if you work somewhere where noise levels are moderate, as opposed to severe? At Kaylor, Kaylor & Leto, P.A., we recognize that even moderately loud work environments can lead to long-term hearing loss, and we have helped many people who suffered work-related hearing loss pursue solutions that meet their needs.

According to USA Today, about 22 million Americans work in settings where hazardous occupational noise levels are commonplace. While those who work in especially loud industries, such as mining, construction or manufacturing, face the risk of work-related hearing loss, so, too, do those who work in moderately loud environments.

Workers’ compensation for stress at work?

Have you ever come home from work feeling as though the stress you have experienced throughout the day is more than you can handle? Although it may seem trivial to some, work stress is a serious issue.  While some industries are more stressful than others, you may find it difficult to perform your job when placed in an extremely stressful work environment. Over a period of time, stress can cause trauma, manifest into physical symptoms and even lead to chronic conditions. Stress may cause you to experience immediate symptoms, such as heart palpitations, chest pain, difficulty breathing, pain, nausea, tense muscles and headaches. Long-term conditions and ailments, include high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, sleep disturbances, migraines, fatigue, ulcers, impaired immune function and psychological disorders. Stress can even lead to workplace injuries and suicide.

There are several factors that can cause stressful work situations, including the following:

  • Bad relationships with co-workers and/or management
  • Too many responsibilities or tasks to handle
  • Poor management
  • Fear of losing a job
  • Disorganized or dangerous working conditions

How much can you expect to get if approved for SSDI?

As someone who lives in Florida and has a condition so disabling it prevents you from earning a living as you once did, you may be looking for other methods of making ends meet. Social Security Disability Insurance is an assistance program that helps disabled people who qualify for it pay for their basic needs. Whether you can qualify for it will depend on certain circumstances, such as how long you held employment in a Social Security-covered position. How much you can expect to receive on it, too, depends on certain criteria.

More specifically, the Motley Fool reports that your ability to qualify for SSDI benefits will typically come down to whether you meet two eligibility terms. The first factor in determining SSDI benefit eligibility is how long you worked in an “insured” position, and how recently you did so prior to becoming disabled. The second factor that determines benefit eligibility is whether your condition meets the U.S. Social Security Administration’s tight definition of “disability.”

What is a protected class?

Many people who are employed in Florida are aware that there are federal laws in place designed to ensure that they do not experience harassment or discrimination at work. However, not everyone may know exactly what groups or people are protected by these laws and how they work. You should know that essentially every person is offered some type of protection per the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Laws banning discrimination in the workplace identify certain protected classes that at some point do encompass all workers. These classes involve people of a specific national origin, skin color or race. Certainly, the laws were designed to safeguard minorities from discrimination but they can also support non-minorities from the same type of discrimination as that may well occur.

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