Employee Issue:

Glossary of Terms

ADA: Abbreviation for the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in access to public accommodations, education and employment.

ADEA: Abbreviation for the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The ADEA is a federal law that forbids discrimination based on age for workers over 40.

At-will: This term means an employee can be fired for any reason or none at all. At-will employees, however, are protected by anti-discrimination laws. If an employee is fired for reasons that violate anti-discrimination regulations, they can bring action against their employer.

B.F.O.Q: Abbreviation for bone fide occupational qualification. This can release an employer from liability for discrimination if there is a legitimate reason to require a certain sex or age for a job. Successful use of this is rare.

Complainant: Describes a person bringing a discrimination or harassment claim.

EEOC: Abbreviation for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC is responsible for investigating and hearing claims or workplace harassment or discrimination.

FMLA: Abbreviation for the Family and Medical Leave Act. The Act applies to employers who employ more than 50 people. The FMLA forbids employers from discriminating against employees who take time off to care for their own medical needs or to care for family members.

Hostile work environment: The basis for a sexual harassment claim in which the presence of sexual jokes, threats, photographs or atmosphere is so insidious it creates an offensive and intimidating work environment.

Quid pro quo: Translates from Latin to something for something. This type of sexual harassment occurs when a harasser asks for sexual favor in return for giving a raise, continued employment or other employment benefit.

Same-sex harassment: Occurs when a female harasses another female or a male harasses another male.

Title VII: Part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forbids discrimination in employment based on color, race, religion, sex or national origin. 

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