The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the workforce in countless ways, leading to unprecedented shutdowns and shifting the paradigm of employment as we know it. According to a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy saw a job loss of 140,000 jobs, which was a worse outcome than predicted. At the time of this report, the unemployment rate was 6.7%, which has remained fairly steady through the pandemic.
This situation has certainly been devastating, and it has impacted women at a greater rate than the rest of the population. Staggeringly, women have accounted for all of the job losses, losing 156,000 jobs, while men gained 16,000 jobs during the pandemic. According to the report, Black and Latina women work in some of the hardest-hit sectors of the pandemic, like education, hospitality, and retail, often in roles that do not offer paid sick leave or the ability to work from home. For this reason, many of these women were forced to choose between work and parenting when the schools and daycares closed. Among these women, Latina women have the highest unemployment rate at 9.1%, followed by Black women at 8.4% and White women at 5.7%.
This statistic goes hand-in-hand with the gender pay gap, and it goes to show that although the women’s rights movement has come a long way, there is still a long way to go. According to the Census Bureau data from 2018, women of all races earned, on average, 82 cents for every $1 earned by men of all races. There is a clear gender discrepancy occurring, and there are some cases when women can obtain legal help to bring justice to those responsible.
Should You Hire an Attorney for an Unemployment Appeal?
If you are one of the many individuals who has been affected by this unemployment wave, you are not alone, and there are many ways you can gain access to the help you deserve. The job of an employment lawyer, like the ones on the team at Shellist Lazarz Slobin LLP, is to make sure that employees are treated in a fair and consistent way and that employers follow the workplace laws.
Of course, there are some situations, like an unexpected economic downturn, in which employers are not left with many other options than to downsize their staff. However, when we see clear discrepancies in the demographics of the unemployed, like we have seen during the pandemic, it is worth asking if employers are in violation of discrimination laws. Below we will outline some of the workplace violations that disproportionately impact women.
About Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) does not allow discrimination on the basis of pregnancy in any aspect of employment, such as hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits like leave and health insurance, or any other terms or conditions of employment. Pregnancy discrimination is a form of gender discrimination. If you have been denied any unemployment rights on the basis of a pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition in Texas, the team at Shellist Lazarz Slobin LLP encourages you to schedule a consultation to seek legal help.
About Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Our deepest, most sincere sympathies go out to anyone who has experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. It is a devastation that nobody should have to go through, but unfortunately, both women and men experience this. While anyone from any walk of life can experience sexual harassment in the workplace, this is another issue that disproportionately affects women. The exact number of women who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace is a bit unclear, especially if you account for the number of cases that go unreported.
However, no matter how you look at it or which study you review, the numbers are staggering. For example, one national report that a nonprofit called Stop Street Harassment conducted in January 2018 commissioned 2000 people to discover statistics on sexual harassment. They found that 81% of women and 43% of men commissioned have experienced some form of sexual harassment in their lifetime. Furthermore, of those women, 38% experienced this harassment at their workplace.
If you are a victim of workplace harassment, or think you might be a victim of workplace harassment, it is important to seek legal help, especially if your workplace is not taking action to prevent the issue. Everyone who attends a workplace is vulnerable to the possibility of this issue, and it can happen at even the friendliest of workplaces.
This harassment can be defined as any kind of unwanted touching, explicit photographs, requests for sexual favors, denial of a promotion because the individual denied sexual advances, or any other unwanted sexual activity from a coworker. While this is certainly a distressing experience, the good news is that sexual harassment at work has been explicitly prohibited as a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for over 40 years, and you do not need to tolerate this behavior.
The sexual harassment attorneys at Shellist Lazarz Slobin have many years of experience in dealing with this complaint for clients throughout Texas, and we are here to help if it is happening to you. We know this situation is extremely personal and we do not take your trust lightly. Our team is here to provide a solid support system so you can navigate the legalities of this difficult situation and get the legal help you deserve.
About Wrongful Termination
Sometimes, an employee’s termination is simply wrongful. While this can happen to both men and women, it seems that the terminations occurring during the COVID-19 are disproportionately affecting women, so it is more likely that any wrongful terminations occurring during this time affected women as well. This situation tends to be a bit less cut-and-dry because employers usually have lots of discretion over the hiring and firing of their employees, but there are situations when letting an employee go can constitute wrongful termination.
Texas is an at-will employment state, which means that employees can be terminated for essentially any reason at any time. However, employees still have the right to exemptions and protections from federal employment laws. If the employee is terminated for a reason that falls under an “exemption,” this is considered wrongful termination. This includes discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and contract violation. If you believe that you were let go wrongfully, the team at Shellist Lazarz Slobin LLP can help you file a wrongful termination claim against your employer. These can be complicated circumstances, and it is important to work with seasoned professionals like the ones on our team in order to present the evidence clearly.
If you think you might be a victim of wrongful termination of any kind, Shellist Lazarz Slobin LLP is here to help. Call us at (713) 352-3433 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and learn more about your options.