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The Employment and Social Security Disability Blog

Michigan couple awarded $11.4 million in discrimination case

Employees often look at their workplace as a place they enjoy being in. While this is an ideal situation, this is not always the case. For some, the workplace can be uncomfortable due to acts of discrimination and harassment. Although laws and regulations protect employees from such treatment, some employees unfortunately have this experience. And, in these matters, an employee has the right to take action against this mistreatment.

According to recent reports, a husband and wife in Lansing were awarded $11.4 million in a case alleging racial discrimination and retaliation. The married couple worked in the Corrections Department, the wife as probation officers and the husband as the deputy warden.

Going through the appeal process following a SSD denial

Whether one has been living with a disability since birth or acquired one later in life because of an illness or injury, it is important that individuals in Michigan and elsewhere to understand what they can do to ease the challenges that a disability could pose. In some instances, an individual may be unable to work or maintain a livable income. In these matters, it can be imperative to explore one's options when it comes to Social Security disability benefits.

Applying for disability benefits can be an overwhelming time, as one has likely never gone through this application process. While one may believe that they meet the definition of disabled and are suffering from a qualifying condition, the reality is that many initial applications are denied. Thus, it is important to also understand the appeal process.

When is a firing considered to be a wrongful termination?

When individuals in Michigan and elsewhere are hired for a new position, it is likely their intention to maintain this job until he or she seeks other employment. Unfortunately, some employees are let go or fired for various reasons. While there are many legal reasons to fire an employee, employers should note when and how it would be unlawful to terminate an employee.

When is a firing considered to be a wrongful termination? The main reason one might suspect a wrongful termination is when a firing is discriminatory. This means that a person was fired based on a protected characteristic, such as their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and other similar characteristics.

Guiding you through the SSD application process

Acclimating to life with a disability can be challenging. This is especially true when the government is taking steps to cut costs, thereby impacting the Social Security Disability program. Those applying for SSD benefits may be deterred from applying for these necessary funds. The process is not only complex at times, but many applicants are initially denied.

At Miller Cohen, PLC, our experienced attorneys understand how difficult and emotional this process can be. This is especially true for those going through additional steps, working through the reconsideration and appeals process. While there are many steps to take, our law firm has the knowledge and expertise to help Michigan residents navigate the application process, ensuring our clients are well informed of their rights and options every step of the way.

Fiat Chrysler case highlights whistleblower protections

Michigan and federal laws protect workers after they report illegal or unethical behavior by their employers to the authorities. However, workers can find it hard to protect their rights under these laws.

An ongoing trial involving an auto executive recently highlighted the issue of whistleblowing in business. A Fiat Chrysler Automobiles sales executive is engaged in litigation with his employer over his pay, after he said his pay was cut by 90%.

How do lawyers help with disability applications?

Social Security Disability Insurance is a program that provides benefits for workers who are no longer able to work due to long-term disability. Once an applicant has been approved and starts receiving benefits, the system can be a life-saver for people who are not able to earn an income due to injury, illness or long-term conditions.

Unfortunately, most people who are applying for Social Security Disability find there are many, many obstacles they must overcome before they get to the point where they are receiving adequate benefits. Sometimes, just gathering all the necessary documentation, filling out the paperwork and corresponding with the Social Security Administration can feel like a full-time job in itself.

Struggle continues to protect Michigan's LGBT workers

Michigan law protects workers from being unfairly discriminated against in the workplace because of their race, sex, religion, nationality, age and several other categories. The federal Civil Rights Act provides similar protections. However, neither state nor federal laws specifically list sexual orientation or gender identity as protected categories. Civil rights activists have long argued that this situation leaves LGBT workers vulnerable to workplace discrimination.

Recently, state lawmakers officials have revived a push to enshrine protections or LGBT workers into the law. Last year, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission announced it would interpret the state's Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include protection for LGBT workers. The commission said it would consider the law's protections against discrimination on the basis of sex to include protections against employment and housing discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.

Applying for SSD under the compassionate allowances list

Because of how important Social Security disability benefits are to many disabled individuals and their families, it is important for applicants to know there may be ways to expedite the Social Security disability application process. The application process is well known as being cumbersome, time-consuming and can result in many denials, so it can be helpful to fully understand the process before applying.

Qualifying for Social Security disability benefits depends on the applicant's disability, medical condition and work history. In general, to be eligible to receive benefits, the individual must meet certain work history requirements and have paid into the system. They must also suffer from a medical condition that prevents them from working and is expected to last 12 months or longer or result in death. The disabled individual may establish their disability through medical records but the disability they suffer from may be on the list of disabling conditions maintained by the Social Security Administration.

What are the different types of sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is prohibited in the workplace but it is helpful for workers to be aware there are different types of sexual harassment which can help them better understand the legal protections and resources available to them if they are suffering sexual harassment in their workplace. Workers suffering sexual harassment in the workplace may wonder what the different types of sexual harassment are.

There are generally two types of sexual harassment including quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment sexual harassment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment refers to when someone in authority, typically a supervisor in the workplace, demands that the employee tolerate sexual harassment in return for keeping their job or receiving promotions or raises. Hostile environment sexual harassment occurs when the employee is subjected to offensive, unwelcome and persistent sexual conduct that creates a hostile work environment.

Workers are protected against workplace discrimination

Workplace discrimination is against the law and workers who suffer it should be familiar with their rights and the legal protections available to them. Employment law provides valuable protections for workers who have suffered harm because of workplace discrimination.

Under federal law, employers with 15 or greater employees are prohibited from discriminating against an employee on the basis of race, national origin, gender or religion. Employers are prohibited from taking certain hiring and firing actions based on the race, national origin, gender or religion of the employee and if they fail to abide by the law, they may be liable according to a claim for workplace discrimination.

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