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North Carolina Legal Issues Blog

Seek legal help if a subcontractor compromises your own company

Construction law in North Carolina is quite complex. This is because the law seeks to serve and protect all parties from the property owner to the general contractor to the subcontractor. These widespread protections are critical in addressing disputes over construction defects and other matters. However, they make the law difficult for the involved parties to understand on a comprehensive level.

For example, let's look at the general contractor's side of the issue in a construction law dispute. In many cases, he or she is stuck in the middle of the property owner and the subcontractor when a defect occurs. The owner of the property wants to pursue a legal remedy and rightfully so. Because the owner hired the general contractor, it is this contractor who will likely become the target of legal action, even if the defect occurred due to the subcontractor's negligence.

How to strengthen your case when you report sexual harassment

If you're the victim of sexual harassment at work, one of the first things you should do is file a complaint with your human resources (HR) department. The more evidence and witnesses you can provide, the better your chances will be of being believed and of your employer taking the necessary action to make it stop.

It's important to begin keeping a record of the harassment as soon as it begins - or at least as soon as you see it becoming a pattern. However, it's wise to report it earlier rather than later. If you let it go on for a while, hoping the harasser will stop, they could perceive that you don't have a problem with what they're doing. Further, the people in HR may wonder why you didn't come forward earlier.

What are your options for common construction defects?

Many prospective Winston-Salem homeowners choose to purchase newly constructed homes. They do so in hopes that it will give them years of problem-free living that buying an older residence can't afford them. What many prospective homeowners don't realize though is how common construction defects are with newer homes. They can take a great deal of time and cost a lot to address.

Construction defects can occur at many different stages of the home or office building process. They can happen at the planning or design stage. It's possible for a home to be built exactly as specified and for it to still have defects. This often happens because there was a design error. Contractors can also make mistakes when building a property. This frequently happens when they're not adequately supervised.

How men's fear of sexual harassment allegations hurts women

The #MeToo movement has led to more women coming forward to report sexual harassment and even assaults by men who have the power to control their professional futures. A recent survey, however, has revealed a negative impact of the movement. The fear that it's instilled among some men has made them afraid to have one-on-one interactions with female subordinates.

In the survey, which was conducted by SurveyMonkey and LeanIn.org, 60% of men in management positions reported that they aren't comfortable socializing with or even mentoring women in junior-level positions. That's a 32% jump from the percentage of men who said that in the previous year's survey. More than a third (36%) admitted that they actually avoid socializing or mentoring women who are their subordinates because they are "nervous about how it would look."

Were you treated differently at work after becoming pregnant?

Women everywhere hold back on their pregnancy announcement. Have you? You might do so because you know your employer and coworkers could treat you differently after they know.

Pregnant women often suffer unexpected and unpredictable kinds of discrimination at work. When you should be excited for the birth of your child, you are instead stressed about how your career.

Microaggressions and workplace sexual harassment

Don't make the mistake of thinking that sexual harassment in the workplace always has to have a major, obvious event -- like your boss asking for sexual favors in exchange for a promotion. These things do happen, but many people understand that crossing a clear line like that could get them into legal trouble.

Instead, they do little things that happen over and over again. They can create a hostile workplace and make you feel very uncomfortable. Experts call these microaggressions, and, though you may not have that one big event to report, they can absolutely take a toll over time.

Subtle forms of sexual harassment at work

All employees should feel safe while at work. Unfortunately, sexual harassment is alive and well, creating negative work spaces all the time. According to PEW, over 38 percent of women reported being sexually harassed at work.

But people do not see their coworkers grouping each other or making sexual comments all the time, do they? Does that mean that these numbers are incorrect?

How do you prove quid pro quo sexual harassment?

Workplace sexual harassment isn't always as simple or blatant as a manager, colleague or client making an unwanted sexual advance or proposal. Often, there's a "quid pro quo" element. This usually occurs when the harasser has some type of leverage over their victim.

A boss may imply (or outright state) that an employee will get a raise, promotion or something else of value if the employee gives in to the boss's sexual advances. Even more pernicious is when a harasser threatens an employee with termination or demotion if they don't give in.

Communication can help you avoid a legal malpractice claim

Attorneys can often avoid legal malpractice claims by simply taking the time to communicate with their clients. An article in one magazine for attorneys says, "Good client communications can be the key factor in bringing a quick end to a malpractice claim or avoiding one altogether."

The American Bar Association's (ABA) professional conduct rules address communication. According to these rules, attorneys should:

  • Talk with clients about how they want to accomplish their goals.
  • Respond to requests for information by their clients.
  • Keep their clients informed of decisions and other information related to their case.

Why it's good that sexual harassment complaints have increased

It's been less than two years since the #MeToo movement began -- spurred largely by the allegations that became public (and ultimately took down) Hollywood mega-producer Harvey Weinstein. The reverberations have been felt not just throughout the entertainment industry, but in workplaces of all kinds throughout the country.

A key measurement of these changes is the rise in the number of sexual harassment complaints. Last year, complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) rose almost 14% over the previous year -- to over 7,600. More complaints are also being made to industry groups and individual employers.

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