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Work/The Wk Place

Home  Georgia The Work Place


Workplace Conflicts
Your Rights On The Job
Dealing With Awkward Situations

Losing Or Leaving Your Job

Back To The Work Place



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 
Your Rights On The Job

What It Means To Work In An Employment At Will State
This HR Website advises employers what they can and cannot do and includes changing the terms of employment through revisions to employee handbooks.

On-the-Job Rights & Conduct
Learn your rights regarding employment screening and testing, searches and interrogations, access to your records, workplace safety, office romances and more.

Georgia Non-Compete Agreements (Consumer-SOS)
Learn when they're void or enforceable.

Plant Closings And Mass Layoffs
The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires large employers to provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs.

Reporting Safety & Health Hazards-Your Right Not To Be Fired
Federal law protecting employees from discharge or other retaliation for their disclosure of safety and health hazards. “Frivolous" complaints are not protected and employees have
the right to refuse to work in hazardous or unsafe situations.

Reporting Fraud On The Government-Your Right To Collect Some Of The Money Recovered And Still Keep Your Job (Consumer-SOS)
Qui tam-AKA The Whistle Blower Act, has been, and continues to be, a very effective and successful tool in combating government procurement and program fraud. This law has armed private citizens, who have independent and direct knowledge of fraud, with a weapon to prosecute government contractors, and others who are defrauding the Government, and share in the recovery.

Discrimination (Consumer-SOS)
Takes you to the section on Discrimination.

Workplace Safety (Consumer-SOS)
Takes you to the section on Workplace Safety.

Insurance & Benefits
Takes you to the section on Insurance & Benefits.

Pay And Overtime/Compensation
Takes you to the section on Getting Paid.

Time Off
Takes you to the section on Time Off.

Where Else To Go For Help

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Your Rights Under The Qui Tam Whistle Blower Act

Each year, the United States Treasury loses billions of dollars because of widespread fraud.  Indeed, there are Medicaid scams, Social Security scams, nursing home scams, defense contractor scams and countless other scams where the government is billed for services never rendered. 

To combat this problem, Congress has passed laws encouraging private citizens to ferret out fraud and expose wrongdoing.  Under the Federal False Claims Act, private individuals with inside information can sue wrongdoers caught defrauding the U.S. government.  If you win you can collect up to 30% of what the government recovers. In some cases, such as when the fraud is large and widespread, your reward could make you a millionaire.

So if you know of government fraud and have inside information, consult an attorney about filing a "Qui Tam action" against the culprit. See 31 U.S.C.A. 3730(b).  Through a Qui Tam action you can report the wrong, keep your job and maybe even collect enough to retire.  To report fraud on the Government, call the U.S. Office Of Special Counsel (800) 872-9855.

Protection Against Retaliation By Your Employer

Note: It is a violation of the False Claims Act for an employer to fire you or discriminate against you because of your disclosures to the government. 

If you have been fired, harassed, threatened or demoted because of your whistle blowing, The False Claims Act permits you to sue your employer for reinstatement, plus two times the amount of back pay and for damages caused by his discriminatory acts.  In addition, to the above, you can also collect attorney fees and court costs as well.  

Note that in Georgia, the whistle blower may also get legal protection even if they never got around to filing a Qui Tam claim. See 31 U.S.C.A. 3730(h); Childree v. UAP/GA Ag Chem, Inc. 92 F.3d 1140 (11th Cir. 1996).

Where To Get Help

Government Accountability Project (GAP)
Non-profit group that promotes government and corporate accountability through advancing occupational free speech and ethical conduct, defending whistleblowers, and empowering citizen activists.

The False Claims Act Legal Center (Taxpayers Against Fraud)
A nonprofit, public interest organization dedicated to combating fraud against the Federal Government through the promotion and use of the Federal False Claims Act and its qui tam provisions.


U.S. Office Of Special Counsel (800) 872-9855
To report fraud on the Government.


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Dealing With Awkward Situations

People Who Talk Too Much & How To Respond To Them (Consumer-SOS)

How To Keep Your Job & Protect Yourself Before and After You Become Unemployed (Consumer-SOS)

The DOs and DON'Ts of Workplace Etiquette
Learn how to prevent others from seeing you as unprofessional, disrespectful or not a team player.

Disagreeing With A Colleague or Supervisor
Tips to avoid an office spat and what to do if it's too late.

How To Resign Properly (Lay Person's Perspective)

Refusing To Do An Inappropriate Task For Your Boss
 
How To assess when something is shady and what to do about it

Dealing With Difficult People (Links & Articles)
Mostly when teaching or training or doing seminars.
Also has general tips.

Georgia Non-Compete Agreements (Consumer-SOS)
Learn when they're void or enforceable.

Working Wounded.com
The site for tips and advice, discussion groups, articles and legal resources.

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The DOs and DON'Ts of Workplace Etiquette
Workplace etiquette is not about being insincere or fake. It's about consciously toning ourselves down because the work place is naturally very intense. With so much of life in such a small space, and for such a long time, and under such pressure and with so many people, the cumulative affect can be truly overwhelming. And so we leave much of the drama behind as a courtesy to our fellow colleagues, who also have drama and need a break from it.

I have found that the person who embraces this sensitivity is seen as considerate and a team player. But the person who ignores such is deemed often as uncaring or inconsiderate. (even if it's not true). Workplace etiquette also means conveying the same professionalism in party or business settings where the company's reputation is at stake.

Cosmetic Gestures With Colleagues That Go a Long Way:

DOs

  • Saying “please” and “thank you” “good morning" and “good bye”.
  • Asking a colleague to do something instead of directing or ordering them (you can use soft words like “will you” “could you”, “do you mind if..”).
  • Consider greeting people when they knock on your door or enter your office. “Hi Carol” is better than “YES” or “WHAT IS IT” (the latter makes colleagues feel unwelcome and can inhibit communication).
  • Give people your full attention when they walk into your office. Everyone is busy. But eye contact shows respect and that you think their time is important. If you're really in a rush to do something, listen briefly to what your colleague has to say, and then you can tell them “I’m sorry, I have an immediate deadline, can we talk about this later or can you email me?”

DON’Ts

  • Try to avoid giving out commands when addressing a colleague or subordinate. Telling someone what to do makes them feel angry like you’re not considering their needs. It also can give them the impression that you either know more than they do, feel you're above them, or don’t care about them. A helpful start might be this: If your sentence starts with an action verb or the words “you need to”, “you must” “go” “Do”“unpack” “here!” “take”… you are probably commanding someone.

Softening A Directive Into A Suggestion.

Ask rather than tell. Or you could say “ Well it’s up to you (respects their choice) but I would probably do… “

Learning From Smart Competent People Who Are Also Polite

Find someone in the office or elsewhere that you professionally admire and who is seen by others as polite and professional. You can then take note how these people ask for things or explain things. And equally important, how they tactfully tell someone they disagree with them. Try writing down a few of their introductory sentences and tactful responses. Modify them a bit, so you feel comfortable making them your own, and use them. In my case, I actually copy some of their emails just to see how to be polite and yet say what I need to say.

Lastly, if you get negative feedback on your office etiquette, consider asking a close and trusted friend if these are things you really need to improve on.

Key Actions That Can Cause Misunderstandings

Meetings (Showing Obvious Disinterest)
Actions

  • Putting your head down on the table, closing your eyes, doing crossword puzzles or Facebook
  • Overt and excessive doodling, or displaying obvious boredom
  • Very Long Breaks/disappearances

Impact on Others:
Management and supervisors get embarrassed when this is done in front of other firms or seen by colleagues.
Colleagues and superiors begin to question if you care about the team, care about your work or care for the company's reputation.
Superiors feel they're being treated with disrespect as they have put their time and money into training and mentoring you.

Course Language
Actions

  • Cursing, "Bitch" "Fuck..."
  • Sex terms and sexual talk (usually being the first to discuss sex/going beyond what others talk about)

Impact on Others:
Embarrassment. Questions may be raised about whether it's safe for you to be around clients, peers or attend community functions.

Severe Moodiness
Actions:

  • Quiet sullenness at work
  • Outburst of anger, (intense, loud complaining)
  • Gruff responses of one word or a few sentences to colleagues, not looking up from computer

Impact on Others:
People may  think you're always mad at them or that they must walk on eggshells because you're having another bad day.
People assume you feel your work problems and personal issues are more important than theirs (They left their personal issues at home but you didn't)
Superiors see anger as disrespect toward them. (What did I do to make him mad at me? Who Is She To Respond Like That To Me?)

Work atmosphere is dragged down, people clamp up and may not want to communicate with you for fear of anger, rejection or excessive drama.

People start to pull back from you because they see interactions are fraught with danger not found with other coworkers.


Interaction With Supervisors and Those Senior To You
Actions:

  • Being the first to leave meetings, including impromptu ones
  • Complaining or showing reluctance to follow requests because they seem minor or you're too busy. (If they ask for it to be done, fighting them makes you look insubordinate.)

Impact on Others:
People assume a lack of respect or that you feel your needs or deadlines are more important than their own needs and deadlines.

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Avoiding An Office Blow Out: How To Disagree With A Colleague Or Supervisor

Sometimes office conflicts are not always within your control.  But to minimize such, you must be able to observe your own actions and look at yourself the way others see you.  In other words,
to see yourself as a bystander would. This means looking objectively at yourself apart from your own thoughts, feelings and intense emotions. 

This bystander will be comparing your actions to the office norm. (i.e. how you act compared to your peers.) They will not have your interior monologue to explain or justify your actions.  And don't count on them being aware or sensitive to the fact that you had a bad day or have personal issues.

Assessing The Situation Before You Speak

  • Are others present or is it one on one? (An extra head changes the dynamic, and the person you’re arguing with could be worried about what the bystander is thinking). Be cautious and extra respectful if others are present.
     
  • Is the person you disagree with a peer, a supervisor or senior to you? Think hard before you raise your voice to someone senior to you. It will be seen as disrespectful. Same goes with demanding an explanation from them as to why they took that position. Be tactful and ask them nicely and with respect in your voice.  Low volume, low intensity.
     
  • Is your voice the loudest or most intense of everyone in the room? Study those around you. How is everyone else acting compared to you? Don't be a trendsetter. You won't like the results.
     
  • Is the person you are talking to very emotional about the subject? (back off on the discussion unless it's an emergency).
     
  • Are you very emotional about it?
     
  • Is it likely that discussing it now, will help or only exacerbate things? (is time of the essence or can it be taken up later or dropped completely?)
     
  • Is this something that can be better put in writing when everyone has calmed down?
     
  • Is your response to the situation, really about the situation, or about other things unrelated to such? (Step outside yourself and ask if your intensity is due to other factors, i.e. ego, personal issues, boyfriend issues, family problems.) If it's about something else, back off, cool down and bring it up later if necessary.

Damage Control (What To Do If You Think You Went Too Far)

  • Ask for feedback from someone you can trust who was at the meeting/event.
    (Jim, was I harsh? Is there something I could have done better?) How did I come across to you? Do you have any idea how I came across to X?
     
  • Apologize immediately to the person if you think you came off hard or disrespectful. (I'm sorry. Sometimes I get intense, and I didn't mean in anyway to be disrespectful...)
     
  • Encourage coworkers to give you cues when you're overstepping the bounds. Agree beforehand what these cues are. For example:  "Jim, cough at me if I'm sounding too bossy, or whistle or make push down motions if I need to be less intense and chill out in a meeting."
     
  • Ask for suggestions on how to improve the tone of your voice or writing, EVEN WHEN YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING JUST FINE. By seeking the advice of the partner/senior attorney, it shows you respect their decisions and are making an honest effort to learn and improve.

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Asking For A Raise

Asking For A Raise (Brief Tips & Checklist)
Scroll down 1/4th the page.

Tips On Asking For A Raise
When, how, and how much.

Income Calculator
Estimates your weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, and yearly income and even takes out taxes! Useful when job hunting or negotiating for a raise.

Principles For Negotiating A Raise Or A Higher Job Offer

See Negotiating Your Terms Of Work

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Losing Or Leaving Your Job 

What if You Lose Your Job? (GA)
Various option and your legal rights.

Unemployment Insurance Benefits (Consumer-SOS)

Can't Pay Your Medical Bills, Rent, Mortgage or Utilities? (Consumer-SOS)
Step by step on what to do and where to go for assistance.

How To Keep Your Job & Protect Yourself Before and After You Become Unemployed (Consumer-SOS)

Deadline For When Your Ex Employer Must Pay You Your Final Pay Check (Chart For All 50 States)
The law in every state is different and some states such as GA have no law on this at all.

What It Means To Work In An Employment At Will State
This HR Website advises employers what they can and cannot do and includes firing employees and changing the terms of employment through revisions to employee handbooks.

Georgia Non-Compete Agreements (Consumer-SOS)
Learn when they're void or enforceable.

Changing Your Career (Consumer-SOS)

Making a Smooth Job Transition-How To Walk Out, And In, With Dignity
Tips to help you decide if you're really ready to leave, what to say when you leave, how to keep good contacts and more.

Dept Of Labor Occupational Handbook
Learn what the 150 most popular jobs pay, the work conditions there and what skills and education you need to get them.  The handbook also tells you what's hot now and what the hot jobs should be in the future. An excellent resource especially for college kids who want to plan ahead.

Finding The Perfect Job
Scroll down to the bottom for free advice on finding out what you really like to do and how to make money at it.

What To Do If You Are Fired
Your rights and what you can do to protect yourself.

Losing Or Leaving A Job (Nolo.com)
Lean about your rights on the way out the door, signing non-compete agreements and where to send your next resume.

Bad Job References & Defamation Claims

Restrictive Covenants Such As Trade Secret Agreements & Covenants Not To Compete.
The legality of such agreements and what you can do to protect yourself when leaving a job. 

Non-Compete Contracts-What Workers Can Do About Them 

Negotiating A Non-Compete Contract (Nolo)

Health Benefits-Keeping Your Insurance When You Lose You Job

Assistance for Needy Families By State
Welfare assistance in every state and DC.

Where Else To Go For Help

See also Credit & Debt

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Changing Your Career

Do What You Love and Convince Employers To Hire You For It (Consumer-SOS)
Get hired for the skills you enjoy using most. Includes self discovery questionnaire and how to convert your hobbies and talents into transferable skills employers value.

Jobs For People Age 50 & Up (Consumer-SOS)

Find Your Life Mission & Work The Job You Love

Escaping A Dull Job

Resume Action Words (Consumer-SOS)

Resources On How To Profile Businesses
Whether it's researching their track record or looking for sanctions, this is the place.

Dept Of Labor Occupational Handbook
Learn what the 150 most popular jobs pay, the work conditions there and what skills and education you need to get them.  The handbook also tells you what's hot now and what will be the hot jobs of the future. An excellent resource especially for college kids who want to plan ahead.

Resources On How To Profile Businesses
Whether it's researching their track record or looking for sanctions, this is the place.

Career Guide To Industries Handbook
Provides information on available careers by industry, including the nature of the industry, working conditions, employment, occupations in the industry, training and advancement, earnings and benefits, employment outlook, and lists of organizations that can provide additional information. 

Wages By Area & Occupation

US Economy At A Glance (Find Economic Hotspots)
To view a region, state, or metropolitan area economy at a glance page, please click on the state abbreviation on the map below or scroll down to the alphabetical list.

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Resume Action Words

Action Verbs For Cover Letters and Resumes

By Skill Categories

By Alphabetical Listing


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Discrimination
Under federal law, it is illegal to discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex (gender), national origin, disability, or age. This means that an employer cannot hire, fire, promote, demote or transfer a worker based on any of these factors.  Some states have also enacted their own laws which give further protection based on marital status and sexual orientation.  Call your state Department of Labor for details.

Age Pregnancy
Aids Race/Color
Disability Religion
Federal Contractors Sex/Sexual Harassment
National Origin Getting Help
How To Keep Your Job & Protect Yourself Before and After You Become Unemployed Misc.

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Age

Jobs For People Age 50 & Up (Consumer-SOS)

Age Discrimination: "Don’t Work in the Dark" -- Know Your Rights 
Workers are protected against age discrimination in recruitment, hiring, pay, benefits, training, promotion, job retention and other employment practices.

Short Summary Of  Federal Laws That Protect Workers And When They Apply
Learn who's covered under the ADA, COBRA, ADEA, ERISA, FMLA, FSLA, etc.

Facts About Age Discrimination

Summary of Steps to Maximize a Discrimination Claim (Brief)

Where To Find Help

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Aids

Should You Tell Your Employer That You Have AIDS?
Overview of existing case law throughout the US on whether you have a duty to disclose you have AIDS. (Very liberal)

Where To Find Help

See Consumer-SOS/Disabilities


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Disability

Georgia Law In The Workplace
Articles by local attorney on harassment, employer
handbooks, Internet privacy and other discrimination.

Short Summary Of  Federal Laws That Protect Workers And When They Apply
Learn who's covered under the ADA, COBRA, ADEA, ERISA, FMLA, FSLA, etc.

ADA- Reasonable Accommodation
This HR Website advises employers what they can and cannot do in regards to accommodating the disabled. Covers topics such as Major Life Activities, Conditions That Are Not Disabilities, Reasonable Accommodations and the Meaning of Undue Hardship.

Facts About The ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act)

Miscellaneous ADA Questions & Answers

ADA - Small Employers & Reasonable Accommodation

ADA - Your Employment Rights As An Individual With Disabilities

The Americans With Disabilities Act Questions & Answers (Good)

Disabilities & Work (Brochures Mostly From The Dept Of Justice)

EEOC Technical Assistance And Training Programs
The EEOC has a wide variety of fee-based training and technical assistance programs throughout the country geared to employers, employees and organizations in the private sector.

Where To Go For More ADA Information

Summary Of Steps To Maximize A Discrimination Claim (Brief)

Where To Find Help

For More See Consumer-SOS/Disabilities

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Federal Contractors

Employees Of Federal Contractors
An executive order discusses protections for covered Federal contractors and subcontractors from employment discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex and national origin.

Summary Of Steps To Maximize A Discrimination Claim
(Brief)

Where To Find Help

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National Origin

Facts About National Origin Discrimination

Facts, Forms & Frequently Asked Questions About National Origin Discrimination
Information on the Immigration and Nationality Act, steps to take to avoid immigration-related employment discrimination, and more.

Information On The Investigation And Prosecution Of Employers Charged With National Origin & Citizenship Status Discrimination

Short Summary Of  Federal Laws That Protect Workers And When They Apply
Learn who's covered under the ADA, COBRA, ADEA, ERISA, FMLA, FSLA, etc.

Where To Find Help


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Pregnancy

Short Summary Of  Federal Laws That Protect Workers And When They Apply
Learn who's covered under the ADA, COBRA, ADEA, ERISA, FMLA, FSLA, etc.

Fact About Pregnancy Discrimination

On-the-Job Benefits and Policies, Including Pregnancy & Family Leave
Learn how women can protect themselves from a host of discriminatory work policies.

Summary Of Steps To Maximize A Discrimination Claim (Brief)

Where To Find Help

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Race/Color

Short Summary Of  Federal Laws That Protect Workers And When They Apply
Learn who's covered under the ADA, COBRA, ADEA, ERISA, FMLA, FSLA, etc.

ADA- Reasonable Accommodation
This HR Website advises employers what they can and cannot do in regards to accommodating the disabled. Covers topics such as Major Life Activities, Conditions That Are Not Disabilities, Reasonable Accommodations and the Meaning of Undue Hardship.

Facts About Race/Color Discrimination

Summary Of Steps To Maximize A Discrimination Claim (Brief)

Where To Find Help


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Religion

Facts About Religious Discrimination

Short Summary Of  Federal Laws That Protect Workers And When They Apply
Learn who's covered under the ADA, COBRA, ADEA, ERISA, FMLA, FSLA, etc.

Summary Of Steps To Maximize A Discrimination Claim (Brief)

Where To Find Help

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Sex/Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment (Consumer-SOS)

Short Summary Of  Federal Laws That Protect Workers And When They Apply
Learn who's covered under the ADA, COBRA, ADEA, ERISA, FMLA, FSLA, etc.

Sex Discrimination, Sex Harassment, And Other Forms of Discrimination

Landmark US Supreme Court Cases On Sexual Harassment

Equal Pay
Gender Discrimination and Your rights under the Equal Pay Act.

Women And Hazardous Jobs
A Women's legal right not to be discriminated against doing dangerous work and what she can do to protect herself.

Pregnancy 

Summary Of Steps To Maximize A Discrimination Claim (Brief)

Where To Find Help


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Sexual Harassment

Georgia Law In The Workplace
Articles by local attorney on harassment, employer
handbooks, Internet privacy and other discrimination.

What Is Sexual Harassment? (Comprehensive, 8 pages)

Simple Rules To Scare Off Sexual Harassers (U.S. News & World Report)  Excellent!!! Pay the 2 bucks!!!!

Sexual Harassment (Articles From Nolo.com)

Facts About Sexual Harassment (EEOC)

Summary Of Steps To Maximize A Discrimination Claim (Brief)

Where To Find Help


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Getting Help

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)(800) 669-4000
The EEOC handles issues relating to discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age.

Filing A Charge With The EEOC
How to file a complaint if you believe you have been discriminated against by an employer, labor union or employment agency when applying for a job or while on the job because of your race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, or disability. 

Legal Help For Specific Causes (Mostly GA)
Aids, Artists, Asians, Cancer, Children/Juveniles,
Civil Rights/Religion, Consumer Law, Criminal Defense, Elderly & Disabled, Environment, Hispanics, Homeless, Homeowners, Lawyer Referrals, Women and more.

U.S. Department Of Labor Phone #'s (All 50 States & DC)

State Departments Of Labor (All 50 States & DC)
Enforces compliance with state wage and hour laws.

EEOC Quick Start -- Employees
Details issues relating to workplace discrimination, including information on various forms of harassment and how to file a claim and contact the EEOC.

Facts About EEOC Mediation 


Questions And Answers About EEOC Mediation

EEOC Mediation Contact List

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Mediation Index
Mediation can help you resolve your employment disputes and reach a voluntary, negotiated agreement. Choosing mediation to resolve employment discrimination disputes promotes a better work environment, reduces costs and works for the employer and the employee.

EEOC Technical Assistance And Training Programs

Where Else To Go For Help

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Misc.

Illegal Reference Checks (Consumer-SOS)

Prohibited Practices In the Work Place (Description & Links To Fed Law)

Discrimination Articles (Nolo.com)


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