Workplace Harassment and Retaliation
Workplace harassment and retaliation can take many forms. The law protects job applicants and employees from harassment and retaliation in the workplace if it is based on a protected characteristic, such as your race/color, age, sex, pregnancy, religion, national origin, or disability.
Wages and Overtime Pay
Many workers today do not receive proper pay for their work. This is called wage theft, which is illegal. A lawyer can help you obtain the pay you are owed from your current or previous employer. You are entitled to unpaid wages whether you are paid in cash or by check. You are entitled to unpaid wages regardless of your immigration status.
Discrimination and Wrongful Termination
Federal and state laws protect you from discrimination in the workplace, including unlawful or “wrongful” termination, based on your membership in certain categories, known as protected classes. Protected classes differ under different laws.
Employment Contracts and Severance Agreements
When an employee is terminated or laid off, some companies have a policy of giving the employee severance pay. Severance pay is not required by law, and how and whether an employer chooses to give severance pay is at its discretion. Companies that offer severance pay each have their own policies and guidelines for how severance is handled.
Employees are often afraid to report violations of the law or threats to public health and safety because they fear retaliation from their employer. Because an employee’s financial livelihood and usually health insurance depend on continued employment, fear of losing a job is pervasive. Laws that protect whistleblowers encourage employees to come forward with evidence that will make our world safer, healthier, and more just.
Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation Agreements
Non-competition agreements (also known as “non-competes”) are contracts, or clauses within contracts, that prevent an employee from working for a competitor after leaving their current employer. Employers sometimes require new employees to sign a non-compete as a condition of hiring, or after a period of employment in exchange for new perks like stock options. Non-compete agreements protect employers from things like dissemination of trade secrets or the loss of clients who might follow a departed employee to a new company in the same geographic area, but they can also severely impact an employee’s ability to earn a living.
Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”)
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), eligible employees have the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for qualifying reasons. If your leave is protected under the FMLA, your employer must give you your job back when you return, or give you a position with equivalent seniority, working conditions, and benefits. If your employer normally pays for your health insurance, it must continue to do so while you are on leave.
The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act gives workers some protections when there are plant closings or mass layoffs. The WARN Act requires employers, with some exceptions, to give workers 60 days’ notice before a plant closing or mass layoff. The company must provide this notice to either the affected workers or their union representatives; to the State dislocated worker unit; and to the appropriate unit of local government.
Other Practice Areas
At Law Offices of Mitchell Schley, LLC we can help you with various other areas of employment law including health & safety/workplace injuries, termination & unemployment, unions & collective action, and more. Schedule your free initial consultation with us today to see how we can help you with your case.