Common Legal Issues Employees Face

Submitted by rachel on

It is important for you to be aware of the most common legal issues employees face so that you can identify legal issues in the workplace and ensure any laws are not broken.

1. Wrongful termination

This is sometimes referred to as wrongful dismissal and it is when an employer fires an employee the action has violated company policy or federal or state regulations. This could mean the employee has been fired without sufficient notice, without a just cause, or the correct severance pay or is a member of a protected class such as being a certain gender, race, sexual orientation or having certain religious beliefs.  It is illegal to fire an employee based on the person’s protected class.

2. Harassment

Harassment in the workplace occurs when there are serious instances discrimination against employees who are members of a protected class which could be due to their race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, national origin, age (40 years or older), disability or genetic information. This type of harassment could lead victims to file a compensation claim.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment takes place when an employee's supervisor, manager, or other person of authority offers or makes the suggestion that an employee will be given something, such as a raise in pay or promotion, in exchange for some kind of sexual favor.

3. Discrimination

Employment discrimination typically exists where an employer treats an applicant or employee less favorably just because of that person's race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. This type of discrimination is unlawful under federal laws. It can take form in being paid less, getting passed up for promotions, being given unfavorable shifts and more.

4. Wage Theft

This is when an employer hasn’t paid an employee the right amount of compensation for the work completed. This can be getting paid less than an agreed upon amount, withholding pay, not being paid overtime, withholding tips, and more.

5. Overtime Disputes

In some states your employer is required to pay you overtime if you work over a certain number of hours in a day or week. If your employer isn’t paying you for your overtime work, you can file a claim against your employer to get the payment you are owed. Employers are required to pay you at least the minimum wage, and it cannot deduct operating costs from your wages (such as uniforms, breakage, and more). 

6. Employer Retaliation

Employers cannot retaliate against an employee for filing a complaint of discrimination or harassment. An example of a whistleblower is when an employee reports a wrongdoing that he or she believe is in the public interest. Whistleblowing examples may include exposing criminal activity, such as theft or unethical or unjust behavior in the workplace, including racist, sexist or homophobic behavior.

Speak With an Employment Law Attorney

If you have experienced any legal issue in the workplace, you should know there are both state and federal laws which are in place to ensure employees are treated fairly. An attorney may be able to help you file a claim. To get in touch with an independent, participating attorney who subscribes to the website, complete the Free Case Evaluation on this page.

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