Employment law is a collection of laws and rules regulating the relationship between employers and employees. Sometimes they are called labor laws. Employment laws say when employers can hire employees, when they can work, payment for work, and prohibit discrimination based on sex or age. Some states have additional laws that apply to employment matters, so you should familiarize yourself with the laws so you can determine if your employer violated any state or federal laws in the way they treated you.
There are several different aspects of employment law. They apply to different parts of employment as well as wages, termination, harassment, and so forth. Each aspect of the law has different requirements and guidelines that employers must follow. Here are some of the major components of employment law:
- Wrongful termination – Wrongful termination involves firing someone for no legitimate reason. It could be because of sexual harassment – the employee refuses a manager’s advances, it could be because of age discrimination, or for being a whistleblower. It can also be when company policy isn’t followed – per paperwork or the handbook – when the employee is let go. Wrongful termination can be the grounds for a lawsuit or legal action against the employer.
- Sexual harassment – Sexual harassment occurs when you are mistreated by your employer because of your gender. It may be that you aren’t promoted because of your gender. You may be subjected to inappropriate treatment and comments because of your gender. You may be paid less, or you may not even be hired because of your gender.
- Wage theft – Another major employment law field focuses on wage theft. This could be from failing to pay overtime, not paying for all the hours worked, writing a bad check, not providing the benefits promised, and so forth. Wage theft violates federal and state laws, so you can file a legal claim to recover your pay.
The Importance of Documentation
If you have been the victim of an employment law violation, you can pursue legal action against your employer. Your employee handbook, your employment contract, any employee memos or forms, emails, and other posted signs are beneficial to your case and can help you prove that you were the victim of an employment law violation. The more documentation and evidence that you have, the more likely you are to have a successful claim against your employer where you can recover compensation for your damages.
If you have witnesses to the situation who witnesses improper behaviors, such as harassment or discrimination, or who overhead conversations and comments, their corroborating details can be very helpful to the success of your employment law claim against your employer for their actions toward you. The more evidence and documentation you can provide, the stronger your lawsuit will be because you are providing supporting evidence that details what happened and how it happened and what was done wrong.
Different Kinds of Evidence
There are many kinds of evidence that you can use when you are filing an employment law claim against your employer for some wrongful act. You should keep as much evidence as possible so you can show that you were a victim of mistreatment by your employer. Here are few pieces of evidence that you can use to support your claim:
- Employee handbook
- Employment contract
- Document comments made and things said
- Witness statements
The Claims Process
If you are the victim of discrimination, harassment or other illegal treatment in the workplace, you will want to file a complaint with your company’s human resources department. Sometimes at that point, they will work to resolve the problem within the company. If they don’t properly address the issue, or if they seem to ignore your complaints, you will need to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC will review the situation and will then respond. The complaint will be evaluated, and the agency will determine how to proceed with the charge.
The EEOC may dismiss the charge because they don’t have jurisdiction, such as the deadline having been missed or no laws were violated. The charge may be investigated with witnesses interviewed, the employer and employee both asked for information, documents and evidence gathered, and a visit made to the workplace. The EEOC sometimes tries to mediate a settlement in which the employee and employer sit down with a third-party to come up with a resolution to the matter.
In some cases, the agency may issue a finding, either that there is a cause existing to believe that discrimination took place, or that there is no such cause in existence. The EEOC may decide to litigate the charge itself on behalf of the employee, but this is a rare case. Usually, the EEOC only takes a case if raises important or novel issues that the agency wants to prosecute. If the employee wants to go ahead with a lawsuit while the EEOC is processing the charge, the employee may request the right to sue letter. Even if a letter is asked for by the employee, the EEOC will issue one after they finished processing the charge. This letter means that the employee has met the requirement of filing a charge and can proceed with the claim to court.
Consult With A Lawyer
If you have been mistreated by your employer, and you are ready to file an employment law claim against your employer, you should consult with an employment law attorney who handles such cases in your area. Most employment law attorneys take cases on a contingency basis, which means that you will not have to pay anything out of pocket. However, some employment law attorneys do charge an hourly rate. Be sure to discuss the payment scale and other details when retaining a lawyer to represent you. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page to share the details of your case.