Labor and Employment Legal Services

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Wrongful Termination

Each state has specific laws for unlawful or wrongful termination, and since an employer would never volunteer this information it is essential that you obtain legal representation in this situation.

Workplace Harassment

The EEOC prohibits harassment, including sexual harassment, in the workplace. Women are most commonly affected by sexual harassment in the workplace and the National Women’s Law Center can provide you with further information. Federal law prohibits discrimination against employees or job applicants based on protected characteristics including race, gender, color, religion, national origin, age, or disability. Federal law also protects you from any retaliation or harassment on the basis of a protected characteristic. The Equal Pay Act requires men and women to receive equal pay for equal work. Some states have laws that prohibit discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation, but federal law does not prohibit such discrimination. Workers’ compensation claims are processed by state agencies and state laws spell out the qualifications of an employee covered by workers’ compensation.

Personal Injury

Workers’ compensation is a specific type of insurance that covers employees who are injured or who suffer death as a result of performing their job. Worker’s compensation helps employers by preventing worker-injury lawsuits and allows employees to receive payments for medical treatments and lost wages. Although employers are not required by law to offer paid sick leave, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) applies to all federal, state, and government employers. The FMLA only allows you to take time off in a limited number of situations and your employer has the right to request proof that you or your family member has a serious health condition. During FMLA leave, your employer is required to continue paying for your health coverage and is prohibited from harassing or discriminating against you. Upon your return, the FMLA requires that you be given an equivalent job without forfeiting salary, benefits, or seniority.

Compensation Issues

  • Overtime – The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime rules are based on the standard that 40 hours or work makes up one workweek. It is important to note that not all employees are covered by overtime laws and exemptions from overtime pay are based on job duty requirements. The laws surrounding overtime pay are complicated, as they vary by state as well as by job title.
  • Compensation Basics – Federal labor laws do not require anything other than overtime and minimum wage, therefore you cannot file a complaint to the FLSA based on vacation, sick time, bonuses, or commission compensation. Although the FLSA establishes the federal minimum wage for hourly employees, many states require employers to pay a state minimum wage. Federal labor laws do not offer you much protection if an employer does not pay you as expected, as federal laws only require minimum wage. However, several states have passed labor laws requiring employers to pay wages owed to an hourly employee at regulated intervals.
  • Wage Garnishment – Federal law allows your employer to withhold a percentage of your paycheck for wage garnishments. Wage garnishments are often applied to the paychecks of individuals who owe child support. Although it is illegal for an employer to terminate your employment due to a single wage garnishment, it is legal for an employer to terminate you after they receive multiple wage garnishment notices.

Labor and employment laws are complicated and vary by state. It is in your best interest to contact a specialized employment attorney if you believe your employer is in violation of a federal or state labor law.

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