As business leaders, you must be well-versed in the latest labor and employment law developments. This comprehensive and streamlined course improves your confidence when handling workplace issues affecting employees.
If you’ve experienced unfair treatment in the workplace because of your age, race, religion, sex, or national origin, federal and state laws protect you. Examples of illegal discrimination include taking away responsibilities or privileges; denying pay raises or promotions; refusing to hire an applicant; changing work schedules or assignments; excluding you from staff meetings or other activities; a reprimand, suspension, or another discipline; hostility or harassment by coworkers; or termination (being fired).
Employees can file claims based on indirect evidence that their employer unlawfully discriminated against them in an employment litigation section. In addition to compensatory damages, victims can recover attorney’s fees and expert witness fees. Examples of indirect evidence include being replaced by another employee who doesn’t belong to the protected class, a pattern of disparate treatment, or circumstantial evidence of bias or bad faith.
In addition, the law prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. You can also file a complaint with the EEOC or DFEH. If you file a lawsuit, an experienced employment discrimination lawyer can help.
Harassment in the workplace can be a very damaging situation for both the victim and the employer. It can impact morale, work performance, job satisfaction, and productivity. It can also cause emotional and financial harm to the victim, their family, and friends.
It can include sexual advances, requests for dates, offensive jokes or conversations, unwanted touching, and other verbal and physical conduct of a sexual nature that unreasonably interferes with an individual’s ability to perform their job or creates an intimidating, hostile, or abusive work environment. It can also be based on an individual’s protected status, including race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), disability, genetic information, family medical history, or political affiliation.
If you believe you are a victim of harassment, contact an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible. There are concise time limits for filing an administrative charge with the EEOC and bringing a lawsuit in State court. An attorney can help you file in time, assess the strength of your case, and draft an administrative charge or a suit.
Retaliation is a serious legal issue that can damage employee morale and productivity. It also puts the employer in violation of federal and state laws on discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination. When an employee makes a complaint about a workplace issue and then experiences adverse job action. As a result, this is retaliation. Retaliation can occur from supervisors, managers, coworkers, and employers.
Sometimes it is obvious when retaliation occurs. For example, if an employee is passed over for a promotion or given a poor performance evaluation shortly after complaining about sexual harassment, this could be apparent retaliation. However, retaliation can also be more subtle, such as being reassigned to a different team or position, being passed over for a raise or transferred to a lower-paying role, or having hours and pay cuts.
If retaliation has occurred, employees can file a lawsuit against the employer. An attorney can identify relevant evidence, help gather the necessary documentation and information from employees, and represent clients in court. If successful, the client can receive back pay and compensatory damages for emotional distress.
Wrongful termination is an extreme violation of employment law, and employers typically take steps to prevent such claims from reaching a trial. As such, most wrongful termination cases are settled before reaching the courtroom.
If you were fired illegally, gather any documentation and information that could be helpful to your case. Keeping notes of conversations, emails, or other documentation is essential. Also, if there are any witnesses to the firing, ask them to provide written statements.
In some states, wrongful termination cases can be based on contract law and the at-will employment doctrine. This is mainly because of specific provisions in employee handbooks and policy manuals that create an implied contract for permanent employment or an oral promise that termination would be for cause only.
Aside from recovering lost income, wrongful termination settlements may include back pay and damages for emotional distress. Many victims see a successful lawsuit as providing validation and closure. They also seek to change company policies to prevent similar injustices from happening to others. Moreover, the emotional distress when workers are illegally terminated can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, depression, and nervousness.
Unfair Employment Practices
When people think of unfair treatment at work, they often envision harassment or discrimination. However, countless workplace actions can be considered unjust but not illegal under employment, civil rights, or disability laws.
For example, it might be unfair that your coworker jokes about your religion, but it is not unlawful under employment law. In addition, many employees experience policies and procedures that disparately impact protected classes — such as race, age, sex, religion, pregnancy or parental status, or gender identity — but these issues do not qualify as discrimination under the law.
Employees who have experienced unfair treatment should report the issue to their state labor board immediately. This will help build a record that could be useful when it comes time to take legal action. If workers believe they cannot resolve the issue through their employer’s internal channels, they can contact a lawyer for guidance.