Job providers and their employees alike should be aware of the most common employment law issues that might affect them. Los Angeles Attorney Jay S. Rothman says those issues range from pay to the work environment and just about anything else that might affect an employer-employee relationship.
Whether you are a job provider or a worker, the following are five common employment law issues of which you should be aware.
Minimum Wage and Overtime Violations
Every state has a mandatory minimum wage and overtime laws that directly affect employer costs and worker incomes. When employers do not pay minimum wage or overtime as required, employment law violations occur.
Jay Rothman says workers can sue their employers and regain their lost wages, plus interest and maybe even punitive damages. When many workers have the same complaint against the same employer, a class action lawsuit often ensues.
Hiring and Workplace Discrimination
It is against the law to discriminate against job applicants, workers, or managers due to their race, age, gender, and many other factors. If an employer refuses to hire someone due to discriminatory reasons, a hiring violation happens. That same is true if the employer refuses to promote a worker who otherwise is qualified for a position of greater responsibility and pay.
An employer or manager might unfairly treat an employee for discriminatory reasons. Maybe an employer refuses a reasonable request for workplace accommodation due to a disability that a worker has suffered. Those are common examples of workplace discrimination.
Sexual harassment occurs when an employer, manager, or coworker makes another worker unwelcome advances toward or acts in a sexually suggestive behavior. The behavior might be directed at an individual worker or generalized. It might include unwanted touching, requests for sexual favors, or just making sexualized comments or jokes within earshot of another worker.
The federal Family Medical Leave Act enables workers to take time off, with or without pay, to tend to family needs. It most often applies when a female worker takes time off to give birth and recover. It also could apply to male workers whose wives have just given birth to a child.
Workers also might seek FMLA leave if a spouse or close family member has suffered a serious injury or illness. Refusing legitimate FMLA requests for leave could trigger an FMLA violation and a federal employment lawsuit.
Job providers cannot fire workers for unwarranted reasons. Those reasons might be discriminatory and could result in a wrongful termination lawsuit filed in a federal court, state court, or both.
Many states have at-will employment laws that enable an employer to terminate workers with no reason given. Jay Rothman notes when one or more workers have experienced workplace discrimination or harassment, the termination might be deemed wrongful and make the job provider accountable in court.