When it comes to employers and employees, it’s natural that from time to time a disagreement may arise. Whether it’s a work schedule, overtime pay, or an issue such as sexual harassment or racial discrimination, when these employment disputes occur, many factors must be considered. In many cases, an employee may be terminated or pressured to drop any complaints they may have against their employer. In serious situations such as these, hiring the services of an experienced and knowledgeable employment law attorney may be necessary. If you find yourself involved in an employment dispute, here are four things to keep in mind.
4 Types of Employment Disputes
Of all the employment disputes employees have with their employers, overtime pay is one of the most common. While many employees automatically assume working more than 40 hours per week entitles them to overtime pay, that is not always the case. Because overtime laws are considered some of the most complex in employment law, it can be difficult to find a simple answer to the dispute. In these cases, it comes down to the type of work an employees does, and whether or not it is exempt from overtime pay. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, jobs considered Executive, Administrative, or Professional are exempt from overtime pay. If your dispute involves jobs in these categories, an employment law attorney may need to be consulted.
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employees are protected from being sexually harassed on the job. However, complaints of sexual harassment are filed almost daily in the United States, making it almost as pervasive as questions pertaining to wages. However, as with overtime pay, defining and proving sexual harassment can be difficult. Because courts often struggle to define behavior or actions that constitute sexual harassment, employees can have difficulty proving their cases. However, in these cases it’s important to make a distinction as to whether a supervisor or co-worker is doing the harassing, since this can play a large role in determining which legal rights and remedies may be available.
If an employee is asked to do something illegal, or is aware of illegal activity occurring at their workplace, they may be afraid to say anything due to the threat of retaliation. However, state and federal laws known as “whistleblower” laws are in place to protect employees from such actions being taken against them. Whether it’s OSHA laws regarding unsafe work conditions, the False Claims Act protecting employees who reveal overbilling the government, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act which protects employees who reveal illegal activity at financial firms, those who choose to act as their conscience tells them can have peace of mind knowing they are legally protected. However, since many of these laws have statutes of limitations as short as 30 days, it’s imperative to file any claims as soon as possible. Learn more about Whistleblower lawsuits.
Family and Medical Leave
For employees who have sick family members or take time off to have a baby, trying to balance personal and professional responsibilities can be a challenge. Because not all employers offer leave benefits, employment disputes can arise concerning time off or even the employee keeping their job. However, in these cases the Family and Medical Leave Act may be of help. Allowing employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to care for sick family members, have a baby, or tend to their own health issues, it can often be the difference in maintaining or losing a job. If there is a dispute as to whether your FMLA rights have been violated, consult an employment lawyer immediately.
Contact an Employment Dispute Lawyer today.