Guide To Employment Laws Defining Illegal Employer Actions (And Your Options When They Violate Your Rights in The Workplace)

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There are a number of reasons why you may have decided to get more information and possibly help from a labor attorney in your area regarding your employment situation.

Whatever the unique details of your case, you are likely frustrated and angry at the injustice of it all.

A number of federal employment laws, State laws, and regulations exist to protect the rights of workers... As an employee you should have a reasonable expectation of a workplace free from discrimination, harassment, and unlawful retaliation and illegal job loss.

What the rules governing your employment are will depend on whether you live in a right to work state vs. employment at will, along with regulations specific to your state of residence. Determining when your treatment has broken the law is sometimes very clear, in other examples it can be rather tricky.

BUT... Make no mistake, when your employer has violated the law - You don't have to stand for it.

Generally speaking, for your case to be considered by an employment law firm on contingency your employers actions will need to be determined to be illegal, rather than just unfair.

The hard truth... There is very little that can be done if your company has treated you 'unfairly' but has not violated the law in any way. Your lawyer will be able help you determine if what happened to you violated the law or was simply grossly unfair, take advantage of the free consultation to get the answers for your questions and have your case reviewed.

Practice areas of labor lawyers fall under the following general categories: workplace discrimination claims, sexual harassment cases, family medical leave act (FMLA) violations, overtime and unpaid wages, whistleblower protection, and wrongful termination & retaliation claims.

If you feel your employer's behavior was unlawful and violated your rights as a worker, share what happened with an employment law specialist, the best attorneys in this field will be able to review your employment situation and help you determine if you employer was covered and what recovery options may be available to you under the law.

Continue reading to learn more what protections you are entitled and how a labor attorney may be able to help.

labor lawyer

Unpaid Overtime & Wage Theft

Overtime Claims: Employees who work for a 'covered' employer over 40 hours per week, are entitled time and one half for hours worked over forty under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Your employer must have a gross revenue over $500,000 and two or more employees. If you qualify under the law (meeting hours worked standards, employee classification, and work for a covered employer) and you aren't being paid entitled pay and one half for your work as stipulated - your employer is stealing from you entitled wages.

Overtime wage theft can happen in a number of ways. Mandatory overtime schemes, illegal lunch deductions, off the clock work, unpaid mandatory meetings, unlawful compensation schemes, comp time and other pay 'loopholes', are usually no more than lies employers use to reduce what they are paying their employees - in violation of the law. New Overtime Law Rules (2016).

Minimum Wage: Jobs that receive tipped compensation (restaurant industry), may require 'covered' employers to pay minimum wage for hours worked even if the employee receives tips. Minimum wage violations occur when covered employers fail to pay their tipped staff the mandated minimum wage. Read our guide to minimum wage law matters here. Additionally, illegal tip pools, and other tip distribution schemes can often run afoul of the law and an employment attorney may be able to recover lost wages. Fair Labor Standards Act - (FLSA)

Wage Theft: Let's be clear, any entitled but withheld pay constitutes wage theft. However, this term is most commonly used to describe pay violations involving commission based employees in real estate and sales based jobs. In an attempt to avoid paying entitled commissions, employers may fire the salesperson to avoid paying whats owed. Civil theft claims, breach of contract and unpaid recovering unpaid commissions owed could all be considered falling under the category of wage theft claims.

For maximum recovery, ou need an attorney unafraid to have to fight your case in court if necessary, one that will stand up to your company if your employer chooses to fight it out legally.

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maternity leave for pregnancy

Family Medical Leave Act Claims

Covered employees are protected from retaliation, getting fired, or being pressured or disciplined for exercising their right to covered medical leave.

Employees who require time off for an serious health condition or illnes or after a pregnancy or tragedy, who take unpaid leave (up to 12 weeks) have a legal expectation to not be discriminated against by their lawyer for having exercised their rights.

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) law is clear: FMLA protects covered workers... determining if your place of work is covered is a bit trickier however.

BUT... all too commonly employers continue to violate the law and pressure, punish or fire employees for taking leave.

FMLA Retaliation:

Illegal employer actions can include such behavior as intimidating the employee to prevent their taking leave, denying a valid request for FMLA leave, or harassing the individual over their taking leave.

Additionally, illegal employer retaliating against the employee can include disciplinary action or a loss of advancement opportunity or benefits.

If you were retaliated against for taking FMLA time off, were fired, or your employment situation suffered as a result: an FMLA lawyer may be able to help you recover benefits lost back wages and possibly liquidated damages.

Additional State regulations and local laws may also afford additional protections in the workplace for employees in your State.

If you have a potential Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) claim, or are unsure whether the employment laws cover your leave, ask an employment attorney to review your case to get the direct answers you need.

Click Here To Read More About FMLA Violations
being discriminated against at work

Workplace Discrimination Claims

Protected Class: A person's race, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, religion may not base an employer decision to discipline, hire, fire or provide advancement opportunities. Additionally, workers who report or complain about illegal activity (blow the whistle), and employees who request leave for serious health conditions are protected from the employer deciding to demote, fire, or take disciplinary action based on such an event.

A number of important laws exist to prohibit discrimination at work and protect employees.

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII): prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin;
  • Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA): prohibits sex-based wage discrimination;
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA): prohibits discrimination of workers 40 years of age or older;
  • Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990: as amended (ADA), prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector, and in state and local governments;
  • Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973: prohibits employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities who work in the federal government;
  • Civil Rights Act of 1991: allows for monetary damages in intentional employment discrimination cases;
  • State Regulations: (Specific to your State of Residence) See:: Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

The best employment law firms will analyze your claims of being discriminated against, in an effort to determine if your employer did in fact base their decision making in violation of the law. It's not uncommon for text messages, facebook posts, emails and memos to reveal evidence in support of your claims. The best attorneys are experts and uncovering a pattern of workplace discrimination or the evidence of discriminatory practices in fighting your case.

If you have been a victim of discrimination, share what happened right away with an skilled employment lawyer, it's the first step in finding out exactly what legally can be done to help..

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legal protection for whistleblowers

Whistleblower Protection Lawyers

Fired after coming forward and doing the right thing?

Coming forward to report fraud, unsafe conditions, or illegal activity occurring in your workplace is protected under federal laws and state law.

That doesn't stop employers across the country from pressuring whistle blowers to resign, harassing them for bringing attention to the illegal activity, or firing employees who complain across the country.

Your whistleblower lawyer will help ensure you receive the protections you are entitled under State and Federal law. When you have been retaliated against for blowing the whistle, the employment attorney representing may be able to help you seek recovery of lost income, damages, reinstatement of your job (when appropriate), and the restoration of your reputation.

What does retaliation look like?

If you have notified management or human resources of an unsafe (OSHA), illegal or fraudulent action - and having given your employer the opportunity to make things right you are terminated - that is unlawful retaliation.

It's not unheard of for employers to further harm whistleblowers by attempting to black ball or 'black list' the individual in the industry as a 'problem employee' preventing the person from finding another job.

If after coming forward employment opportunities for advancement are no longer available, or a pattern of disciplinary actions or diminished responsibility at work occurs, a whistleblower protection attorney may be able to help.

You should never have to be afraid to stand up in the workplace and do what is right - the protection laws exist to protect you - and your labor attorney can help you with recovery when you are unlawfully persecuted.

To find out how your employer may have violated the law and how representation can help, share what happened now.

Read More About Legal Protections for Whistleblowers Here
legal help after getting fired illegally

llegal Job Loss / Wrongful Termination

Unfair vs. Illegal: People lose their job for countless reasons across the country. No matter how unfair your job loss, if it is not illegal, there is very little that an employer lawyer may be able to do for you.

If you work in an "at-will" state, you can be fired for almost any reason, lawfully, so long as your termination doesn't violate any of the labor protections in existence.

Unlawful Job Loss:

If you are terminated and it was because you are a member of a protected class, you were fired after complaining about workplace discrimination, after reporting sexual harassment at work, after coming forward as a whistleblower, because of exercising your right to covered FMLA leave - it may be illegal regardless of working in an "at-will" state.

Recommended wrongful termination attorneys will examine the circumstances surrounding your job loss, and will be able to help you determine if your termination was wrongful or not and if you may have a case. If you were fired and you believe it was because you are gay, you lost your job because you were pregnant, or if it had anything to do with your race, nation of origin, religion or age and it becomes a condition of your employment - you may have a case.

To have the security and financial stability of your job ripped from you unexpectedly is traumatic. It's important to discuss the risks of pursuing a wrongful termination claim to weigh against what a settlement or successful resolution may be able to accomplish.

Whether a quick settlement or pursuing full damages in a trial is a better resolution for you will require an honest discussion with your lawyer. Time is extremely limited to take appropriate legal action if you feel you have a wrongful dismissal claim (180 days to file a claim from the day of the event - some extensions are possible in certain circumstances).

If you feel you have been wrongly discharged, speak with a labor lawyer to discuss your options right away.

Click Here for Wrongful Termination Help

Important Labor Laws & Regulations

If you believe you may have been victimized by an illegal employer action, time is of the essence for you to share what happened, file a claim and take appropriate legal action.

Getting started with your employment law claim.

If you are being harassed or discriminated against at work, you can file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), however we recommend independent counsel.

You can contact your State Labor Office for more information on employment laws in your state.

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)
  • Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA)
  • Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990: (ADA)
  • Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973: prohibits employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities who work in the federal government;
  • Civil Rights Act of 1991 (CRA)
State Regulations: (Specific to your State of Residence)

State by State Dept. of Labor Offices: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan,, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin,Wyoming


Share the details of your case with our employment attorneys now, take the first step towards reclaiming what is rightfully yours.


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