Navigating employment laws is an essential aspect of running a business. Finding trusted legal guidance is vital to ensure compliance, whether you want to establish new policies or fine-tune existing ones.
Avoid costly legal disputes by ensuring that your hiring practices, salary levels, and job classifications comply with the law. Familiarize yourself with the National Labor Relations Act, which grants employees Section 7 rights to discuss work conditions.
While a business is not required to enter into a written contract with every employee, it can use employment contracts to establish employment terms, such as salary, working hours, vacation and sick leave, and grievance procedures. In addition, these agreements can include a clause that ensures ownership of intellectual property created by an employee while employed at the company.
Employers may not make unilateral changes to an employment contract without reasonable cause or risk a breach of the contract. However, a contract might contain a “force majeure” clause that allows the employer to make exceptions for extraordinary circumstances or in the interests of public safety.
For example, companies headquartered in one state with employees in other states should consider having the agreement governed by the direction of the worker’s home state to prevent conflicting court decisions on noncompetition and nonsolicitation clauses.
When an employee participates in protected activities such as filing a harassment or discrimination complaint, reporting a workplace safety issue, participating in a government investigation or lawsuit, or raising concerns with HR or company leadership, it is illegal for their employer to punish them. This type of punishment is known as retaliation. Retaliation can be blatant, such as a firing, pay reduction, or job/shift reassignment, but it can also be subtle.
For instance, a manager may create a hostile work environment by making obscene comments, and an employee decides to follow the company’s harassment policy and file a report with the human resources department. Then, the manager gives the employee’s best shifts to another worker without explanation. It is a form of retaliation that violates state and federal anti-discrimination laws.
With the help of a skilled employment lawyer from Linden Law Partners, you can confidently build a solid legal case to prove that your employer retaliated against you. You must confirm a direct and causal connection between your participation in the protected activity and your employer’s adverse action. Several factors can help you establish this connection, including temporal proximity and evidence of a retaliatory motive.
Discrimination laws protect individuals from unfair treatment based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age, including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation. These laws may also prohibit the use of genetic information to discriminate. Harassment includes unwanted verbal or physical advances and requests for sexual favors.
Discriminatory policies, evaluations, and promotion criteria must be based on objective job-related factors, not specific traits that have a disproportionately disadvantageous effect on members of salient social groups. It’s also illegal to exclude a person from an employer’s business by requiring them to sign a no-rehire or noncompete clause as part of any settlement of a discrimination claim.
Having clear policies and procedures, conducting regular audits, and taking solid disciplinary action when necessary can help reduce the risk of employment discrimination. But even the best businesses can be hit with a human rights claim if one of their employees feels that they have been discriminated against.
Employee rights laws were created to help protect employees from exploitation and discrimination. They apply to all types of employees, including job applicants. For example, a prospective employer cannot ask an applicant for family-related information during the hiring process, and an employer may only conduct a background or credit check after making a conditional employment offer.
In addition, many states have laws governing how long an employee has to bring a lawsuit against their employer for various workplace violations. Knowing about these statutes of limitations will be helpful for business owners because it can help them avoid litigation.
Employees also have the right to speak out against discrimination and safety violations. As per federal law, workers can file complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or the National Labor Relations Board to ensure workplace safety and protection. They can also expect that their medical and disability information will remain confidential. They also have the right to unionize and engage in collective bargaining.
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