Legal issues arise in the workplace on a near-daily basis, with the signing of contracts and different people mixing together both a common occurrence. As a result, as an employee, it is important to be aware of the common legal problems you may encounter, and how to navigate them. Here are 4 tips on how to navigate some of the most common problems in the workplace.
How to Deal with Workplace Discrimination
Discrimination at work on the basis of race, gender, age, disability, religion, or several other inalienable characteristics is a federal crime. As such, if you feel you have been the victim of such discrimination, you are well within your rights to take legal action. Nevertheless, it is generally agreed among employment attorneys that it is better to attempt to handle the issue internally first, whether informally or via your company’s complaint procedure.
If you do end up deciding on legal action, however, a lawyer can be a valuable tool in determining the likelihood of you winning your case, advocating for you, and providing expert advice. HKM employment attorneys, for example, have a dedicated team solely for tackling discrimination cases.
How to Report a Health and Safety Violation
Among other things, employers have a duty of care to their employees that includes ensuring workplace conditions are sufficiently safe. For example, businesses must typically provide adequate warnings for hazardous conditions and health and safety training to protect their employees. If you believe your employer has not upheld their duty of care in this regard, you may therefore be wondering how to report it. As in cases of workplace discrimination, it may be prudent to try and reconcile the issue internally with your employer first, especially if you are concerned about potential retaliatory action.
If internal resolution didn’t work for you or isn’t possible, you can then file a complaint anonymously with the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), who can then take legal action against your employer.
A Lawyer Can Help You with Overtime and Break Disputes
Beyond health and safety and discrimination laws, several other laws are in place to protect your rights as an employee that pertain to working hours. While the specifics of these laws can vary substantially depending on your jurisdiction, several states, for example, mandate that employers must pay 1.5x your salary for any overtime hours completed. Similarly, other laws may mean you are entitled to certain numbers of breaks per hours worked. If you can prove that your employer has violated these laws, your company may be liable to pay fines or back pay your unpaid overtime.
How to Act on a Wrongful Termination
If you feel you have been dismissed from your job illegally, you may be wondering if you can take legal action against your former employer. Unfortunately, in the USA, employers can only be liable if the reason for their firing was illegal. Reasons for firings that may be unlawful include terminations based on discrimination, retaliatory action, the refusal of an employee to commit unlawful acts, or breaches of contract. If you feel one of these reasons applies to you, you should contact an experienced employment attorney as quickly as possible, who can assess whether the termination was unlawful and whether you have enough evidence to prove this.