Employment laws were enacted (and continually revamped) to ensure that employers are protected. There was once a time in the U.S. that employers could do or say anything to an employee without the fear of legal consequences. Though the country still has a lot of work to do make the workplace safe and fair to people of all colors, religions, and genders, in its current form it offers a wide range of protections on the local, state, and federal levels. If an employer violates employment laws, they may be subjected to heavy fines, thorough investigations, and a bad reputation. Current employment laws offer employees protections against discrimination, harassment, unlawful firing, unsafe workplace conditions, child labor, etc. Since employment law is a complex and robust discipline, it is recommended that you connect with a proven attorney in the event that your rights have been violated by your employer. According to Attorney Keith Stern, employment lawyers with knowledge of the subject, experience, and adequate resources help to level the playing field and empowers you to stand up for your rights. Learn more about the importance of employment law below.
What Employment Laws Provide Employees
In general, U.S. employment laws offer employees protections that they would otherwise not have. In addition to laws that prohibit discrimination, there are many other regulations that protect employees from negligent actions by their employers. Current laws provide employees with the following types of protections:
- Discrimination and harassment
- Workplace safety and health
- Worker’s compensation
- Child labor laws
- Minimum wage laws
If you have been unlawfully treated by your employer, it is imperative that you stand up for your rights. Not only for yourself but to potentially protect future employees that may be subjected to the same treatment if the employer’s actions are left unchecked.
What Employment Laws Don’t Guarantee
While employment laws offer a barrage of protections for employers, they are not meant to protect workers from all problems that they may face in the workplace. For instance, harassment is illegal, but “petty teasing” is not. Furthermore, employment laws cannot save you from being fired (in most cases). Many states offer “at-will” employment. This means that an employer has the right to terminate your employment for any reason that they choose as long as it is not unlawful. Lastly, current employment laws guarantee a minimum wage for employees, but not a working wage. If you are in doubt about whether or not your employer has infringed on your employment rights, it is recommended that you consult with an employment lawyer as soon as possible.
When You May Need an Employment Law Attorney
Employment attorneys are not only helpful when you have been discriminated against and/or harassed in the workplace. They can also be an asset when you are signing an employment contract, you would like to take your FMLA leave but are pressured to not do so, your employer has misclassified your position (so they don’t have to pay you fair wages), worker’s compensation claims, you’re not being appropriately paid for overtime, etc. In most cases, if you seek legal actions against your employer, they will hire an employment attorney to defend them. If you are pursuing legal action against them on your own, you may face an uphill battle. Consulting with an employment attorney will give you clarity about whether or not you have a strong case against your employer and what steps you should take to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.