Most people need to work to survive, to provide for ourselves, and to provide for our families. We can spend more time working than we spend with our families and loved ones, or engaging in our hobbies and pastimes. For these reasons, our jobs can define a significant part of who we are and what we do. When an employer unlawfully takes away your job, hinders your ability to perform it, or fails to pay you what you are owed, the consequences - both personally and professionally - can be devastating.
Employment laws protect employees from unlawful conduct, including discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Additionally, many employment laws provide employees with rights for protected leave and accommodations for medical issues. This website contains detailed information about these issues. A short description of each is provided below:
Employment discrimination laws prohibit your employer from discriminating against you because of your age, gender, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, pregnancy, disability (or perceived disability), or genetic information. Employers cannot discriminate against employees in matters involving, among other things:
- hiring and firing;
- promotion, demotion or transfer;
- assignment or classification of employees;
- reduction in force (RIF);
- forced retirement;
- job advertisements and recruitment;
- use of company facilities;
- training and apprenticeship programs;
- retirement plans, health/medical and fringe benefits; or
- disability leave and severance.
The law also protects employees from harassment in the workplace when that harassment is based on an employee's gender, race, religion, disability, pregnancy, or other protected characteristic. Most typically harassment takes the form of sexual harassment, which can include any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal or physical conduct that creates an offensive or sexually charged work environment for employees of either gender.
To ensure that employees are safe to complain about illegal activities - including their concerns about discrimination, harassment, pay issues, and safety problems - the federal employment laws prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who raise these types of complaints. It is no surprise that employers can become angry when an employee blows the whistle on illegal activity, and that this anger can result in retaliation against the employee. Retaliation can take many forms, including termination, demotion, harassment, job transfer, and reassignment of job duties.
Leave and Accommodation:
The Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees who qualify to take up to 12 weeks of protected job leave to care for their own serious health condition, to care for the serious health condition of a family member, and for the birth or care of a newborn or adopted child. In addition to leave under the FMLA, employers are also required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities.
If you believe your employment rights have been violated, the employment attorneys at Weiner & Sand LLC are here to help.