The Basics of Employment Law
Employment law protects the rights of individuals in the workplace. Its purpose is to prevent workplace disruption and help both employers and employees to treat each other fairly.
Employees have basic rights to organize a union and bargain with an employer. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) 1935 codified those rights. It also required employers to bargain with unions in good faith and protects the right to take collective action including a strike.
An employment contract is a written agreement between an employer and employee that details the terms of the employment relationship. It can include everything from the duties and responsibilities of the employee to the payment schedule.
There are several different types of contracts, and the type you choose depends on your business and your needs. If you have any questions about which type of contract is best for your company, consult a professional lawyer.
The majority of employment relationships in the United States are considered “at will.” This means that either party can terminate the other’s job at any time and for any reason. Although some employees and employers may find this term confusing, it is an important principle to understand.
Breaches of an employment contract are usually subject to penalties, and sometimes the contract itself specifies the amount of damages that will be awarded. An employment attorney can help you understand the fine print and determine what the consequences of a breach might be.
Termination clauses: A termination clause in an employment contract is the standard provision that states that both parties can terminate the employment relationship for any reason at any time. This can include a violation of the contract or an employee’s disability.
Non-compete agreements: Some employment contracts contain restrictive covenants that prevent employees from working for competitors after leaving their current jobs. This is known as a “non-compete” or a “no-sweat” contract, and it can be especially helpful to high-level executives and other highly compensated employees.
Severance Pay: Many employment contracts also contain a provision for severance pay in the event that an employee is fired before the end of their agreement. This provision may require the employer to pay a certain percentage of an employee’s salary for a specified period of time, depending on the circumstances.
Choice of Law: An employment contract may contain a choice-of-law clause that states that the laws in the state where the contract is executed will govern any disputes that arise between the employer and the employee, regardless of where a lawsuit is filed. This can help to keep the cost of litigation down.
Whether you are a victim of discrimination or harassing behavior, you have legal rights. You can sue your employer or other people responsible for the discrimination.
Federal and state laws are designed to protect employees against discrimination in the workplace. However, discrimination can take many forms and may be difficult to spot or prove.
In the United States, federal law protects you from discrimination in hiring, firing, job applications and other employment related decisions based on your race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age, disability or genetic information. It also prohibits discrimination in the areas of training and apprenticeship, layoffs, promotions and compensation.
You may also have a claim against your employer for retaliation in the workplace if you file a complaint or protest unlawful discrimination in the workplace. Examples of retaliation include threatening or firing you for filing a complaint, reducing your pay or benefits because you filed a discrimination claim, or moving you to less favorable assignments or shifts.
The laws in Connecticut protect workers from harassment based on their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability. The Connecticut Human Relations Commission provides a hotline that you can call to report harassment in the workplace.
A person who believes he or she has been harmed because of discrimination in the workplace can seek relief through a private lawsuit or by filing a complaint with the Connecticut Department of Labor. If the court finds discrimination, you may be awarded damages and other relief.
Some other state and local laws can provide additional protection from discrimination in the workplace. These laws include:
EEOC guidance on discrimination in hiring, promotion, termination, and other decisions regarding terms and conditions of employment;
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;
Federal laws make it illegal for an employer to hire, fire or otherwise select employees because they are members of a protected group or because they are members of certain organizations. This includes protecting women and men from discrimination in the hiring, firing or selection of employees based on their race, color, religion, sexual orientation, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetic information.
Termination is the process of letting an employee go from employment with a company or organization. The process can be voluntary or involuntary, depending on the circumstances. Involuntary termination may happen due to poor performance or when a company downsizes its workforce.
The terms of an employment contract can give employees some protection in situations where their employer wants to terminate them. However, termination does not protect them from liability for unperformed contract obligations or from other breaches that occurred prior to the contract being terminated.
There are many reasons an employee may be dismissed, including insubordination, low performance, and violation of company policies. To minimize legal risk, employers should establish a policy and procedure for terminating workers. This includes determining the acceptable reason for termination, establishing policies and procedures that employees must follow, and preparing written notices to let the worker know of any violations.
Employers must ensure they follow their own procedures for firing workers, and those procedures must be outlined in the company’s handbook or guidance policy. Those procedures should include a timeline for warnings, and the supervisor must be given a reasonable opportunity to correct any issues before deciding to dismiss an employee.
In some states, such as New York, employers are not required to have “good cause” before terminating an employee. This can mean any reason that isn’t fair to the employee, such as replacing the employee with a family member or fighting a dispute with another employee.
While this is a common practice in the private sector, public-sector employees and those covered by a collective bargaining agreement are often protected from wrongful termination. These types of contracts often have a grievance procedure that allows you to challenge your employer’s decision.
If an employee has a written contract that is at will, the employer cannot discriminate against that employee or end the term of the contract for any reason without providing a good cause. If the contract is a collective bargaining agreement, however, the union must protect that employee. A collective bargaining agreement also usually requires the employee to receive a notice of termination before being fired.
Retaliation is a broad term that can encompass a number of different workplace actions. Essentially, retaliation occurs when an employer takes an adverse action against an employee who has taken a stand against discrimination or illegal business practices in the workplace.
Retaliatory acts by employers are often viewed as harsh or unjustified, and they can have serious legal consequences. However, there are also certain situations in which employees can be protected from retaliation.
First, you must be able to prove that your employer has taken an adverse employment action against you because of something that was legally protected. This means that you must show that you engaged in a statutory or non-statutory protected activity and that your employer took an action that was adverse to you because of this protected activity.
Generally, there are two ways to prove retaliation: one is through direct proof and the other is through indirect evidence. Indirect evidence can include things like changes in work hours or wages.
You can also prove retaliation through evidence that the employer knew that you were engaging in a statutory or non-statutory discrimination claim, but they then treated you differently than other employees. For example, if you were recently denied a promotion because of an anti-discrimination law claim, it is likely that your supervisor was aware of your complaint and took this into account when making his or her decision.
Another form of retaliation is when an employee is punished for bringing a complaint about safety or compliance violations. This can include things like a loss of pay or other compensation, reduced working hours, and even being forced to report the violations to higher ups.
These forms of retaliation can be difficult to prove, so you should contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. The sooner you do this, the better chance you have of having your claim heard and winning a settlement or trial.
If you believe that you have been subjected to retaliation, you should file a formal complaint to the associated government agency or with an attorney. If the complaint is filed successfully, you can seek relief by filing a lawsuit against your employer.