Many people have positive experiences with their employers and their workplaces are safe and conducive to productivity. Unfortunately, not every worker in Texas experiences this. Sometimes employers try to take advantage of their workers, discriminate against them, or otherwise violate their rights. When this happens, workers may be able to seek recourse with the help of attorneys like those at the Leichter Law Firm.
There are several things employers can do which are against the law, but this article focuses on four of the most common violations.
Sexual harassment is prohibited under both state and federal laws but it still happens in many workplaces. Even though victims know it is wrong, they are often afraid to report it because this could put their jobs in jeopardy. Some victims also wonder if what they experienced was really harassment and if others will take them seriously. The reality is that on-the-job sexual harassment reduces productivity and makes working conditions very unpleasant.
Texas is an employment-at-will state which means employers have the right to terminate employees at any time as long as it is for a lawful reason. Many workers think this means they can be fired for any reason, but this isn’t the case. If you are terminated for a reason that is deemed unlawful, this is called wrongful termination. Wrongful termination can involve:
· Breaking an employee’s contract by firing them
· Firing a worker because they filed a workers’ compensation claim
· Firing an employee for discriminatory reasons
· Firing a worker because they reported illegal activities or refused to perform an illegal act
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal to treat someone unfavorably because of their race, religion, color, sex, or nationality. However, many employers discriminate when it comes to paying, promotions, hiring, firing, benefits and other conditions of employment. Several additional pieces of legislation have been drafted to protect workers. For example, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older while the Americans with Disabilities Act protects employees with disabilities. Many of these laws require you to file a claim within a set time after the violation so you need to retain an attorney and act quickly.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the majority of employees who work in excess of 40 hours in a week should receive overtime pay. However, many employers opt not to pay for it. While this can happen to any category of worker, some are more likely to be cheated. These include:
- Salaried workers with titles like the manager and administrative assistant
- Some independent contractors
- Hourly employees who are required to do preparatory work before their shift, close out the workday after their shift or work from home in addition to regular office hours
If your employer has not paid you at least time and a half for overtime, you may be able to go after them to get the money you are owed.
While we’ve discussed four of the most common types of violations in the workplace, unscrupulous employers will try always anything if they can get away with it. If you suspect your employer is doing something unlawful, you need to reach out to an attorney for advice.