Employment disputes are all too common and can profoundly impact your livelihood, career growth, and overall well-being. If you feel overwhelmed by a disagreement with your employer, you’re not alone. The employment dispute lawyers at The Vaughn Law Firm have dedicated their careers to protecting employee rights and resolving complicated disputes.
In this blog, we’ll shine a light on the most common employment disputes that prompt people to seek the help of an experienced employment lawyer. Understanding these common issues is the first step toward finding a resolution that’s in your best interest.
Wrongful Termination Disputes
Wrongful termination refers to situations where an employer has terminated a person’s employment in violation of the employee’s legal rights. This could be due to various factors, such as discrimination, retaliation for whistleblowing or making complaints, or breaches of contractual obligations or employment agreements.
The complexities of wrongful termination disputes can be daunting, as not all unfair dismissals are legally “wrongful.” For instance, if an employer terminates an employee due to economic difficulties or company restructuring, it may feel unjust, but it isn’t necessarily unlawful. Given these intricacies, it’s essential to have an experienced employment lawyer who can guide you through the process, help gather the required evidence, and build a robust case on your behalf.
Wage disputes may arise when an employer fails to pay an employee the correct wage, fails to provide the legally mandated overtime pay, or unfairly deducts money from an employee’s salary. The crux of wage disputes often lies in interpreting and applying laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This law sets the minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards for employees in both the private sector and federal, state, and local governments.
Wage theft is a significant issue within this domain. It can take on various forms, such as off-the-clock work – where employees are not compensated for all their hours – or misclassification – where an employer incorrectly labels a worker as an independent contractor or an exempt employee to avoid paying overtime. Addressing wage disputes can be complex and often requires careful documentation of an employee’s hours worked and wages, understanding employment contracts, and familiarity with state and federal wage laws.
Discrimination and Harassment Claims
Workplace harassment and discrimination claims are unfortunately common and can cause severe emotional distress, disrupt careers, and create a hostile work environment. Harassment refers to any unwanted behavior that belittles, threatens, or demeans an employee. Discrimination, on the other hand, refers to the unjust or prejudicial treatment of employees based on protected characteristics such as race, sex, age, religion, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation.
Proving discrimination or harassment can be challenging. It often requires demonstrating a pattern of behavior rather than isolated incidents. Further, an employee must also show that the treatment was severe enough that it created a hostile or abusive work environment or led to a tangible employment action, such as termination or demotion.
A severance agreement typically outlines the terms under which an employee will leave a company, the duties of both parties once the employee leaves the company, and they often include severance pay, which is a sum of money given to the employee upon termination. However, the waters become murky when disagreements arise over the interpretation or fulfillment of these agreements.
Several legal issues can come into play with severance agreement disputes. For instance, an employer may try to include terms that waive an employee’s right to pursue legal action against the company for wrongful termination or discrimination. Such a waiver must be “knowing and voluntary” under the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) and other related laws.
It’s also common for disagreements to arise around the amount of the severance pay. This can depend on various factors, such as the length of employment, the reason for termination, and what has been contractually agreed upon. In some cases, employers may try to avoid paying severance altogether.
Call an Employment Dispute Lawyer
If you are involved in a dispute with your employer, The Vaughn Law Firm is ready to step up and defend your employee rights. Call (877) 615-9495 today or reach out online for a consultation.