One of the most intricate fields in law is employment and labor. This is because employment and labor laws cover a broad area which includes the duties and rights of both employers and employees. While some laws protect the interest of the workers, others protect the interest of the employers, hence making the labor and employment litigation a rather complicated area.
Due to the complicated nature of the labor and employment laws, you need a qualified and experienced lawyer to defend you or your company, if you find yourself in such a scenario.
The claims involved in labor and employment litigation include, without limitation, the following:
- Wages and hours
- Discrimination and Wrongful Termination, and
- Breach of Employment Contract
Wage and Hour Claims
Most wage and hour claims are filed when the employer fails to compensate the worker for the overtime hours, or when they fail to pay the minimum wage. Different states have their laws regarding overtime pay and wages. In the state of Michigan, the minimum wage is 9.45 dollars per hour while the overtime pay is at least $14.18. An employee in Michigan is entitled to overtime pay of at least 1.5 times their regular hourly wage for the entire extra hours of work.
It is worth noting that the nonexempt workers are the ones eligible for overtime pay. This is according to the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the federal body that is responsible for setting the federal minimum wage. The FLSA is the body responsible for grouping employees as either exempt or nonexempt workers. FLSA also governs issues to do with child labor.
Discrimination and Wrongful Termination
The two most common types of discrimination at the place of work are retaliation and harassment. Even though it is illegal to discriminate against people based on their place of birth or any aspect of their life other than their qualifications, employers still use these and many factors to discriminate against their workers.
According to federal law, any unwelcome behavior based on color, race, sex, national origin, religion, genetic information or disability surmounts to harassment. Most times, the culprit is the manager or a co-worker. As a victim, you can file charges against the culprit if the employer fails to take action.
Retaliation happens when an employer fires an employee as punishment for filing discrimination charges against them or any workmate. For example, a worker can file a harassment claim against the employer. As retaliation, the employer may decide to fire them. When this happens, the fired worker has the right to sue the employer for retaliation.
Other cases when a worker can file retaliation charges include when an employer denies them a promotion or when they demote them. Discrimination is not only a societal issue but also a law issue. Do not suffer in silence, get in touch with our attorneys and get justice.
Employment in Michigan happens “at-will”, meaning that in the absence of an employment contract, the employer or employee can bring to an end an employment at any given time. Due to the nature of “at-will” jobs in Michigan, it can be difficult for an employee to file for wrongful termination.
There are, however, some cases where the worker can claim a wrongful termination of their services; if an employee is fired due to their race, religion or any discriminatory factor. Also, employees can be fired as punishment for exercising their rights as employees or in cases where the employer breaches the contract.
As mentioned above, discriminating against an employee based on any factor is against federal, as well as, Michigan state laws. With expertise assistance from our attorneys, rest assured, your case is in safe hands.
Breach of Contract in Employment
There are 3 types of employment contracts in Michigan; oral, written and implied.
Oral and written contracts happen when an employer promises, by word of mouth (verbal) or in writing, not to fire you without a valid reason for a specified period.
An implied contract is where an employer behaves in a way to show that the employee will continue to be employed. An example of an implied contract is when an employer tells an employee that they will not lose their job as long as they keep performing well.
As an employee, you can sue your employer for breach of contract if they fire you without a valid reason.
Other Claims in Employment and Labor Litigation
Apart from the claims mentioned above, labor and employment litigation also involves the following claims:
Entitlement to employee benefits: Employee benefits are the other things of value, apart from salary, that an employee receives as appreciation for their work. However, benefits are only mandatory if stipulated in the state or federal law. Examples of employee benefits include leaves, insurance, and retirement plans.
Confidential information: Employees have the right to confidentiality when it comes to vulnerable details concerning them. The same applies to sensitive business information in which the owner has a right to confidentiality.
Unfair competition: Our attorneys have experience in dealing with unfair competition claims, which revolve around issues like trade secrets, employment procedures, and restrictive covenants.
Workplace safety violations: Under both federal and state laws, employers are required to provide a safe working environment for their employees. As an employee, you have the liberty to refuse to work if the working conditions are not favorable.
Defamation: Defamation occurs when an employer makes a false claim about the employee, thereby tarnishing their reputation.