Employment disputes can arise unexpectedly in any number of ways. When disagreements arise, relationships and day-to-day interactions can become fragile. If you’re a struggling employee, it can begin to feel like there only two options, to forego your position or to turn your back on the dispute. To help understand the potential outcomes, it is important for the employee to know his or her rights and to seek the best strategy for a chance at a positive outcome to the employment dispute.
Getting the Best Employment Dispute Resolution
There are federal and state laws that apply to employment; you should be familiar with both to understand your rights and to determine if your specific employment dispute is covered or protected by law.
There are certain disputes with employers that can lead to your termination. In some scenarios, companies require employees to sign contracts agreeing to attempt to resolve any disputes through mediation prior to pursuing a lawsuit. Additionally, if you take your dispute to court, the process can be lengthy, expensive and could end without a guaranteed positive outcome. There are instances that you can negotiate with your employer to find the fastest and simplest resolution.
It is critical that you work with an experienced employment attorney who can review the facts of your individual case and advise you of the best resolution strategy. Keep in mind, your employer like has human resources insurance, legal departments and other company resources to assist him or her. When you have expert legal counsel, you also have an adviser and an advocate to help you move your case forward.
What ARE Common Employment Disputes?
- A hostile work environment
In some workplaces, the environment takes a turn toward becoming uncomfortable for employees when one or several employees fail to communicate about problems that arise. When these situations happen, day-to-day business work can become hostile, making work days unpleasant, stressful and even aggressive. The behavior leading to the hostile work environment must affect a significant portion of the workers and also must be measured in a way where any reasonable person would find the environment hostile.
Despite years of awareness about these issues, age, sex and race are still used to unfairly (and illegally) discriminate against employees. If you are being discriminated against in the workplace, such as being passed over for raises and promotions based on one of these factors, you should consult with an employment attorney. There are federal and state laws that are in place to prevent these behaviors and the law is on your side.
- Wage disputes
When employers make promises about pay increases or other financial benefits and do not keep them, employment disputes are common. Relationships among employees and employers deteriorate quickly when these disputes arise and professional assistance is often needed to resolve the matter.
- Classification issues
Employers sometimes incorrectly classify an employee to benefit themselves financially. One instance is when an employee is wrongfully classified as an independent contractor as opposed to an employee; this means the employer can avoid paying social security and payroll taxes for that worker. The rules are strict around what comprises an independent contractor designation as opposed to an employee and can carry heavy penalties when not followed. Another common classification dispute can surface when an employer classifies an employee as exempt when he or she should be non-exempt. A non-exempt employee must be paid their regular wage and any applicable overtime while an exempt employee is generally not eligible for overtime pay. When an employer takes advantage of this difference and categorizes an employee incorrectly to avoid paying overtime, it is fertile ground for an employment dispute.
- Quid pro quo harassment
Quid pro quo means when one person proposes an exchange of one thing for another. In employment law, this can mean an employee is asked to overlook a potentially troubling behavior in exchange for additional time off or more money. Another common situation where this is found is when sexual harassment is occurring in the workplace. An example of this is when an employer or a supervisor expects sexual favors from an employee in exchange for an important work assignment or advancement. This type of behavior is usually conducted by a person in a position of power that can threaten the employment of another and is illegal.
Find a Good Employment Dispute Attorney
If you are experiencing any of these employment situations, gaining advice from someone who is experienced in employment law can be critical to helping you understand your rights. There are laws in place to protect employees and collecting the correct documentation can make or break your case. Contact our office so that we can set up a time to review your case and give you solid advice regarding how to move forward.
Employment disputes can be emotionally draining and financially taxing. Don’t wait to learn your rights. We are experienced in fighting for the rights of employees and will fight for you during this challenging time.