Employment law deals with the employer-employee relationship and all of the obligations and rights within it. It covers all aspects of the employment relationship beginning with recruitment and applications up to and through termination. Many disputes that involve companies relate to employee rights. Employment law includes multiple areas, including the following:
- Wrongful termination
- Workplace safety
If you are involved in a dispute with your employer, the attorneys at Swartz Swidler might be able to help.
An overview of workplace employee rights
All workers enjoy basic rights such as the right to fair compensation, the right to privacy, and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of a protected characteristic. An applicant also has rights before he or she is hired. These rights include the right against discrimination based on religion, national origin, race, gender, or age during the application, interview, and hiring process.
Most states also give employees a degree of privacy rights while they are at work. This includes the right to privacy of their personal possessions such as their briefcases, purses, lockers, and private mail. They might have rights to privacy in their voicemail messages and phone conversations. However, employees only have limited privacy rights in their internet usage and email while they are at work.
In addition to rights against discrimination and privacy rights, employees also have a right to work in a workplace that is safe and free of hazardous conditions. They also have a right against retaliation for engaging in protected activities such as reporting the illegal conduct of their employers. Finally, workers have rights to be paid fair wages for the work that they perform.
Federal laws and regulations
Multiple federal laws cover employee rights in all states. If there are state laws that offer more protections, the greater protections will apply. For example, New Jersey’s state minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage. This means that workers in New Jersey must be paid the higher state minimum wage.
Some of the major federal employment laws include the following:
- Title VII- Prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of color, race, national original, sex, or religion for employers that have 15 or more workers;
- Americans with Disabilities Act – Prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability as long as the worker can perform the essential job functions with or without reasonable accommodations;
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act – Prohibits discrimination on the basis of age for workers who are 40 or older;
- Fair Labor Standards Act – Regulates the length of work days, required breaks, and wage and hour provisions; and
- Family and Medical Leave Act – States that eligible workers who work for covered employers must be allowed to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid family and medical leave to care for their own serious medical condition or the serious medical condition of a close family member.
Contact Swartz Swidler
If you believe that your employer has violated your workplace rights, you might want to talk to an experienced employment attorney. Call Swartz Swidler today or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation.