Several state and federal laws protect workers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. However, many workers are unaware of the employment rights that they have and might not recognize when their employers violate them. Workers should understand their rights so that they can protect themselves in the workplace. The employment law attorneys at Swartz Swidler can help people whose employers have unlawfully violated their employment rights to recover damages. We have outlined some of the types of situations that should prompt people to retain employment lawyers below.
What do employment lawyers do?
Employment lawyers are attorneys who advise workers and employers of the state and federal employment laws and how they apply to various situations in the workplace. Employment attorneys help workers whose rights have been violated and work to ensure that employees are treated fairly. They also help employers to ensure that they remain in compliance with all of the applicable employment laws. Employment attorneys might help their clients with wage and hour violations, discrimination charges, retaliation and wrongful termination claims, and more. They might also help to review and draft employee handbooks and help workers whose employment contracts have been violated.
Some of the types of legal issues that employment lawyers handle include the following:
- Unlawful workplace discrimination
- Wrongful termination
- Wage and hour violations
- Whistleblower lawsuits
- Contract violations
Employment attorneys might represent workers who are not part of unions in cases in which their employers have engaged in illegal conduct, placing the workers at a disadvantage.
When should you hire an employment lawyer as an employee?
Employers sometimes engage in illegal actions against their workers. Some examples of actions that should prompt you to contact an employment lawyer at Swartz Swidler include the following:
- You experienced discrimination, retaliation, or harassment based on your protected characteristics in the workplace.
- Your employer fired you for an unlawful reason.
- Your employer is requiring you to sign a waiver of the rights to which you are entitled.
- Your employer is violating the terms of your employment contract.
- You have inside knowledge about your employer engaging in a massive fraud scheme against the government.
- Your employer is not paying you the required minimum wage or overtime pay.
- Your employer has misclassified you as an independent contractor or as an exempt employee.
- Your employer has violated federal or state laws that are meant to protect employees.
When you become aware of actions by your employer that you believe are illegal, you should contact an employment lawyer immediately. Some of the employment laws have short statutes of limitation. If you wait too long to get help, you may be barred from holding your employer liable for its actions. Below, we will talk about some of the most common situations that should prompt you to contact a lawyer.
Illegal retaliation occurs when an employer takes adverse job actions against an employee because he or she exercised his or her rights. For example, if your employer retaliated against you because you complained about discrimination, took FMLA leave, participated in an investigation, or blew the whistle, you should talk to an employment lawyer. An attorney can help you to handle an unlawful retaliation claim to seek the recovery of damages for your losses.
It is illegal for employers to discriminate against workers based on their protected characteristics, including the following:
- National origin
- Genetic information
The prohibition against discrimination extends to all aspects of the employment relationship, including advertising jobs, interviewing, hiring, promotions, bonuses, layoffs, training opportunities, and terminations.
Harassment based on a person’s protected characteristics is also illegal in the workplace. Sexual harassment is among the most common forms of illegal harassment and can include quid pro quo or hostile work environment harassment. Quid pro quo harassment occurs when an employer conditions favorable treatment in the workplace on submitting to unwelcome sexual advances. It also occurs when an employer threatens negative job actions if a worker refuses to submit to unwelcome sexual advances. Hostile work environment harassment occurs when a pattern of harassment makes the workplace hostile to the point that the worker is unable to perform the tasks of his or her job. If you are the victim of harassment at the workplace, talk to an employment lawyer at Swartz Swidler.
Hour and wage violations
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, covered employers are required to pay their employees at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked. Non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime compensation for each hour worked beyond 40 during a workweek. Some employers misclassify workers as exempt employees to try to get out of paying overtime compensation. Since New Jersey has a higher state minimum wage, employers in the state must pay at least the state’s minimum wage. If you believe that your employer is violating the state or federal wage and hour laws, you should talk to a lawyer.
While most employees work at will in the U.S., certain situations that lead to termination are illegal. If your employer fired you for a discriminatory reason, in retaliation for you engaging in protected activities, or in violation of an employment contract, you may have legal rights to recover damages. The employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler can review what occurred and help you to determine your legal rights.
Get help from an experienced employment lawyer
There are many other examples of when you should talk to an employment lawyer. If you have experienced any of these prohibited types of workplace actions, you should contact the attorneys at Swartz Swidler. We are dedicated to protecting the rights of employees and helping them to recover damages when their employers have engaged in wrongful conduct. Contact us today to schedule a consultation by filling out our contact form or calling us at 856.685.7420.