With the average person spending a third of their life at work, so many interactions with superiors and coworkers mean workplace issues are bound to arise.
While all workplace issues can be unpleasant, some also have legal implications. If you find yourself embroiled in a serious workplace conflict or dispute, the best thing to do is find an attorney who specializes in employment law and hire them to represent you.
Read on to discover the five most common reasons an employee may need legal help from an employment lawyer.
1. Discrimination and Harassment
Although discrimination and harassment are unlawful in the workplace, it still happens. Discrimination in the workplace is when you are treated unfairly due to your gender, race, religion, disability, or sexual orientation.
If the discrimination against you has negatively affected your hiring process, promotions, job assignments, or wages, you should seek legal help from an experienced employment lawyer. Similarly, an employment lawyer will know how to handle your case if you have been sexually harassed by a manager, boss, or coworker.
2. Wrongful Termination
You have been wrongfully terminated if you have been fired for an unlawful reason – such as a contractual breach or violation of federal anti-discrimination laws.
For instance, an employer may not fire you without a valid reason outlined by your employment contract or on the basis of your age, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or disability. Contact an employment lawyer to fight for your rights if you were unfairly terminated.
3. Hostile Work Environment
If your superiors or coworkers make your work environment hostile, an employment lawyer can help you. A hostile work environment is one that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe and prevents you from performing your duties effectively.
A hostile work environment can take many forms. Still, the most common are extreme nepotism, verbal or nonverbal acts of aggression, and public shaming. You are entitled to a safe workplace environment, and your employer is obligated to provide it.
4. Denied Benefits
Medicare, social security, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and family and medical leave are mandatory for all employees.
If your employer denies you these federally mandated benefits, take action immediately by consulting with a qualified employment lawyer. An employment lawyer will fight for your rights and help you claim your benefits – especially if they were detailed in your employment contract.
5. Retaliation after Whistleblowing
There are laws to protect employees if they expose their employer’s misconduct or unlawful acts happening in the organization. According to whistleblower laws, an employer, superior, or coworker may not take retaliatory action against a whistleblower.
Whistleblowing statutes protect whistleblowers from discrimination and disciplinary action if they initiate an investigation into the organization or speak out about misconduct. An employment lawyer will advise you of the appropriate protections and laws and what legal actions you should take.
6. The Bottom Line
Having an employment lawyer to protect and fight for your rights in court is the best way to protect your interests if an employer or coworker takes unlawful action.
Another vital service employment lawyers provide is legal counsel – they will take you through the litigation process and help you understand the legal implications of your case.