Miscellaneous

The Impact of Employment Law

Posted in Miscellaneous on August 19, 2016

Employment Law HandbooksEmployment law affects every aspect of the workplace. It determines your rights regarding hiring, wage and benefits, discrimination, family and medical leave, termination, and more. It is important that you know employment law, and how it affects you in the workplace. You have numerous employment rights and employment law enforces your protections. A well-versed employment law attorney is your best friend when you need an advocate to defend your rights in the workplace. Employment law guarantees a fair and safe workplace environment for companies and their employees. Often employees do not fully understand or realize the statutes and regulations outlined in employment law.

Employment Law at a Glance

Employment law is involved in the hiring process during an interview. It keeps interviewers from asking discriminatory questions. It explains the differences between being labeled an employee or contractor to a firm.

Employment law plays a significant role in firings and job losses. The law gives you certain protections during layoffs, terminations, and other issues affecting the unemployed. Employment law outlines unemployment insurance, severance pay, and other job-separation concerns.

Employment law covers federal and state laws regarding wages, benefits, and fair pay to employees. These laws determine which workers are eligible to receive overtime pay for working extended hours. When employers fail to comply, employment laws are in place to give employees their rights and protections.

Employment Law has mandates that prohibit discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Discrimination can come in all types of forms. Discrimination rights are protected under Tittle VII Rights Act of 1964.  It is against the law for any employer or boss to discriminate against someone because of age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, or national origin. There are laws in place to ensure equal employment opportunities for all individuals.

There are laws covering Family and Medical leave for some employees. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) offers unpaid leave for certain employees who are covered by the federal law. FMLA applies to employers with at least 50 employees. The law varies by state. In New York, laws have recently changed to allow paid-family-leave for the majority of workers in the state.

Workers have a right to a work environment that is safe and free of health and safety threats or violations. The federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) regulates and enforces safety and health standards for the nation’s workforce. When an employee is hurt on the job, the company is usually responsible for medical costs and other expenses associated with the injury. Companies can face fines when they do not comply with safety standards outlined by OSHA.

Employment laws are in place to protect employees who report illegal activities or violations involving their employers. These laws protect employees against retaliation and other hostile workplace environments that may develop due to whistleblowing.

It is vital for employees and employers to become familiar with employment laws and how they impact, improve, and influence the workplace. There are laws to protect employees from abuses in the workplace. It is important for companies and employees to consult with a qualified employment law attorney who can explain these laws in greater detail.

If your employer (or former employer) has violated any employment law and you feel your employment rights have been violated, you may be entitled to compensation for damages and losses. Please contact the Law Offices of Joseph & Norinsberg. Their lawyers will provide an honest assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your case. If your case merits going to court, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Joseph & Norinsberg will work diligently to help you find the justice you deserve. Contact the Law Offices of Joseph & Norinsberg at (212) JUSTICE or at info@employeejustice.com for a free initial consultation.

Lying on a Job Application is Never a Good Option

Posted in Miscellaneous on May 27, 2016

Job ApplicationThey say, “The truth shall set you free.” These words of wisdom are accurate when we are talking about someone who has lied on a job application or resume. Yes, the truth may set you free of your employment. Debbie learned this lesson the hard way. She lied about her college education on a job application. She thought employers never check college information or ask to see college degrees. She was incorrect in her thinking and terminated when the truth was exposed eight months later by the HR office. She should have spoken with a well-versed employment attorney before fabricating her job application. She still might have a job.

In the above fictitious story, Lying Debbie is a fictional character. However in real life, people frequently lie or exaggerate the truth on job applications and resumes. Making false statements on a job application can not only lead to termination but also legal consequences when your fabrications are revealed. Many careers have been ruined by lies and deceit. It reveals things about your character that will not impress most employers.

During an employer-employee relationship, both parties have entered into a business relationship or contract based on the information provided in the employee’s application or resume. If the information presented on the application or resume is false, the contract or business relationship is deemed invalid.

Also, when you lie on your application or resume, you may not be able to bring an employment lawsuit against your employer, even if the employer has violated your rights during your employment.  For an example, if your employer discriminated against you and failed to give you a promotion, you may not be able to take legal actions. The employer can say, if he or she had known of your fabrications, they would not have hired you in the first place.  In law, this is sometimes referred to as the “after-acquired evidence” theory. Evidence that supports this theory may include:

  • Making up a college degree or diploma
  • Creating inaccurate statements about education, experience or certifications
  • Not revealing a past felony conviction
  • Not disclosing a past termination that was justified
  • Omitting a former employer from your resume

It is never a good idea to embellish your background and lie on a job application or resume. The work environment can be stressful enough without adding self-induced pressure on yourself to keep your secret. Often you may have to tell more lies to cover up the first lie. Not only will you lose your job if you are found out, but also it will go on your employment record and may affect future job prospects. Honesty is always the best policy.

If your employer (or former employer) has wrongfully terminated you or violated your employment rights, you may be entitled to compensation. Please contact the Law Offices of Joseph & Norinsberg. Their lawyers will provide an honest assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your case. If your case merits going to court, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Joseph & Norinsberg will work diligently to help you find the justice you deserve. Contact the Law Offices of Joseph & Norinsberg at (212) JUSTICE or at info@employeejustice.com for a free initial consultation.

At Will, Not Anything Goes

Posted in Miscellaneous on May 4, 2015

Employee Employer ChaosNew York is an “at will” employment state.  What that means is in most cases an employer can fire an employee at any time, without notice, for no reason at all.  An employee in New York who tries to bring a lawsuit arguing that their termination “wasn’t fair” because they were fired for no reason will quickly have their case dismissed.

At-will employment has developed a reputation as being entirely biased in favor of the employer.  This is a misconception.  Yes, employment at will gives the employer the power to fire without cause, and sometimes that leads to unfair results.  However, it also gives the employee the freedom to leave employment at any time, without notice – which is an important freedom for employees.  Thus, if you get a better offer, you can take it free from legal liability.  In this way, it is a trade-off.

Employment at will means the employer does not need cause to fire you, but it does not mean employees are completely without protection from wrongful terminations.  The following are a few common restrictions on an employer’s right to terminate an employee

Employment Contract

Employment at will is the default rule, but employers and employees are still free to enter into contracts that restrict the employer’s right to fire or the employee’s right to leave during a given period.  However, an employment contract alone is not enough; it must contain a concrete term, or period of time.

Whistleblower Protections

A whistleblower is an individual who comes forward regarding illegal or dangerous conduct by a company or one of its employees.  Oftentimes the information the whistleblower comes forward with is important to protecting the safety and well-being of employees.  For example, a whistleblower may bring information about OSHA violations to light that put employees at risk of serious injury or death.  When the regulatory authorities become aware of that complaint, they can investigate and ensure that it is fixed, thereby protecting employees.

There are many New York and federal laws that protect whistleblowers from being terminated in retaliation for their disclosure.  Reporting health and safety violations, illegal trading, discrimination or harassment are a few of the types of situations where whistleblowers are protected.

Discrimination

Much of the work that we do at Joseph & Norinsberg involves employees that have unfairly and illegally been discriminated against by their current or prospective employers.  Even in an at-will employment state like New York, employers cannot terminate employees because of their religion, sexual orientation, race, origin, gender, or marital status.  Federal and New York state laws protect employees from this type of unethical conduct.

Workers’ Compensation Claims

Employees are sometimes reluctant to report an on-the-job injury for fear that they will be fired for causing an increase in their employer’s insurance premiums.  Sadly, this does happen on occasion, and employees have options if it does.  Employers cannot fire employees for making workers’ compensation claims.

Permissible or Impermissible Termination?

If you have been terminated for one of these reasons or another reason that feels unjust or unfair, contact the experienced employment law attorneys at Joseph & Norinsberg at  (212) JUSTICE or e-mail us at info@employeejustice.com.  We can analyze your case to determine whether you have been subject to a wrongful termination with legal remedies.

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