The U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that employees have the right to sue their employers for many reasons. Employees need to understand this and know how to protect themselves against wrongful termination, sexual harassment, failure to pay wages or overtime, unlawful retaliation against whistleblowers, and other violations of employment laws.
Many people who are wronged at work do not complain because they don’t think filing a lawsuit will make any difference. However, suppose you file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or in court. Even if your employer does not take action, you may be able to help others by disclosing information about illegal conduct at your workplace. You might also get money damages from an employer who violates the law.
The following list outlines ten good reasons why you should consider filing a lawsuit against your employer:
Employees have the right to hold their employers accountable for terminating them illegally. Several factors must be proven, including whether or not you were given proper notice of termination and whether or not you received adequate compensation for your time served. If you feel you’ve been wrongfully terminated, consult an experienced attorney specializing in employment law.
You Were Fired Without Notice
Most employers give notice before firing an employee. The amount of notice varies by state law and industry, but most employers notify workers at least two weeks before termination. A common reason for being terminated without notice is poor work performance. If you believe your performance was not the cause of being fired, you should consult with an attorney about whether or not you can take legal action. If you’re on an Ohio lawyer search, you’ll find that several lawyers specialize in wrongful termination suits.
You Suffered Harassment
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids any kind of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, color, or origin. While these laws are designed to protect all citizens from harassment, they do not apply to every situation. To determine whether you are protected under Title VII of the 1964 act, ask yourself these questions:
- Is my supervisor harassing me?
- Was I hired because of my sex (or another factor protected by Title VII), and now am I being harassed?
- Does the conduct consist of words or actions directed toward you because of your sex or another characteristic?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you may have a claim against your employer. Keep in mind that anti-discrimination laws are tricky; some courts might refuse to enforce them unless there is proof that the employer knew of the discrimination.
Your Manager is Insensitive About Your Religious Beliefs
Many religions forbid their followers from engaging in certain activities, such as praying obligatory prayers, if you’re a Muslim employee. If you feel your religious beliefs are being infringed upon, consult an employment lawyer. These laws are complicated and vary depending on the specific religion involved. When it comes to religious discrimination claims, the burden is on the employee to prove that their manager’s behavior was motivated by religious intolerance.
Your Employer is Failing to Pay Overtime Wages
One of the most common causes of workplace lawsuits is the failure to pay overtime. Under federal and state labor laws, all non-exempt employees are entitled to payment for hours worked over 40 in one week. If you think your company owes you overtime wages, consult an experienced attorney.
Your Boss Won’t Give you Time off for Medical Treatment
Some jobs require employees to participate in hazardous conditions. For example, firefighters and police officers often perform difficult tasks wearing bulky protective gear. Workers exposed to toxic substances or dangerous chemicals are also covered by occupational safety laws and may be eligible for additional protections. Some states, such as California, recognize “occupational diseases,” which are medical conditions related to exposure to workplace hazards.
Your Supervisor has Sexually Harassed you
While the law protects men and women alike from sexual harassment, many women still report instances of inappropriate behavior. If you’ve been sexually harassed, don’t hesitate to seek legal counsel. Sexual harassment cases can be complex because they are often difficult to prove. In most cases, the employee must show that the harasser acted in a way that created a hostile work environment.
Your Employer is Discriminating Against you Because of Your Age
Age discrimination occurs when employers discriminate against older applicants based on their age. Older workers have the same rights as younger ones, but they face different treatment from their co-workers. When an employer discriminates against an applicant or an existing worker based on their age, they could be liable for damages.
Your Employer Discriminated Against you Based on Race
Race discrimination is prohibited by both state and federal law. If you believe you’ve been discriminated against based on your race, consult a qualified employment lawyer immediately. Be aware that proving racial discrimination can be challenging. It can be difficult to demonstrate that race was the primary factor in your employer’s decision.
Your Employer is Not Paying you the Minimum Wage
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay nonexempt workers the minimum wage. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if you receive tips, your employer does not need to compensate you. Many states have statutes that prohibit wage theft. An experienced employment lawyer will know whether or not you have grounds to file a lawsuit.
While it’s always good to talk to your boss about workplace disputes, it’s best to consult an attorney first. It may be easier to resolve some issues, while others require further legal action. If you feel you’ve been discriminated against or wrongfully terminated, contact an employment lawyer today.