This area of the law is broad and intricate. Most laymen are familiar with concepts of employment law through suits involving sexual harassment or those for race, sex, age, disability, national origin or religious discrimination. Federal and state laws prohibit sexual harassment and the forms of discrimination specified above.
For example, if you have been sexually harassed to the extent that it adversely impacts your employment opportunities or creates a hostile environment, you may have a claim enforceable in a court of law that will force your employer to pay for the damage done to you.
The same is true if you have been fired, demoted, not hired, or have suffered other adverse consequences because of your race, age, disability, national origin, sex or religion. But there are other laws — many, in fact — that protect employees from the actions of their employers.
For example, the Family & Medical Leave Act, which was passed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993, provides protection for many employees of certain employers who must take off work because of a serious health condition, for the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for a close family member.
The Fair Labor Standards Act protects you in the minimum amount of wages you receive and in the number of overtime hours you are required to work.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act is designed to protect your retirement and other benefits, including insurance benefits.
And there are laws, like the Texas Whistleblower Act, that prevent certain employers from taking adverse action against you for reporting your employer’s illegal activities to the authorities.
Others, such as the Anti-Retaliation provision of the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act, forbid an employer from firing or mistreating you because you have sought benefits for an on-the-job injury. Many employers fire employees when they change doctors.
Although rare, employees sometimes have individual employment contracts, which may protect them from employer abuses.
And, on some occasions, the National Labor Relations Act may protect you even if your company does not have a labor union.
These are just some of the employment and labor laws designed to protect employees from abuse by their employers.
If you have an employment or labor matter you would like to discuss with us, please contact us immediately.