Did you know one of your greatest assets is your present and future income? It can be jeopardized at any stage of the employment process. This includes applying for jobs; negotiating favorable terms when moving from one job or career to another because of promotion, relocation, reassignment, or transfer; dealing with problems that may arise in your current employment situation; or pursuing post-termination claims against a former employer to redress illegal employment practices.
You may be facing a potentially devastating, life-altering event if you have been discriminated against in the workplace or wrongfully terminated.
Relationships between employers and employees are governed either by a contract or by the legal principle of “at-will” employment. Federal and state laws also exist to protect the rights of employees. If you have your own employment contract individually negotiated with an employer, or if you are employed by a company subject to a union contract, the employer-employee relationship is governed by the terms of that contract.
Civil service laws protect most employees of government entities.
All other employment relationships are “at-will,” meaning that an employer or employee can end the working relationship at any time, either through resignation on the part of the employee or termination by the employer, and the employer is free to modify the terms or conditions of employment—all at any time, with or without cause and with or without notice.
Although an employer can terminate an employee based on the quality of his or her work or compatibility, employees are still entitled to certain legal rights. Whether you are applying for a job, are currently employed, or are being terminated, Title VII is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, gender, or national origin.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects workers over the age of 40 from discrimination on the basis of age. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) confers rights and additional protections on employees with disabilities. Employers are bound by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to pay minimum wages, offer premium pay for overtime hours worked, and provide certain other working conditions for their employees. Male and female employees are entitled to equal pay for equal work under the Equal Pay Act (EPA). In many circumstances, a company must give adequate notice to employees under the WARN Act before closing a plant.