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Employment Law FAQs

May 6, 2024
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The employer-employee relationship is governed by a complex web of laws and regulations. Understanding your rights as an employee can empower you to navigate the workplace with confidence. This blog post, from Kruse Law, addresses frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding employment law, offering a starting point for navigating this essential legal landscape.

Understanding Employment Basics

  • At-Will Employment: Did you know that in most states, employment is considered “at-will,” meaning both employer and employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without cause (exceptions may apply for certain employment contracts or unionized workplaces).
  • Employee vs. Independent Contractor: Distinguishing between an employee and an independent contractor has significant implications for wages, benefits, and legal protections. Generally, employees receive a regular salary, work set hours, and have taxes withheld by their employer. Independent contractors, on the other hand, are typically self-employed, set their own hours, and are responsible for their own taxes.

Questions About Wages and Hours

  • Minimum Wage and Overtime: Federal and state laws establish minimum wage and overtime pay requirements. Understanding these regulations ensures you receive fair compensation for your work.
  • Meal and Rest Breaks: Employees are generally entitled to meal and rest breaks throughout the workday, as mandated by law. Knowing your break rights allows you to ensure you receive the designated time off.
  • Wage Theft: Unfortunately, wage theft, which includes not paying employees for all hours worked, is a prevalent issue. Being aware of the signs of wage theft can help you identify potential violations.

Workplace Discrimination and Harassment

  • Protected Characteristics: Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination based on protected characteristics such as race, religion, gender, age, disability, or national origin. Unfair treatment based on these factors can constitute workplace discrimination.
  • Hostile Work Environment: Harassment that creates a hostile work environment can be illegal. This includes unwelcome verbal or physical conduct based on a protected characteristic that disrupts work performance or creates a hostile or offensive work environment.
  • Filing a Complaint: If you believe you have been discriminated against or harassed in the workplace, you have the right to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or a similar state agency.

Additional Employment Law Concerns

  • Family and Medical Leave (FMLA): The FMLA entitles eligible employees to take unpaid leave for qualified medical reasons or to care for a family member with a serious health condition.
  • Severance Agreements: When leaving a job, you may be presented with a severance agreement. It’s crucial to thoroughly review this document with an attorney before signing to ensure you understand its implications and potential impact on your rights.
  • Non-Compete Agreements: Some employers ask employees to sign non-compete agreements, which restrict their ability to work for a competitor after leaving the company. The enforceability of these agreements varies by state.

Kruse Law: Protecting Your Rights in the Workplace

Employment law can be complex, and navigating its intricacies can be daunting. If you have questions about your rights as an employee, or if you believe your rights have been violated, Kruse Law is here to help.

Contact Kruse Law today at (973) 792-8992 to schedule a consultation with a skilled employment law attorney. We are committed to protecting your workplace rights and ensuring you receive fair treatment.

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