As an EEOC lawyer can explain, employment law safeguards both employees and employers. Under employment law, there is a framework of rights, obligations, and responsibilities regarding the relationship between employer and employee. Each phase of the employment relationship may involve a myriad of laws and regulations that are in place to safeguard parties from discrimination, workplace hazards/dangers and prevent conflict. Our team from Hoyer Law Group, PLLC knows that whether you are an employee or employer, you can experience some form of unlawful employment practices. In some cases, it may be necessary to take legal action. The following are key questions many people may have regarding employment law, workplace discrimination, wrongful termination, and the role of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Employment law is a facet of the law that involves circumstances surrounding the relationship between employer and employee. Employment law is regulated on both a federal and state level and is in place to protect the rights of workers while also protecting employers. Employment law is essential, and legal entanglements of this nature may include situations involving discrimination, harassment, job-related injuries, wrongful termination, retaliation, and more.
Employment law provides a framework for healthy, productive, and mutually beneficial relationships between employers and employees.
Several employment laws are in place to protect both employees and employers, including laws surrounding wages, anti-discrimination, health and safety, privacy, and labor. For example, the Civil Rights Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, and Age Discrimination Act are all anti-discrimination laws that make it unlawful for employers to discriminate against prospective or current employees based on their race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, and national origin.
In addition, wage and hour laws under the Fair Labor Standards Act ensure minimum wage standards, overtime pay, and child labor protections. The Family and Medical Leave Act provides certain employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year.
Workplace discrimination is when an employee or job applicant is mistreated based on personal characteristics unrelated to the job performance or candidacy. Personal characteristics include race, sex, age, disability, religion, or nationality. Discrimination can manifest in various ways, including hiring, promotion, job assignment, termination, compensation, retaliation, and harassment. It is important to note that not all unfair treatment constitutes illegal discrimination; unfair treatment must be based on a protected characteristic to be deemed unlawful.
Wrongful termination is when a person is dismissed from employment without cause. In situations involving wrongful termination, the employer has breached the employment contract or a statute in employment law. Examples of wrongful termination may include firing an employee as a form of discrimination, retaliating against an employee for reporting a violation, or for taking legally protected time off. While in many states, employment is considered “at-will,” the reason for termination cannot be prohibited by law.
The EEOC is a federal agency responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age, disability, or genetic information. It also protects employees from retaliation if they complain about discrimination, file a charge of discrimination, or participate in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. When a complaint is filed, the EEOC may investigate the complaint and take legal action on behalf of the victim.
To learn more about employment law and how to take action, consider speaking with a lawyer to understand the available options.