Did you know that the Department of Labor has more than 180 federal laws that regulate workplace activities? Each one of these laws address a specific issue that millions of workers face every single day in the hopes that workers can feel confident that they will be able to do their job in a safe environment. Sadly, even today, employers still refuse to follow protocol mandated by law and many employees suffer because of their employer’s decisions and actions.
Workers Can & Should Fight For Their Rights
While there are many ways that a worker can have their rights violated, the top three involve:
Harassment In The Workplace
Anyone who has experienced harassment in the workplace knows how much a hostile environment can impact day to day life. Harassment and discrimination in the workplace are two of the leading causes of depression and anxiety and often, the victims feel that they have no one to turn to.
The Failure To Be Paid Overtime
Under the FLSA, employers are required to pay employees who work more than 40 hours overtime pay if they fall into certain categories, yet every year, employees lose thousands of dollars in pay that they are rightfully owed.
Even in “at will” states, there are times when an employee can be wrongfully terminated and contrary to popular belief, there are ways to fight wrongful termination.
Won’t I Be Fired If I Take Legal Action?
Obviously, for wrongful termination cases, the employee doesn’t need to worry about losing their job, but often, those who are debating fighting for unpaid overtime or against harassment in the workplace are concerned that they may lose their only source of income if they pursue legal action.
Thankfully, Whistleblower Protection programs are in place. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, employers cannot retaliate against an employee who has reported injuries, safety issues, or other protected rights. This means that they cannot treat you any differently and they cannot terminate your employment for reporting an issue.
What Can Be Gained From Fighting For Workers’ Rights?
The damages that may be obtained from each type of case vary, however, workers may be able to obtain:
- The full amount of unpaid overtime plus interest.
- Lost earnings.
- Lost benefits.
- Compensation for emotional distress.
- The removal of the person harassing them in the workplace.
- A change in their employer’s workplace policy.
- Compensation for their attorney’s fees.
Someone Mentioned FLSA – What Is That?
The FLSA is the Fair Labor Standards Act which is the federal law that establishes the minimum wage, requirements for recordkeeping, child labor laws, and overtime pay.
How Do I Know If I Have A Case?
The best way to determine if you have a case and what you stand to benefit from pursuing legal action is to arrange for a consultation with an experienced attorney who can review all of the facts.
Is Consulting A Worker’s Rights Lawyer Really Necessary?
Yes, if you want the best outcome for your case, it is. Not only are experienced worker’s rights lawyers familiar with all of the intricate parts of worker’s rights laws, but they are often able to issue subpoenas for information that may provide the plaintiff with evidence that is needed to prove the case. This may include:
- Financial records.
- Video surveillance.
- Workplace records.
- Computer files.
- Witness testimony.
This process will be long and stressful, not to mention full of paperwork. By working with a lawyer, a worker can be sure that all of the required forms are completed without mistakes and that the issue is fully investigated.
I’ve Already Talked To My HR Department – Should I Still Contact A Lawyer?
Yes. Many people think that HR departments will help them to handle a workplace issue, the reality is that the true purpose of HR is to make sure that the company runs at maximum efficiency by helping employees make effective decisions. While this does mean they are supposed to take care of issues that may prevent that from occurring, this department won’t fight to obtain compensation for employees who have suffered.