Working is a big part of everyone’s life. It fills up most days and allows people to pay bills and feed their families. Because employment is so important, many laws exist to protect workers from unfair treatment in the workplace.
But the basic rule of employment – employment “at will” – says people can quit or be fired for even a really bad or unfair reason, as long as it doesn’t break the law. Illegal pay practices and discrimination based on race, national origin, sex, gender, language, age, disability or any number of factors still happen today, and workers still need protection. If you are working in a hostile or abusive situation or you were forced to leave your job because of unfair treatment, knowing your rights and your options is the first step to protecting yourself and showing your employer that what they did was wrong. If you have suffered unfair treatment on the job, contact us today for a free consultation.
Laws protect workers from discrimination based on sex, race, age, national origin, pregnancy, religion, disability, and sexual orientation. Generally speaking, an employer can’t use any of these factors as a reason to make a decision about hiring, firing, promoting, or demoting workers. People are less likely to say they are firing someone for their race, or another discriminatory reason, but other types of evidence can help show how someone is treated differently.
Sexual harassment can be words or actions, either over a long period of time or a one-time event. The two main types of harassment claims are a hostile work environment, or “quid pro quo” – an employer or manager telling an employee to “give something to get something.” No one should have to deal with this type of treatment, and laws are there to protect workers from unwanted sexual comments or actions.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA or ADAAA) sets out rules for how people with disabilities should be treated at work and when applying for jobs, among other situations. Many disabilities are covered by this law, from mental health issues to long term chronic pain or diseases. The rules can be complicated, so talking to a lawyer who understands the law is am important first step.
In Washington, even if a decision to fire someone doesn’t violate any specific law on the books, the termination could still be unlawful if it violates some public policy adopted by the State. These claims can be very difficult to prove. If you feel that you were fired unfairly, but aren’t sure what to do about it, contact our office today for a consultation.
Federal and State laws protect workers who need to take time off to care for themselves or a family member during an illness or injury, or when welcoming a new child into your home. Many people believe that any medical leave should be paid, but for now the laws in most places only provide for unpaid leave. Even when leave is unpaid, it can be illegal to fire someone or not hold their position open after he or she takes leave. There are rules and limits on the leave someone can take, and it is important to know where you stand. Contact us if you have questions about how medical leave applies to you.