Employment Law

The law is very strict on employment terms as it seeks to establish a cordial relationship between employers and employees. While employees are expected to abide by the workplace rules and follow what their contract states, employers are also expected to conduct themselves in some way and not mistreat their workers. That mentioned, it is not out of the picture to find yourself in a dispute with your employers for a couple of reasons. If you are a victim of mistreatment by your employer or suffer from any other issue, the law protects you, and you could sue the employer and get compensated. The attorneys here at Harman Law are experienced in employment issues and will be glad to listen to your concern and guide you accordingly.

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What Does Employment Law Cover?

This is a section of the law that addresses the rights, obligations, and responsibilities within the employer-employee agreement. It is a wide facet that protects both these two entities and ensures that no one is mistreated. Employees have certain rights and protections, for instance, the right not to be discriminated against or the right to take leave for medical reasons. Federal employment laws apply in all states, but others have taken an extra step and implemented workplace laws that protect employees further.

The North Carolina labor laws cover a wide array of issues including;

  • The minimum wage is $7.25. Employers are expected to pay workers for all hours worked as defined at the time of employment.
  • All employers are expected to pay their workers overtime at a minimum rate of one and a half the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked more than forty hours in a workweek.
  • Employers should give workers between fourteen and fifteen years old a thirty-minute break whenever they have to work for over five hours. Those above the mentioned age limits should be given a rest break of ten minutes or a meal break of thirty minutes or more.
  • Employers are not obliged to give workers vacation benefits, either paid or unpaid.
  • Employers should pay workers on regularly scheduled paydays depending on the contract. Bonuses and commissions can infrequently be paid as long as the worker is notified in advance. They might use any legal payment method, be it cash, money order, or check.

These are some of the labor laws that apply in North Carolina. There are many more, for instance, those covering leave days, holidays, postings, record keeping requirements, deduction from wages, notice requirements, severance, uniforms, and wage reduction.

North Carolina is a “work at will” state, and it is crucial to understand what this means. It implies that a worker can be fired at any time, except for a few illegal reasons. If your employer decides to let you go, that will be the end of the job, and you will have very few legal rights to fight that decision.

One of the most critical parts of employment law is the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which lets qualified workers take unpaid leave for particular reasons. Once their break is over, they have the right to go back to work without being punished. North Carolina goes an extra step and allows workers to take time off for children’s school activities. For one to be eligible for this leave, they must have worked in the company for at least a year, worked a minimum of 1250 hours in the past year, and work at a location with at least 50 employees in a 75 mile radius.

What Is The Difference Between an Independent Contractor and an Employee?

A business can pay an independent contractor and an employee the same amount of money for some work, but there are critical legal differences between them. For an employee, the company is responsible for withholding income tax, social security, and Medicare from the wages they pay them. For an independent contractor, the company is not responsible for withholding these deductions, and the contractor is expected to remit them on their own. More importantly, employment and labor laws do not apply to independent contractors.

To help distinguish between the two, a “degree of control” test is done to see how much control the company has over the activities of the contractor. While an employer is more in control of an employee, this is not the case with an independent contractor. All they need to do is state the work they need to be done, the contractor will then give a proposal, and if it looks good, the employer will sign an agreement and pay the total amount on completion or in installments depending on the terms.

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Employment Law Cases We Cover

Our employment law attorneys handle a variety of labor issues, including:

Wrongful Termination

This refers to an instance when an employee is fired for illegal reasons or in a manner that breaches public policy or their contract. There is no specific law that protects against wrongful termination, but a breach of state or federal employment laws is regarded as a cause for wrongful termination.

Sexual Harassment

The law terms all cases of sexual harassment in a workplace illegal and requires victims to sue their harassers in federal court. In North Carolina, the state laws go a step further and outline that government employers develop a plan to prevent unlawful workplace harassment.

Hostile Work Environment

According to federal law, a hostile work environment exists when one’s behavior within the place creates an uncomfortable setting, making it hard for another individual to work. It can include some sort of discriminatory speech or workplace conduct.

Discrimination

In North Carolina, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate based on race, religion, color, nationality, age, sex, or handicap, among others. This is aimed to create equality in the workplace and accommodate every individual working there.

Wage and Overtime Disputes

Some of the disputes here involve cases where the employer fails to pay a worker the right amount owed in wages and overtime.

Civil Rights

These are a class of rights meant to protect people’s freedom from infringement by governments, social organizations, and private individuals. They are intended to ensure that employers can participate in civil and political life without being discriminated against.

Whistleblower

This is a person who reveals secrets within a private or public organization that is not correct. The law protects them from retaliation when they disclose cases of wrongdoing in the workplace.

Employer Retaliation

This is when an employer punishes an employee for engaging in legally protected activities. It includes demotion, firing, job reassignment, or reduction in wages.

Contract Review and Negotiation

Employees need to protect themselves by pointing out and negotiating critical components of a contract, for instance, compensation and benefits, provisions for termination, non-competition agreements, and dispute resolution requirements for any future claims.

Family and Medical Leave Act

Here, we resolve disputes surrounding this provision of the employment laws and ensure that your employer grants you the allocated days for these emergencies.

This image shows a pregnant woman working in an office.

 

Employer Defense

Employees are not the only ones who are susceptible to mistreatment. Some of them try to shortchange the employees by engaging in malpractice and then approach the lawyers to defend them. We can represent employers who have disputes with employees.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Filing an Employment Lawsuit?

Employers and employees are expected to file any employment dispute lawsuit within a specified time. There is no fixed time limit in North Carolina, depending on what you are filing for. This is because there are state and federal laws that affect the relationship between employers and employees, and the court the case is filed depends on which rules have been breached.

For cases involving federal discrimination, the statute of limitations specifies that they should be filed in court within 90 days. Cases involving state discrimination must be filed within three years, as it is with a case of wrongful termination. Other claims under different North Carolina statutes should be filed within 180 days.

If I Am Laid Off, Does My Employer Have to Pay Me Severance?

There is no requirement under the Fair Labor Standards Act that obliges companies to provide severance following a layoff. However, companies that include this policy will explain it in the contract document they give you to sign or the offer letter when you got employed. This way, it is something that varies from employer to employer, and if you read your contract well, you should know whether to expect it or not.

Contact Our Employment Law Attorneys at Harman Law

Employees find themselves in a tough spot when they disagree with their employers for various reasons. Note that even if you are employed, some laws protect your rights, and you should not persevere all the mistreatment just because you want to secure the job. Contact an experienced employment law attorney at Harman Law today, and they will guide you on the options you have when pushed to a tight corner by your employer. They will explain your rights and give you an idea of what you can do and what you cannot. Contact us today at 704-766-8729, and we will be happy to listen to your employment concerns.

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