Unfortunately, not all of these laws are followed by employers who can act with negligent ignorance or disregard for your rights. Simply put: Not everyone plays by the rules, and your employer might be one of them.
However, there are ways to legally fight back against your employer. Here at The Watson Law Office, we have extensive experience in what can often times be complex employment law cases, navigating the many moving parts in your case.
Our office can help you fight back when you experience employment law violations as a result of:
- Race Discrimination
- Color Discrimination
- Sex Discrimination/Sexual Harassment
- Religious Discrimination
- National Origin Discrimination
- Age Discrimination
- Disability Discrimination
- Hostile Work Environment
- Pregnancy Discrimination
- Wrongful Termination
- Breach of Contract
- Wage and Hour Violations
While these are among our top services we can provide to our clients, we may not be limited to offering assistance for only these types of workplace violations. If you believe you endured or are enduring any kind of unlawful treatment at work, reach out to The Watson Law Office today.
Did an Employer Punish You for Speaking up?
It can be an emotionally challenging experience if you were fired, subjected to a reprimand, or endured another negative consequence at work. You probably don’t agree with your employer’s decisions or actions, and you may be wondering if you are now a victim of retaliation. Many people have similar thoughts during times like these, which is why it’s important to seek assistance from The Watson Law Office to help you evaluate your claim.
You can claim retaliation if you were punished for engaging in a legally protected activity such as:
- Reporting incidents of discrimination
- Refusing to break the law
- Complaining about an unsafe work environment
- Complaining about your wages or discussing wages with other employees
- Requesting reasonable accommodation for a disability
- Reporting sexual harassment or other forms of harassment
These are merely a few things you can do without fear of negative consequences from your employer. The situations in which you may experience retaliation are many, but not all will qualify. Both North and South Carolina are what is called “at-will” states, meaning your employer may be within their rights to punish you for not liking your work, complaining about an unprotected matter (such as nepotism or an annoying coworker), or violating lawful company policies.
What Does Retaliation Look Like?
Employment law violations can be subtle or overt, but no matter how they’re packaged, the aggrieved parties can and should seek fair and just compensation by taking legal action. If you were a victim of unlawful retaliation by your employer, reach out to our team for legal assistance.
Retaliation can take on many forms, such as the following and more:
- Firing an employee for reporting sexual harassment
- Reducing an employee’s hours after they complained about discrimination or unsafe working conditions
- Failing to provide reasonable accommodation for a disability
- Terminating an employee who complained about never receiving overtime pay or an incorrect paycheck
- Taking adverse employment action because an employee refused to do something illegal
Do You Have a Valid Case?
Retaliation can manifest in many other ways than these. If you are unsure if what happened, you may have been wrongfully retaliated against by your employer. Call The Watson Law Office as soon as possible to find out if you may have a valid claim.
What Is Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
The behaviors that collectively define sexual harassment do not always look the same. First, not all instances of sexual harassment are physical – if someone is engaging in non-physical forms of sexual harassment, they can be held accountable for their actions as much as if they interacted with you physically. Whether it was a supervisor, business owner, or a coworker who was responsible for unlawful sexual misconduct against you, we can help you navigate your claim and hold your employer accountable. Keep in mind any gender can be a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Common forms of sexual harassment at work can comprise of the following:
- Unwanted touching of any kind and anywhere on someone else’s body
- Unwanted comments about someone else’s body or appearance
- Inappropriate remarks about someone’s real or perceived sexual activity or orientation
- Quid pro quo, or asking for sexual favors in exchange for career advancement or perks
- Making physical or verbal sexual advances and/or propositions
- The display of sexually suggestive or explicit imagery, including photos and drawings
- Making sexually suggestive gestures
- Leering, watching, stalking, and blocking someone’s path
- Sending links to pornographic websites or content
- Mistreating someone who does not conform to the offender’s views on gender
Any of these behaviors and many more can become instances of sexual harassment regardless of the sexual orientation or gender identity of the involved parties.
It’s Your Company’s Responsibility to Act
When you report sexual harassment to your employer, they are legally required to act in a manner that corrects the problem. When a company fails in its legal duty to keep a workplace free from sexual harassment, call The Watson Law Office.
Before you can sue for fair and just compensation, you will first need your attorney’s help to petition the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the North Carolina Department of Labor (NCDOL), or the South Carolina Labor Licensing Regulation (SC LLR). These agencies will conduct an investigation into your claim to find evidence of sexual and other forms of harassment and failed attempts to resolve this issue. Once your claims have been investigated by the relevant agency, you will be granted permission to file a lawsuit against your employer.
Were You Recently Fired? At-Will Might Not Explain It.
Under the widely held doctrine of at-will employment, it’s generally understood that employers can fire any employee for any reason or no reason at all. While that’s not an inaccurate explanation of at-will employment, it’s an incomplete one. Under no circumstances can an employee be fired for an illegal reason – at-will or not.
What Is an Illegal Reason to Fire Someone?
At the heart of most wrongful termination lawsuits is discrimination or retaliation. While wrongful termination isn’t totally defined as firing someone for either or both of these reasons, they do make up the majority of cases we see in employment law.
Examples of illegal firings can appear as the following:
- Terminating an employee who reported sexual harassment;
- Layoffs that only affect people of a particular protected class (age, sex, gender identity, disability status, race, religion, etc.);
- Firing an employee who requests reasonable accommodations for their disability;
- Firing an employee because he or she is “too old” for their job;
- Termination as punishment for demanding compensation for unpaid overtime hours;
- Termination as a result of bringing up concerns about a possible misclassification; and
- Termination as against public policy.
How to Identify Disability Discrimination at Work
Discrimination against a person with a disability can take on various forms at work. Some can be direct, while others may be more subtle or the result of poorly conceived company policies.
Here are a few considerations for how you can identify disability discrimination at work:
- Direct Behavior: Someone has treated you unfavorably and it is clear that it is because of your disability. This can amount to harassment in the form of inappropriate comments, use of slurs, jokes, bullying, and even physical violence.
- Indirect Behavior: Someone is choosing to enforce certain company policies that particularly affect you because of your disability; likewise, the polices themselves can be passively discriminatory.
- Victimization: You’ve experienced retaliation at work after complaining about a disability discrimination incident or company practice.
If you’re unsure about something that happened at work, The Watson Law Office can help you figure out if you may have a valid claim. During a free consultation, we can help you determine whether or not pursuing legal action is in your best interest.