Conflict between workers and the employer is a commonplace issue in the workplace. Federal and state laws related to employment issues help maintain the balance of power in the workplace by defining the characteristics of an ideal employee-employer relationship.
Generally, employment law encompasses employers’ rights and obligations within the employer-employee relationship – between employers and their current employees, job applicants, and former employees. Because employment relationships are complex and the several different situations can arise out of it, employment law also involves legal issues such as discrimination, wages and taxation, wrongful termination, and workplace safety.
As such, many of these issues are governed by applicable federal and state laws. However, in instances where the employment relationship is based on a valid contract entered into by the employer and the employee, the state contract law alone may dictate the rights and duties of the parties.
Employment laws, rules and regulations also help protect workers when conflicts arise with their employers. In an ideal work place, these rules define the relationship between workers and their superiors. Because of the great number of rules and regulations established by various levels of government agencies governing both the employee and employer, it would be necessarily to take the services of lawyers to guide both parties through the rights and obligations of this relationship.
In addition, employment law also tries to mitigate the effects of that conflict and to equalize the factors so that conflicts can be resolved. While good intentions on both sides can help reduce the level of conflict, it is inevitable that an employment lawyer will be called in to mediate or resolve the conflict.
Here are some of the common issues affecting both the employees and the employers:
- Complaints about a policy or manual – a company policy manual to a lawyer unless there is some underlying complaint that takes them to the lawyer first, labor unions and some worker’s rights organizations will certainly have their legal staff review such manuals as a matter of course. The individual employee should read and be familiar with the company policy manual. Then, if the employer takes any adverse action against the employee that appears to contradict that manual, the employee should contact a lawyer versed in labor or employment law to help protect the employee’s rights.
- Any discrimination based on sex, race, religion, age, or disability, if not immediately corrected by the employer when the employee complains through established channels, should be brought to a lawyer. Similarly, any harassment complaints if not addressed, should also be brought up to a lawyer.
- When health and safety rules of employees were violated and employees bring these to the attention of the appropriate government agencies. Employees can also seek appropriate protections under whistle blower laws when filing these complaints.
- Terminations – Employee termination is an area where both sides of the relationship may benefit. Rules and regulations regarding termination can affect the employee-employer relationship. A clearly written termination rules must be put in place to protect both the rights of employees and the interest of the employers.