While it is hoped that you will never face any form of harassment or discrimination in the workplace, there are certain situations in which having an attorney can be invaluable. If you need knowledgeable advice or assistance in order to fight against any unfair or unjust treatment in your workplace, contact an employment attorney in Jackson County, Missouri.
5 Situations Where You Need an Employment Attorney
1. Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment can take many forms, including unwanted advances, comments, or physical contact of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating or hostile work environment. It is also illegal – under both state and federal law – to discriminate against someone because they refused unwelcome sexual advances or because they reported or threatened to report a case of sexual harassment.
What To Do
The first step if you find yourself the victim of workplace sexual harassment is to let Human Resources within your company be aware of the incident. Keeping a detailed journal with dates and specifics will help build the evidence needed if you decide to pursue legal action later on. You’ll also want to save all correspondence related to the issue via emails, text messages, etc., as this could be helpful for a case later on down the line.
Additionally, it is important to report any incidents of sexual harassment to the Missouri Commission on Human Rights. If negotiations between yourself and management break down due to inaction or inadequate remedies proposed, then filing a private lawsuit may become necessary, which an experienced attorney can manage efficiently.
2. Wage and Hour Claims
Wage and hour claims are typically raised by employees who believe their rights have been violated or that their employer has failed to pay them wages owed. It is common for complaints to be made about non-payment of overtime wages and deductions taken from final paychecks without authorization.
Other complaints include the misclassification of an employee as exempt from overtime payments. Groups of people at special risk include workers in the hospitality industries, construction workers, agricultural workers, and domestic workers.
How an Attorney Can Help
An attorney can help advise such individuals on how best to pursue a valid claim under Missouri’s laws governing wages and working conditions. A lawyer can review your case in order to determine whether you are entitled to damages including back pay, interest (if any) on the back wages due, plus attorneys’ fees and costs associated with bringing the action against your employer.
3. Discrimination Against a Protected Class
Discrimination against a protected class is any form of prejudice or unequal treatment based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, sexual orientation and gender identity, disability, or genetic information. A discriminated class is a group of people who have been singled out for unfair treatment due to their membership in a recognized minority group.
Types of Discrimination
Common types of discrimination can include unfavorable job assignments or termination due to membership in one of the protected classes listed above. It can also include harassment that creates an uncomfortable workplace environment for employees due to factors such as their gender or age.
Some employers continue to engage in discrimination by offering lower pay than other employees with comparable experience or qualifications simply because they belong to a particular protected class. Additionally, discriminatory recruitment practices, like refusing to hire candidates due to their race or religion, are still practiced by some organizations today.
What To Do
Victims of discrimination have the right to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is responsible for enforcing laws related to employment discrimination nationwide and investigating charges of violations. An employment attorney in Jackson County, Missouri can help you better understand your rights as an employee and guide you through the process of filing a claim with the EEOC as well as pursuing legal action against your employer if necessary.
The attorney may also explain how filing a charge impacts your potential case outcome and discuss other potential remedies available under federal law, depending on your situation. Depending on the severity of the alleged discrimination and whether it has occurred multiple times, you may be eligible for compensatory damages, such as back pay and front pay for lost wages.
4. Wrongful Termination
Wrongful termination can constitute any situation in which an employer terminates an employee in violation of the employee’s rights or the law. Missouri follows at-will employment laws, meaning employers are free to terminate employees without having to provide a reason. Likewise, employees may quit without any notice or consequence.
However, this does not mean employers are allowed to terminate workers because they refuse to engage in illegal activity, file a lawsuit against their employer, report workplace safety violations to authorities, or are members of certain protected classes. Employees who believe they have been wrongfully terminated due to such discriminative practices may pursue legal action against their former employers.
Filing a Claim
When considering filing a wrongful termination lawsuit, it is crucial to know what kind of evidence is needed to prove wrongful dismissal. An experienced attorney can provide guidance on determining whether there is sufficient evidence of discrimination or other wrongful behavior on the part of the employer. Additionally, they will be able to help gather necessary documents and build a strong case against their former employer.
Furthermore, an experienced lawyer will represent your interests in negotiations with your former employer and make sure that any settlement agreement works in your favor as much as possible. If things escalate into a trial setting, which is rare but not unheard of, then having an employment attorney on your side gives you the best chance of success when arguing before a court of law in Jackson County, Missouri.
5. Contract Disputes
In order for a contract to be considered legally binding, certain elements must be present. The agreement must relate to a specific legal matter, and the parties involved must demonstrate mutual consent with regard to the terms of the contract.
Additionally, both parties must possess capacity in order for the contract to be enforceable; this means that they are competent individuals who are capable of understanding their contractual obligations. Lastly, consideration must be given by each party; this means they provide something of value in exchange for each other’s services or goods.
Breach of Contract
If you feel that there has been a breach of contract due to any number of factors, then an experienced attorney can provide invaluable insight into your rights and potential remedies available under Missouri law. An attorney will have an intricate understanding as to what constitutes valid legal grounds for breach-of-contract claims as well as represent you effectively if proceedings reach the litigation stage at any point during negotiations.
Speak With an Employment Attorney in Jackson County, Missouri
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment, believe your employer has not properly paid you for all the hours you have worked, feel like you were discriminated against because of a protected characteristic, or were wrongfully terminated from your job, then do not hesitate to contact Holman Schiavone, LLC in Jackson County, Missouri.