When an employee is treated unfairly by an employer, it is not only the employee who suffers. The employee's spouse and family also may be harmed by the workplace discrimination. But do family members have the ability to pursue a claim against the employer for the harm they suffered as a result of the unlawful discrimination? Some Missouri residents may be surprised by the answer.In one recent case, a disabled school custodian and his wife met with the school district's human resources department to discuss possible reasonable accommodations for the man's medical condition, severe and chronic hiccups. The couple asked that the man be allowed to wear a mask while working and avoid exposure to cleaning products. The school district failed to provide an accommodation. The man then suffered a stroke and was unable to return to work.
Although Texas has more construction worker fatalities than any other state, most of its workers don't receive compensation. A majority earn extremely low wages, and almost one-fourth of workers have come forward with allegations that their employers withheld or denied them payment for the work they performed. Although state wage laws do exist in Texas, reports and surveys show that employers in some regions pay far less than in others. Members of the San Juan, Texas-based labor organization La Union del Pueblo Entero, or LUPE, regularly report wage theft to organization staff. LUPE includes 7,000 members, and about half of them hold jobs in construction fields. Like Texas, Missouri has minimum wage laws for workers and minimum-age limits established to prevent child workers from participating in hazardous occupations. Although there are no legally mandated requirements for providing workers with breaks with the exception of the entertainment industry, the Missouri Department of Labor notes that doing so is up to the employer's discretion. In the example of Texas, many workers who do not receive adequate wages leave the area for better paying jobs elsewhere.
Employees are entitled to their opinion regarding their employer...within certain limitation. Aside from the legal limitations regarding freedom of speech, contrary statements by employees that are made against an employer often have unfavorable consequences for the employee. An employee in Missouri and Kansas that has been terminated for statements made against their employer may be entitled to a wrongful termination claim.