4 Most Common Misunderstood Employment Laws

employmentWhen you’re starting a business, there are many different factors you must understand. One of those factors is employment law.

If you’re going to hire employees, you will need to have a full understanding of employment law. If you fail to adhere to federal and state employment law, you could find yourself at the wrong end of a lawsuit.

This post will give you four of the most commonly misunderstood employment laws.

What Is Family Medical Leave?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide eligible workers up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave for family or medical reasons annually. Their job must be protected if an employee chooses to use FMLA.

Typically, a business will have the employee provide documentation from a medical professional stating that the employee needs time off for medical reasons. This prevents employees from abusing this benefit.

What Is Wrongful Termination?

Wrongful termination is a buzzword that gets bandied about often. In states in which this law applies, it refers to terminating an individual’s employment in a way that violates a law or public policy.

In many cases, employees of companies are “at will” workers. This means that their employment can be terminated for any reason at any time without notice. Wrongful termination usually involves an employee being fired for discriminatory reasons or as a way to retaliate against a whistleblower. It’s important to make sure you understand the public policy exceptions to “at-will” employment law because many former employees are quick to accuse companies of public policy wrongful discharge or termination.

What Is Harassment?

Harassment is another commonly-used buzzword. It’s also one of the most commonly-misunderstood legal terms.

Some believe that harassment occurs when a manager is not pleasant to work with. However, having a mean boss does not constitute harassment.

Harassment involves repeated aggressive actions against an employee, especially if it involves one’s race, gender, religious creed, or sexuality. If this occurs, a former employee could use it in a wrongful termination case.

What Constitutes Discrimination?

Discrimination is a huge issue in labor law. It is against the law for a company to treat employees differently based on their race, sex, religion, and other protected characteristics.

The issue with discrimination is that it is hard to prove. If a black employee is terminated because of his race, it’s not likely that the company will admit it; they will typically give another reason.

You must be careful that your leadership team is sensitive to the way they treat your employees. You don’t want to be accused of discrimination because one of your managers has a pattern of treating one class of employees worse than another.

Employment law can be tricky to navigate. An experienced employment attorney in Philadelphia can help you avoid making costly mistakes. If you have questions about labor law, contact Pozzuolo Rodden, your Philadelphia employment law attorneys.