Employment litigation is a phrase employers and employees both tend to avoid. That being said, it’s very important for anyone that owns or works at a business to understand his or her basic rights.
Litigation is simply the legal process of taking someone through court, so it follows that employment litigation is when an employer or employee takes the other party before a judge. Therefore, employment law (or labor law) lays out regulations for business owners and workers to follow.
Employment Law Information
The United States Department of Labor’s convenient Employment Law Guide is a great site to keep handy and refer to as needed, although it can be tricky to wade though.
Another important thing to know is that, in addition to federal laws, every state has their own laws as well. Most state websites have the labor laws listed somewhere, so if you’re ever in doubt you can check out their individual sites (for example, see California employment law).
Common Employment Law Misconceptions
Obviously employment law is there for a reason; it protects employees and employers in various ways. Unfortunately, disputes still come up and employment litigation becomes necessary. Before you cross that bridge, are you aware of some common misconceptions?
According to eHow, “one of the most common misconceptions regarding the California labor law involves overtime and how it is calculated…There are specific duties, not job titles, that allow for the worker to be salaried, such as management of the enterprise or recognized department. To be exempt, an employee must earn twice the minimum wage of a full-time employee, as well as meeting other standards.”
eHow also explains that another common misconception is that employees can opt out of their meal period and leave 30 minutes sooner. This isn’t true. “The California law regarding meal periods requires employees to use the time as a break rather than opting out…Employees may remain on duty through the meal period and claim the 30 minutes as time worked only when the nature of their occupation and position makes taking an extended break impossible. In such cases, the employees must sign an agreement to work during her break.”
A third common misconception is that “an employer can search an employee daily, without good or specific reasoning. An employer may legally be allowed to search the employee’s desk or bags for suspected stolen goods if every employee is searched, especially if there is a company policy warning employees that they may be subject to search. However, an employee has the right not to have his body searched by an employer.”
Do you have questions about any specific labor laws and if a specific instance might lead to employment litigation? Contact us to find out!
Photo Credit: umjanedoan