Adrian L. Barton of Barton Law helps employers and employees alike with challenges concerning the often complicated – and sometimes frustrating – world of employment law.
Many client cases are headed for litigation, but Ms. Barton also helps employers and employees avoid court by taking preventative measures such as establishing guidelines for employee handbooks and participating in mediation.
So what is employment law? If you don’t know the answer, keep reading. “Employment Law” includes many laws that have been enacted in the past 80 years concerning the employee and employer. Sometimes employees and employers disagree over the interpretation of these laws, and the matter winds up in court.
Claims of wrongful termination, sexual harassment, employment discrimination, workplace safety, taxes, wages, and worker’s compensation are just a handful of the many lawsuits that may arise.
Some lawsuits, however, are frivolous and totally without merit. Let’s hope, if you are an employer, you’re involved in one of these. If not, courts can find you have violated one, or many, employment laws enacted to protect an employee’s rights in the workplace.
State contract law may inform the rights and duties of both parties, if the employee and employer relationship was entered into with a valid contract. Without such contracts, the law presumes that employment relationships are at will, and that both parties are free to terminate the relationship at any time, and for any reason so long as that reason is not illegal.
Employment laws are primarily written to keep workers safe and to protect their rights in the workplace. In the early 20th century, laws were passed to outlaw child labor, create a standard work week, establish a minimum wage, and compensate injured workers.
More recent laws were enacted to prohibit discrimination and unsafe work conditions, while other issues involve equal pay for equal work for women and men, and employee health care. Employment laws also protect a worker’s right to unionize, engage in collective bargaining, and to be protected from discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, religion, age, or disability.
Basic rights in the workplace include the right to fair compensation, privacy, and freedom from discrimination; certain anti-discrimination laws even protect job applicants during the hiring process. An employer may not conduct a background or credit check on employees or job applicants without notifying the individual in writing and receiving permission to do so.
The right to privacy in the workplace is protected in most states and applies to employees’ personal possessions, including briefcases or handbags, private mail addressed to the employee, lockers accessible only by the employee, voicemail messages, and telephone conversations. Employees have limited privacy, however, in their voice mail and usage of their employer’s computer systems, and Internet service.
An employee has the right to be free from discrimination and harassment; the right to be free from retaliation for whistle blowing; the right to a safe workplace free of potential safety hazards such as toxic substances and dangerous conditions; and the right to fair wages for work performed.
The Fair Labor Standards Act
Nothing impresses Congress members more than election returns. While fair labor legislation had met severe opposition in Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court for decades, public sentiment clearly favored President Franklin Roosevelt on this issue at the height of the Great Depression. After years of futile attempts to get a fair labor law through Congress…Read More
Various types of anti-discrimination laws have been enacted throughout the 20th century, all of which are regulated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Under these laws, it is illegal to discriminate against either an applicant or employee based on that person’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), disability, age (40 and older),…Read More
At Will Employment
In nearly every state, the presumption is that unless both employers and employees entered into an employment contract or made other promises regarding when and how the employment relationship would end, the relationship is then considered “at will.” What this means, is that both parties are free to terminate the relationship at any time, and…Read More
Individuals and Businesses can be confident that Adrian Barton will vigorously and effectively compose your severance agreement, by completing the following: From Sales Representative to the Chief Executive Officer, Barton Law is well versed in negotiating, drafting, and monitoring employment contracts at all levels of business, whether on behalf of the employer or employee. Barton…Read More