Oklahoma Employment Law Lawyers
Many employers and employees work in an environment where they feel like they are part of a large family working closely together to achieve a common goal. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many employees. Sadly, for many employees, this feeling is not accurate. Many employees go to work each day in an environment where they are treated unfairly and not appreciated for their hard work. Some of these situations are protected under federal or state employment laws and some are not.
Employees are protected under certain circumstances from discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination. There are many situations, however, that are not actionable. Each case is unique for this reason, and anyone in such a situation would be well-advised to consult with an employment litigation attorney in OKC to learn more about the legal options that may be available to them. As a general rule, an employer can terminate an employee for "any reason, or no reason at all," so long as that reason does not violate state or federal employment laws. The question then becomes, what employment problems are really protected?
The Basics of Employment Law
Most of the employment laws in place, both federal and state, protect employees from being treated differently, either by failure to hire, demotion, termination, harassment, retaliation, etc., based upon certain characteristics. These include race or ethnicity, gender, age (over 40), disability, and religion. Gender discrimination includes pregnancy and sexual harassment as well. These factors can play an additional role in unlawful employment practices if an employer intentionally classifies, limits, or segregates workers or applicants in such a way that would deny or attempt to deny a person of potential employment opportunities, or in other ways that may negatively influence a worker’s status based upon these characteristics.
Additionally, employees are protected from an adverse employment action if they assert a right available to them (e.g. file a workers’ compensation claim, take leave under the Family Medical Leave Act or report a violation of the company to a state agency). Conversely, if your employer asks you to do something illegal (e.g. falsify your log books as a truck driver) and you refuse, they are not supposed to retaliate against you and take any adverse employment action. In reality, we know that companies do this exact thing every day.
Discrimination in the Workplace
Discrimination can appear in many forms. In many cases, employment discrimination based upon ethnicity or national origin relates to unfair or poor treatment that stems from language barriers or policies or fluency requirements that may be prohibited. Gender discrimination can occur because a person doesn’t conform to certain gender-based stereotypes.
For persons with disabilities, an employer is required to try to make the workplace suitable through reasonable accommodation as long as such accommodation is not an undue burden on the employer. This can include simple actions such as a new type of chair or flexible working hours.
Additionally, employers must consider that an employee may have different religious beliefs and practices as well as moral beliefs. Consequently, they are required to make reasonable accommodations for religious practices, observances, or beliefs, unless doing so would result in excessive hardship for the employer.
Protecting Your Rights as a Worker
This is only a skeleton outline of some of the potential issues employees face every day. Each case is different and most claims have a very limited time frame in which they can be made, some as little as six months or less. If you have believe been subjected to discriminatory treatment, retaliated against, or treated wrongly in other ways at your workplace, it is important for you to remember that you have legal rights. We are here to help through the difficulties these actions can cause and work with you to resolve them. Contact an attorney at Maples Law Firm to find out what your options are based upon the specifics of your circumstances, as well as what action must be taken in order to hold an unlawful employer legally responsible. To learn more about your legal rights, call (888) 226-6159 today.