In a working relationship such as an employer-employee relationship, situations and issues may sometimes arise. Various legal issues such as discrimination, wrongful termination, allocation of wages and taxation, and safety in the workplace are usually common in such circumstances.
Because of this, federal and state employment laws are applied to address such concerns. These laws apply to all those in the employment world—from former and current employees, applicants, and employers themselves.
Every employee, from old to current ones, is subject to protections under a considerable number of federal and state employment laws. One must take into account the fact that state employment laws vary from state to state, and with the federal employment laws as bases. It is important for concerned applicants or employees to seek the help of any of the employment law attorneys for queries regarding their rights under federal and state laws.
For employers, it is important for them to follow the federal employment laws so they may not be subjected to lawsuits filed by their employees. The following are some of the key federal regulations related to employment:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – The stipulations in this section of the Act states that employers are prohibited to discriminate against applicants in the hiring process based on their race, color, religion, sex, or nation of origin. This applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act – According to the Act, employers are prevented to give preferential treatment to younger workers over older ones. This applies to workplaces with 20 or more employees, as well to workers 40 years of age and older.
- Fair Labor Standards Act – According to the Act, employers must provide their employees quality and fair allocation of work days, breaks, and leaves. The Act also implements applicable salary and overtime requirements.
Employment discrimination is still a rampant problem these days. Many applicants and employers are still discriminated against in all aspects of employment, including hiring and termination. Good thing there is one federal agency that is ready to lend a helping hand on discrimination victims by enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws against erring employers. This agency is called the EEOC, or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
A person who believes that his or her rights as an applicant or an employee had been violated may file a discrimination charge with the EEOC. Not only can one person do it; even an organization or an agency can do so. Collective effort in filing a charge may be done on behalf of the victim. This is to help protect his or her identity.
In filing a charge with the EEOC, the person or the group may first fill out an intake questionnaire. Complainants who need accommodation, such as a sign language interpreter, must immediately inform the EEOC so that arrangements can be made accordingly.
In the actual filing of the discrimination charge, the complainant or the complaining party must provide the following information:
- The complaining party’s name, address, and telephone number
- The employment agency, respondent employer or employment agency’s name, address, and telephone number
- The number of employees or union members involved, if there is any
- The date, location, and a short description of the alleged violation of employment rights
Sensitivity is an issue that employers must always take into account. Employers who are seeking prospective employees for their respective companies must make it a point to steer away from sensitive issues, especially during the interview process.
Employers can say and ask a lot in the interview process. They may maintain professionalism inside the interview room, but there are times when certain situations may result to something that may leave a bad impression. Interviewing disabled applicants is one example of this.
It can be hard for employers to stay within the rules of proper decorum in the interview process, especially in dealing with applicants with disability. At times, employers may ask something out of the blue that is deemed inappropriate and in bad taste. When this happens, employers, at some point, may violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
When done incorrectly, the interview process may be a breeding ground for employment discrimination. Applicants who feel they may have been invaded of their rights in the interview proper may rise into action and file charges of discrimination against erring employers. To avoid getting sued for disability discrimination in the hiring process, employers can refer to what the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) laid down for them.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) states that pregnancy-related discrimination like discriminating an employee or applicant based on her pregnancy condition, childbirth, or other associated medical conditions is illegal. The law comprises unlawful sex discrimination which covers employers with 15 or more employees including that of the state and local governments.
In the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is declared that pregnant employees should be treated similar with that of normal employees given that they can still do what other employees can do given particular conditions and limitations.
As PDA is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), it is imperative for employers to act properly in accordance with the law. Otherwise, they are most likely to face a lawsuit for employment discrimination.