13 Reasons to Sue Your Employer

suited man with arms crossed in front of courthouseEmployees sue employers for many different situations. Therefore, trying to share all the reasons to sue your employer feels like an impossibility. This is neither a complete nor exhaustive list of the types of lawsuits employees file. Regardless, here’s a round up of these common reasons to sue your employer.

Employees sue for everything from hiring procedures to termination. Businesses might complain that nothing is off limits, but the fact of the matter is that employees can sue because their employee rights have been violated. The United States Department of Labor works hard to protect employees from employment discrimination, retaliation, and more.

13 Reasons to Sue Your Employer

Based on these laws, employees are entitled to pursue their employee rights. While lawsuits occur for many different scenarios, here are thirteen reasons to sue your employer for workplace violations. Fight for your rights under the law.

1. Illegal interview questions

All applicants should be treated equally within the interview process. Women often report that they are subjected to interview questions that aim to find out if they have children or plan to have children. Individuals with obvious disabilities might receive questions that focus on their disability rather than their ability to perform the job.

These types of situations are illegal and discriminatory especially if applicants believe they didn’t receive the job due to their gender, disability, or other legally protected class.

2. Unfair discipline

In the heat of the moment, rash discipline can mean a future lawsuit. Employees recognize when they’ve been disciplined differently than similarly situated coworkers. When a manager or supervisor fails to follow company policy for discipline, this can create more problems.

All employees should be aware of the discipline policy and every employee should face the same discipline for specific behavior.

3. Illegal termination

In an at-will employment state, illegal termination might seem impossible since the employment relationship can be broken by employer or employee at any time, but wrongful termination can still occur.

Sometimes employees believe that they had a verbal agreement, promising continued employment, or that they were terminated due to their legally protected class.

5 Reasons to Sue for Termination

  • Lack of reason for termination
  • Termination for poor performance without any poor performance reports
  • Discipline right after filing a complaint
  • Investigation is delayed
  • Managers failing to follow company policy

4. Illegal Decisions about Medical Requests

The rules surrounding medical leave can seem like a black hole for managers and employers because it’s so easy to misstep and gain legal attention. The FMLA, ADA, and workers’ compensation protect employee rights to medical leave and reasonable accommodation.

A manager who denies the request of an employee for FMLA leave or reasonable accommodation may prompt a lawsuit.

5. Unlawful Exemption Decisions

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) outlines the rules of which employees receive overtime pay and which employees do not. Determining which employees are eligible is difficult, and companies routinely get it wrong. This can be an expensive mistake.

An employee who has been incorrectly categorized should explore the legal solutions available.

6. Docking Pay

Employers have little legal room for reducing how much employees are paid. Discipline shouldn’t usually mean docked pay. Meanwhile, employers and employees cannot negotiate different overtime pay than what the law stipulates.

Employees do not have the right to waive their overtime pay, and employers who allow this can face legal action.

7. Personal Injury

On-the-job injury is a risk that employers must face, but workers’ compensation insurance usually is enough to cover employee injury. However, when an employer mismanages a personal injury situation, legal action can be a natural repercussion.

Employees have a right to a safe workplace, and when it can be proved that the employer was negligent in some way, employees have a case.

8. Employment Discrimination

Discrimination is a buzzword in society. In the last few years, employment law has better defined what actions and protected classes are secured from discrimination. While obvious discrimination is easy to recognize and respond to, subtle discrimination can also be ground for a complaint.

Obvious acts of discrimination include denying employment or disciplining due to protected class.

To win an employment discrimination case, you must be able to prove four things. First, you must be part of the legally protected classes, and second, you must be able to perform your job well. Third, you must show what negative employment action you’ve suffered, and fourth, that the negative employment action was prompted by your protected class. Sue your employer for discrimination.

9. Workplace Harassment

An occasional comment or random offensive joke rarely constitutes harassment, but when offensive remarks and rude jokes happen without break, this is workplace harassment. Employees often cite harassment as part of hostile work environment complaints and lawsuits.

While harassment can occur to any employee, it often has to do with the employee’s protected status.

10. Sexual Harassment

Unwelcome sexual advances have no place at work. When an employee deals with sexual harassment from a boss, manager, or supervisor, they also face the very real chance of losing their job or suffering negative employment action when refusing the advances. File a complaint with your human resources department or notify a neutral supervisor about the situation. If nothing is done, you may have a case.

11. Retaliation

A repercussion of an employee pursuing his or her legal rights by filing a complaint internally or with a federal or state agency is sometimes retaliation by the employer.

Retaliation can be demotion, harassment, excessive schedule changes, and so much more. But employees who experience retaliation are protected by the law and can add employer retaliation to their complaint against their employer.

12. Defamation

Although this is a good reason to sue your employer, you need to be sure that you understand what true defamation is. Defamation only occurs when an untrue statement is made about an employee that results in the employee losing employment opportunities and potentially pay as well.

Rude or mean remarks that do not affect the employee’s career in any way are not enough for a defamation lawsuit.

13. Violating the Law

Sometimes employers force employees to unknowingly or knowingly violate federal or state law.

Employees who recognize that they are being pressured into lying on the behalf of their employer could become liable as well for the illegal behavior. Job security should never be based on illegal activity. Therefore, employees should seek the protection of being a whistleblower.

Read the next part of this series: 10 Questions to Ask When Your Employer is Breaking the Law

Contact KM&A if You Have Good Reason to Sue

When you are certain that you have a reason to sue your employer, you need a lawyer who is readily available to you and knows the law backward and forward. Every employment issue has its own factors despite being similar to broader categories, and a lawyer spots the similarities and differences within your case. Consult a lawyer today.

Chat with an employment attorney: (412) 626-5626 or lawyer@lawkm.com.