Workplaces should be places where people are safe as they earn a living. Unfortunately, some employers subject their workers to unfair and illegal conditions.
There are many different forms of unfair and/or discriminatory labor practices used against workers. They include employer retaliation, hour and wage violations, refusing to provide reasonable accommodation, discrimination, denying leave, wrongful terminations, and harassment. Workers who are victims of unlawful labor practices may not feel comfortable speaking up against their employers due to not being aware of what their workers’ rights are or fear of reprisal.
FBD Law specializes in handling various kinds of civil litigation cases involving illegal employment actions and unfair labor practices that have been used against workers. All of our employment law attorneys serve Las Cruces and have the necessary dedication, knowledge, and experience that is needed to represent employees in various types of labor disputes. If you believe you have been the victim of unfair or illegal treatment at your workplace, give us a call to get your free initial consultation scheduled with our lawyers.
Table of Contents
Employment Law: What Is Covered?
Employment and labor laws cover a broad area of law that governs employers’ and workers’ rights and duties.
Most governing laws have been designed to make sure that workers are fairly treated and safe on the job. Employment laws are all based on federal and state legislation, court opinions, administrative rules, and constitutions. However, employment relationships are sometimes governed by contracts as well.
The responsibility of employment and labor attorneys in these types of cases is to provide their clients with guidance on different issues that range from discrimination claim elements to the legality of conducting a background check on prospective employees to whether or not an individual should be treated as an employee or an independent contractor under labor and tax laws. The employment law attorneys at FBD Law are experienced in labor and employment law and assist people who need legal representation and counsel.
FBD Law represents people who have been victimized by the following:
- Discrimination (e.g. age, color, race, national origin, sex, harassment, religion, disability
- Harassment (e.g. sexual harassment, hostile work Environment)
- Wrongful Termination
- Unfair Labor Practices (e.g. overtime, denial of wages, equal pay)
Workplace Discrimination: What Are Some of the More Common Types of Workplace Discrimination?
In America, it is illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or employee based on their national origin, age, disability, color, religion, sex, and race. New Mexico’s state discrimination laws provide additional protection for employees. Unfortunately, some employers still discriminate, which creates a hostile and inequitable workplace where certain employees are treated better than others are.
Workplace discrimination takes many forms and can include the following:
- Refusing to provide workers who have different religious backgrounds with equal opportunities
- Firing an employee based on a specific protected category
- Enforcing criteria for job eligibility that intentionally screen out people with disabilities
- Refusing to hire or promote an individual based on the color of their skin or their race
- Refusing to promote a qualified and competent female employee and favoring a male worker who has less experience instead
Workplace Harassment: Common Examples
Whenever an employee is subjected to unsolicited verbal and/or assaults of a sexual nature, threats, slurs, ridicule, or unsolicited sexual advances, they have experienced workplace harassment. Similar to discrimination, harassment within the workplace creates an intimidating and abusive work environment.
Workplace harassment examples include the following:
- Prejudicial statements made about a worker’s birthplace or family heritage
- Negative comments or jokes made about a worker’s age who is over 40 years old
- Prejudicial statements made about the sexual orientation of an employee
- Negative comments made about an employee’s religious beliefs
- Using racial slurs or epithets
- Unsolicited comments made about an employee’s appearance or body
- Telling a vulgar or sexual job to a coworker
Workplace harassment also can come in the form of quid pro quo harassment. This occurs when harassment results in an intangible change in the employment status of a worker. For example, an employee may be forced to put up with sexual harassment from their bosses to keep their job.
What Is Considered to Be Wrongful Termination?
It is when an employee or worker is filed for reasons that are unlawful or illegal under federal or New Mexico law. Suppose you were fired from your job. In this case, your dismissal might be considered to be wrongful termination if there was any discrimination involved, if there was a violation of public policy, or if the company’s policies have termination guides and these rules were not followed.
Other reasons that might be considered to be wrongful termination might include being a whistleblower, making complaints about workplace problems, or being fired for being unwilling to commit a crime when your employer asks you to.
Discrimination may also be considered to be wrongful termination if an employee is fired based on their sexual orientation, sex, gender, age, nationality, color, religion, or race.
If you were fired from your job for one of the reasons below, you may be eligible to file a wrongful termination claim:
- Constructive discharge
- Company policy was violated
- Public policy was violated
- Refusal to commit an illegal act
- Breach of contract
If you believe you were not treated fairly based on the law, company policy, or public policy or think you have been discriminated against, it is important that you speak to an experienced New Mexico employment lawyer to evaluate your case. The employment lawyers at FBD Law know New Mexico employment law and have had substantial success in protecting employee rights.
In a majority of cases, you will be able to file a lawsuit against your past employer for terminating you wrongfully. If you have been victimized by workplace discrimination or another kind of wrongdoing, contact a reputable law firm that has experience dealing with employment and labor laws. However, an important thing to note is you need to file a discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or New Mexico Human Rights Division before you file a suit in New Mexico.
Give us a call and get your free initial consultation scheduled with our employment law attorneys for legal representation and counsel that you can rely on.
What American Industries Have the Most Overtime and Minimum Wage Violations?
Violations of New Mexico or federal laws can occur in any industry or size company. From large corporations to small businesses, wage and hour violations take place, whether they are mistakes or a result of intentional wrongdoing. However, there are certain industries where wage problems and complaints happen more frequently due to certain industry practices. Below are the leading violators in terms of industry-wide wage and overtime issues:
- The janitorial and cleaning industry
- The hospitality and food industry
- The healthcare industry
What Is Employee Misclassification?
When it comes to employees and self-employed workers, also referred to as independent contractors or consultants, there are several important differences. The major difference is that employers get told when and where to work, are guaranteed regular wages, are entitled to receive employee benefits, among other factors. Independent contractors, by contract, often work short-term on a contract basis and are billed for their services. Independent consultants are not eligible to receive employee benefits. They must also withhold their own taxes and file them.
It is worthwhile to note that these classifications are abused by some employers who misclassify genuine employees as contractors to save money and circumvent laws.
Misclassification examples include the following:
- Misclassifying workers to avoid having to pay minimum wage
- An employee is misclassified as a consultant, so a company can avoid complying with EEOC laws (designed to protect against employment discrimination).
- An employee is misclassified to avoid having to offer them a health benefits plan.
What Is Employer Retaliation?
This refers to when an employer acts against a worker for engaging in legally-protected activities and includes negative job actions like discipline, salary reduction, job or shift reassignment, demotion, or firing. It is worthwhile to note that it can be subtle as well.
In certain cases, the actions of an employer are obviously negative – for example, when a worker is fired. However, it might not be so clear in other cases. In those instances, according to the Supreme Court of the United States, the circumstances must be considered. For example, let’s look at a job shift change. Although to most workers it may not be objectionable, it might be detrimental to a person with children and a restricted schedule.
Although employees are protected by law against employer retaliation, it still does not prevent some employers from penalizing an employee who has filed a claim. Employers may punish employees in a number of different ways including the following:
- Exclude an employee who has filed a complaint from important work-related activities such as training sessions
- Re-assign an employee to a less desirable job
- Re-assign an employee to a shift that results in a work-family conflict
- Reduce an employee’s salary
- Demote an employee
What Can I Do If I Am Denied a Leave of Absence by My Employer?
Although New Mexico has state laws of its own governing when employees go on leave, there are also a number of federally-mandated laws protecting employees who need to take extended time off from work.
The Family Medical Leave Act requires employers to offer workers unpaid leave time who have a qualifying personal or family or medical situation, like the birth or adoption of a baby or needing to take care of a family member who has a serious health issue. If qualified, an employee is entitled to receive a maximum of twelve weeks in unpaid leave time without putting their job status at risk.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act assures certain protections for current and past uniformed members of the service who might need to be gone from their regular civilian employment for an extended time for military service.
If you believe you were intentionally denied a leave of absence by your employer, or you were retaliated against, demoted, or fire due to going on a leave of absence, be sure to consult with a lawyer for guidance on the best steps to take. Contact FBD Law today and talk to our employment law attorneys for direction and advice.
Get In Touch With an Employment Law Attorney Today
Over the years, the employment and labor lawyers at FBD Law have assisted thousands of employees in New Mexico to pursue employment and labor claims.
In addition to successfully representing labor and employment claim victims, our firm’s employment law lawyers also represent employees in front of administrative agencies like the Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the New Mexico Human Rights Division.
If you have been mistreated in any way by a coworker or employer, don’t hesitate to contact our office. We at FBD Law are here to assist you and help you thoroughly understand what your workers’ rights are. If necessary, we will represent you in court to make sure your best interests are protected. Give us a call today and get your no-obligation, free consultation scheduled with our professional and capable employment law attorneys who handle cases in Las Cruces.