Everyone should feel safe when they go into their chosen place of work. Unfortunately, workers sometimes find themselves facing illegal or unfair treatment by their employers.
There are many forms that unfair labor practices and discrimination can take. These range from harassment to termination on wrongful grounds and beyond. Common examples include refusal of reasonable accommodations under the ADA, wage and hour violations, retaliation by an employer, discrimination, and the denial of leave. Workers who are hurt by unlawful employment practices may be reluctant to make their experiences known for fear of retaliation. They also might not know about their rights as employees and workers.
Here at FBD Law, we are highly experienced in the field of civil litigation as it applies to unfair labor practices in the USA. All of our employment law attorneys have the skills, knowledge, experience, and dedication to our clients in Santa Fe that is necessary to represent victims of unfair employment practices in different employment and labor disputes. If you feel that you have experienced unfair or illegal treatment at your work, give us a call at (505) 842-9960 and we will schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys.
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What Is Covered by Labor and Employment Laws?
Labor and employment laws cover a broad legal area dealing with worker’s and employer’s rights and duties. These laws are based on both state and federal constitutions, previous court opinions, administrative rules, legislation, and, in some cases, contracts.
At FBD Law, our attorneys are experienced in all areas of employment law and seek to help individuals in need of counsel and skilled representation.
Here at FBD Law, we represent employees who have fallen victim to;
- Wrongfully Termination
- Retaliatory Discharge
- Harassment (both sexual and non-sexual harassment)
- Discrimination Based on a Protected Class (such as religion, disability, sex, race, national origin, and age)
- Unfair Labor Practices (equal pay, denial of wages, and overtime)
Discrimination in the Workplace: What are Some of the Most Common Forms of Workplace Discrimination?
In the USA, it is illegal to discriminate against both an employee or someone applying for a job based upon their race, sex, religion, color, disability, age, or national origin. Under New Mexico law, these protections are even further expanded. Unfortunately, some employers still choose to discriminate. In doing so they create an inequitable and hostile environment by giving some employees better treatment than others.
There are many forms that discrimination within the workplace can take, such as:
- Promoting male workers with less experience than fully qualified and competent female employees
- Refusing to hire or promote qualified individuals based upon their race or the color of their skin
- Job eligibility criteria that intentionally make it impossible for individuals with disabilities to get a job
- Terminating employment because of a protected category
- Refuse to give workers from different religious backgrounds equal opportunities
Harassment in the Workplace: Common Examples of Workplace Harassment
Anyone who has experienced physical or verbal sexual advances, mockery, heard slurs, been the subject of threats, been approached sexually, or been subjected to offensive jokes has experienced harassment in the workplace. In the same way that discrimination creates a hostile work environment, so too does harassment.
Here are a few examples of workplace harassment:
- A coworker who tells jokes that are vulgar or sexual in nature
- Comments about one’s appearance or someone’s body
- The use of slurs and other racial epithets
- Commentary on a worker’s religious belief that is negative or inflammatory in nature
- Statements that might create a prejudicial response about an employee’s sexual orientation or perceived orientation.
- Negative commentary or jokes made at the expense of older workers
- Statements that create a prejudicial environment around the topic of an employee’s birthplace or their family heritage
Another form of harassment is quid pro quo harassment. This is harassment that leads to an intangible but real change to the employee’s work status. In some cases, employees are required to endure sexual harassment at the hands of their superiors to continue being gainfully employed.
What Is Considered Wrongful Termination?
Wrongful termination is when an employee is fired for reasons that are illegal or unlawful under federal or New Mexico law. If you were fired due to discrimination, there were company guidelines that weren’t followed, or if there was a public policy violated, your dismissal can be considered wrongful termination.
Other cases of wrongful termination include being fired for not breaking the law on behalf of your employer, termination stemming from bringing up problems within the workplace, or being fired for being a whistleblower.
If someone is fired based on their color, race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, sex, gender, age, or nationality that can also be the basis for a wrongful termination suit.
If your dismissal falls under any of these categories, you might be eligible to file a claim based on wrongful termination:
- Breach of Contract
- Refusal to Commit an Illegal Act
- Violation of Public Policy
- Violation of Company Policy
- Constructive Discharge
If you believe that you have experienced discrimination as outlined above or have not been treated properly as per the law or company policy, you may be eligible to file a claim. The U.S. Department of Labor maintains a repository of legal information on all the laws surrounding employment and includes information on how and where to begin with a claim. For those in unions, the National Labor Relations Board can offer assistance.
In the majority of cases, you will be able to fire a lawsuit against a former employee for their wrongful termination of your employment. If you feel that you have fired because of discrimination or another unlawful reason, you should contact a Sante Fe employment law attorney at FBD Law. It is worth noting that before you must file a discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the New Mexico Human Rights Division before moving forward with your suit in New Mexico.
The attorneys at FBD Law understand federal and New Mexico employment laws and can provide you with advice and skilled representation.
What Industries in America Have the Most Minimum Wage and Overtime Violations?
Violations of both federal and New Mexico labor laws happen at companies of every size and in every industry. Complaints and wage issues are more frequent in some sectors due to industry practices. Here are the top violators when it comes to industry-wide wage and overtime problems:
- Food, Beverage, and Hospitality Industries
- Cleaning and Janitorial Services
What Is Employee Misclassification?
There are many differences between employees and those who are self-employed and known as consultants or independent contractors. The biggest difference is that employees get benefits and are guaranteed a regular wage but can be told when and where they are required to work.
Independent contractors, on the other hand, work on a contract basis, generally short-term, and bill for their services. Independent consultants are not able to claim the same benefits as employees. In addition, they have to withhold from their own wages and file their own taxes.
In some cases, employers abuse this difference in classification by listing actual workers as contractors in an attempt to save money and get around the law.
Examples of misclassification include:
- Classifying an employee as a contractor so they can’t sign up for a health benefits plan
- Classifying an employee as a contractor so that the company isn’t subject to EEOC laws and can therefore get away with harassment
- Classifying an employee as a consultant so they aren’t subject to minimum wage rules
What Does Employer Retaliation Mean?
If an employer penalizes a worker for engaging in activities that are protected by law, they are engaging in retaliation. Employers may retaliate against workers by docking their pay or by firing, harassing, demoting, transferring, reassigning, or disciplining them. Retaliation can also be very subtle.
In some cases, such as the outright firing of a worker, an employer’s actions are obviously negative. But some situations are less clear-cut. In these cases, the Supreme Court of the United States says that considering the circumstances is essential. For example, we will use being put onto a different shift at work. This might not be objectionable to many workers, but to individuals with children at home and otherwise restrictive schedules, it is a problem.
Employees are protected under the law from retaliation, but some employers don’t care and will continue to punish or penalize a worker who files a grievance. Some of these forms of punishment include:
- Demoting employees who file complaints
- Reducing salaries
- Putting them on a work shift that would create conflict between home and work
- Assigning them to a worse job
- Excluding them from training sessions and other work-related activities
What Do I Do If My Employer Denies Me Leave of Absence?
New Mexico has state laws corning when employees can go on leave, but several federal laws also protect workers seeking extended leave from their place of employment.
The FMLA, also known as the Family Medical Leave Act, states that employers are required to offer individuals with health conditions affecting them or their family unpaid leave. This can be used to care for a family member, to treat a major illness, or to care for a new child. Any qualified worker is entitled to twelve weeks of unpaid leave without any risk to their job, pay, or position.
Under the USERRA or Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, employees who are current and former uniformed service members are protected from termination or similar issues during periods of time where they are called away to serve in the military.
If you believe that your request for a leave of absence has been intentionally denied, that you’ve been fired, retaliated against, or demoted for taking a leave of absence, or have been otherwise discriminated against, you need to consult with a Sante Fe employment law attorney and receive legal counsel about the options available for you. Contact FBD Law and speak to one of our experienced lawyers today for advice and steps to take in the right direction.
Let The Employment Law Attorneys at FBD Law Help You
Here at FBD Law, we have helped thousands of employees from across New Mexico pursue their employment and labor-related claims over the years.
Not only do we represent victims of harassment and other employment-related issues, but we also represent employees when called before various administrative agencies. Our attorneys are there to help with the New Mexico Human Rights Division, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Department of Labor, and more.
If you feel that an employer or coworker has mistreated you, give us a call without delay. FBD Law is highly invested in your rights as a worker and is ready to represent you in a court of law to ensure that your rights are protected. For a no-obligation consultation that is provided free of cost by professional and highly skilled employment law attorneys who serve Santa Fe, call (505) 842-9960.