People must feel safe in their workplaces whenever they are going about their business. Sadly, some employers subject their workers to unfair and sometimes illegal working conditions.
Unfair and discriminatory labor practices can manifest themselves in many ways. They include wrongfully terminating a contract, discrimination, denying workers leave, violation of working hours, wage violations, and denial of reasonable accommodation. Workers may endure such violations silently because they are afraid of what might befall them for speaking out. Others might not know about their rights.
Our employment law attorneys practice in Taos and handle various types of civil litigation cases involving unjust practices against workers. Our knowledgeable and experienced lawyers are committed to representing workers that fall victim to labor violations. If you feel like you have been subjected to unjust or illegal treatment in your workplace, call our employment law firm at (505) 842-9960 to arrange a consultation with our lawyers.
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What Does Employment Law Cover?
Employment and labor laws cover the rights and duties of employees and employers. Most of these employment and labor laws are designed to ensure employees’ fair treatment and see to it that employees have safe working conditions. Labor and employment laws are hinged on federal and state constitutions, legislation, court opinions, administrative rules, and in some cases, contracts.
The employment law attorneys here at FDB Law are ready to offer you reliable representation and legal counsel.
Our attorneys offer legal counsel and representation for the following labor violation issues in Taos, New Mexico:
- Wrongful Termination
- Retaliatory Discharge
- All Types of Harassment in the Workplace
- Discrimination Based on Protected class (religion, race, national, origin, sex, age, and disability)
- Unjust Labor Practices (e.g., denial of wages, unequal pay, and overtime without pay)
Most Common Forms of Discrimination in the Workplace
In America, it is illegal to discriminate against an employee or job applicant based on race, skin color, national origin, sex, disability, or age. New Mexico law expands these protections further. Unfortunately, some employers still discriminate against their workers. This unfair treatment creates hostility and inequality in the workplace.
Discrimination in the workplace can manifest itself in many ways, such as:
- Overlooking a qualified and competent female employee for an unqualified male employee during promotions
- Refusing to hire or promote someone because of the color of their skin or their race
- Unfairly screening out persons with disabilities by intentionally enforcing a job eligibility criterion that disqualifies them
- Firing a worker based on a protected category
- Denying workers of a different race or religious background equal opportunities
Typical Instances of Harassment in the Workplace
Harassment in the workplace exhibits itself in many ways. Subjecting an employee to slurs, ridicule, uninvited sexual advances, verbal/physical assault, or offensive jokes counts as workplace harassment. Workplace harassment, like workplace discrimination, makes a work environment intimidating and abusive.
The following are instances of workplace harassment:
- Telling your workmate a vulgar or sexually explicit joke
- Using racial slurs
- Making racial jokes
- Making unwelcome comments about a co-worker’s appearance or body
- Making intolerant comments concerning a co-worker’s sexual orientation
- Making biased statements about a workmate’s religious beliefs
- Making biased or ignorant statements about a co-worker’s birthplace or heritage
- Joking about a co-worker’s age who is over 40 years old
Sometimes, workplace harassment is quid pro quo. An excellent example is when a worker endures sexual harassment so that they can keep their job. Or, when a job applicant has to perform some sexual favor to secure a job.
What Is Wrongful Termination and What Does It Constitute?
Wrongful termination is when an employer dismisses an employee/worker for reasons that are illegal or unlawful under New Mexico or federal law. Your dismissal can be deemed wrongful termination if there was discrimination, the company’s guidelines for termination were not followed, or there was a violation of public policy.
Other examples of wrongful termination include when you are dismissed for refusing to partake in criminal activities for your employer, whistleblowing about the company’s wrongdoings, or complaining about issues in the workplace.
Wrongful termination can also be as a result of discrimination in the workplace when workers are fired because of their religion, race, sexual orientation, disability, age, gender, or nationality.
Worker/employees are eligible to file for wrongful termination if they have been laid off under any of the following circumstances:
- Company breaches a worker’s contract
- Refusing to participate in illegal activities for the company
- Violating a public policy
- The company violates its company policy
- Constructive discharge
If you feel like your rights as an employee have been violated in any way, the U.S Department of Labor can give you some insight into the legal information about employment regulation laws. This will help you to know where and how to file a claim. The National Labor Relations Board can be of use if you are in a union.
Usually, you can sue your former employers for wrongfully terminating your contract or unfairly dismissing you. If you have suffered any workplace discrimination or unfair treatment, contact the experienced attorneys at FBD Law today. However, you need to file a discrimination claim with the New Mexico Human Rights Division or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission before moving forward with a suit in New Mexico.
For top-notch representation and legal counsel, call (505) 842-9960 to get in touch with our employment law attorneys. Our initial consultation is free.
Which American Industries Are Most Affected by Overtime and Minimum Wages Violations?
Violations of federal and New Mexico labor laws can happen no matter the company’s industry or size. From large corporations to small businesses, wage and overtime violations occur intentionally or unintentionally. However, these violations happen more frequently in some industries more than others. The following industries top the charts when it comes to wage and overtime issues:
- The medical industry
- The food and hospitality industry
- The cleaning and janitorial industry
What Does Employee Misclassification Mean?
Self-employed workers, also known as independent contractors or consultants, differ from employees in many ways. The main variations between an employee and a self-employed worker are that an employee enjoys employment benefits, is entitled to a regular wage, and is told when and where to work. On the other hand, self-employed contract workers get paid when they offer their services. Independent contractors do not receive employment benefits. Besides, self-employed workers are required to withhold and file taxes.
It should be mentioned that some employers intentionally misclassify genuine employees as self-employed workers to get past laws and save money.
Some Instances of Misclassifications are:
- Misclassifying workers to avoid registering them for a healthcare benefits plan
- Misclassifying a worker as a consultant so that the company can circumvent the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission compliance laws
- Misclassifying an employee/worker to get around paying minimum wage
What Is Employer Retaliation?
Employer retaliation happens when an employer rebukes an employee/worker for participating in legally-protected activities. The employer can retaliate against employees by firing them, putting them on an undesirable shift, reducing their salaries, re-assigning them to a different job, demoting them, or disciplining them. Employer retaliation can be subtle.
Some instances of retaliation are obvious, such as when employers fire employees who “crossed the line.” However, some instances are not so clear, and in such cases, the Supreme Court of the United States recommends considering the circumstances. For example, changing an employee’s shift. While some workers won’t mind, some employees, especially those with children, would object to it since the new working hours would affect their personal and family schedule.
Unlawful retaliation is when an employer’s negative actions prevent an employee from filing a complaint. Although the law protects workers from employer retaliation, some employers still punish their workers for filing a grievance. Some employers retaliate by doing the following to punish their employees:
- Demoting the worker who filed a grievance
- Reducing the salary of the employee
- Re-assigning them to an unfavorable shift that leads to a family-work conflict
- Re-assigning them to a less-desirable job
- Excluding them from essential work-related activities like training sessions
My Employer Has Denied Me a Leave of Absence! What Do I Do?
Although New Mexico has its laws concerning employee leave, there are many federally approved laws to protect employees who must take extended periods from their jobs.
As per the Family Medical Leave Act, employers should let employees with family or individual medical situations go on unpaid leave. The medical situation could involve childbirth or care for a close family member (such as a child, parent, or spouse) with a severe medical/health condition like cancer. If the workers qualify to apply for unpaid leave, they are allowed up to 12 weeks to take care of their business.
The USERRA, in other words, Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, in contrast, promises certain protections to be current and former uniformed service members. They might need to be away from regular civilian duties to serve in the military.
Do you suspect that your employer denied your leave of absence out of spite or intentionally? Or you’ve been demoted, retaliated against, or even fired because of taking a much-deserved leave of absence? Consult with a reputable employment law attorney for counsel on the best approach moving forward. Contact FBD Law today and talk to our accomplished employment law attorneys for expert legal advice and direction.
Let the Employment Law Attorneys at FBD Law Help You
Over the years, the experienced and well-reputed employment lawyers at FBD law have helped countless workers throughout Taos, NM, with their labor and employment claims.
In addition to having a stellar track record of representing victims in labor and employment suits, our employment law lawyers can also represent you before administrative agencies such as OSHA (Occupations and Safety Health Administration), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and other relevant agencies, including the National Labor Relations Board, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the New Mexico Human Rights Division.
FBD Law is here to make sure you understand all your rights as a hard-working employee, and should the need arise; we can represent your interest as a worker in a court of law. Have you been subjected to any form of mistreatment or discrimination at work from your a colleague or your employer? If so, don’t delay to give our offices a call at (505) 842-9960 and book a free no-risk or obligation consultation with our friendly, competent, experienced, and professional employment law attorneys.