Understanding your rights under the law as an employee and an employer can be difficult because your situation may involve the overlap of a number of legal areas, such as contracts and statutory rights. The advice of an experienced attorney may be helpful to both employers and employees. For example, employers who understand appropriate interview questions and reasons for firing an employee may avoid litigation. For an employee, an understanding of the rights provided by the law is the first step to actually exercising those rights.
Attorney assistance can be especially important in negotiating and interpreting employment contracts. Depending upon the circumstances, it may be possible to negotiate the contract and change the terms so that they are more fair to you. Even if the other side is not willing to change the contract, an attorney can tell you what your rights and obligations are. Sometimes it is not worth agreeing to a contract if it is too unfair. If you do end up agreeing to a contract which the other side is not willing to change, it may be helpful to know what your rights and obligations are so that you can plan for the future.
Among the issues you could discuss with your attorney include:
What laws must employers follow when hiring new employees?
What should employers be aware of in conducting job interviews?
What types of questions may imply discrimination?
What is “need-to-know” and how does it apply to job interviews?
Do I have to advertise open positions?
If I know that an applicant used to have a problem with drugs or alcohol, can I refuse to hire him on that basis?
Is it ever acceptable to consider an applicant’s disability during the hiring process?
Am I allowed to ask someone if they are an illegal alien?
Can I refuse to hire someone simply because I don’t like him or her?
If I have an employment contract, do I have more rights than if I did not have an employment contract?
What is “employment at will?”
Does “employment at will” apply to me and my employer?
What is a non-compete agreement?
Do the minimum wage laws apply to small businesses?
Do I have to pay minimum wage to employees who receive tips?
Can an employer and employee agree to waive overtime pay?
Can I give my employees time off instead of paying them overtime?
Do I have to pay my managers overtime?
Do I have to pay my employees for travel time?
What rights does an employer have to investigate something an employee may have done?
What records do I need to keep in the personnel file?
Can employers monitor their employees’ Internet usage or read their e-mail?
When is an employer required to investigate a complaint made by an employee?
What is an independent contractor?
What is the difference between an independent contractor and an employee?
How do I fire someone?
Can I fire an employee for any reason?
Do I have to give a fired employee a severance package?
If I am terminated, what are the proper and improper grounds for termination?
Is termination different in public sector employment?
If I am a veteran are my rights different?
What is employment discrimination?
What are the major federal anti-discrimination laws?
Do the anti-discrimination laws protect only women and minorities?
How do I know if an action is discriminatory in violation of the law?
Besides hiring, what other aspects of the employment relationship are regulated by the anti-discrimination laws?
As an individual with a disability, how am I protected from discrimination in the workplace?
What should I do if I think I have been discriminated against in violation of the law?
How do I know if my state has an enforcement agency?
What is the EEOC?
What role will the EEOC play in my lawsuit?
What information should be included in my charge?
What happens once I file a charge with the EEOC?
If the EEOC files a lawsuit on my behalf, can I still sue separately?
What are the statutes of limitations imposed under Title VII, ADA and the Minnesota Human Rights Act?
What is sexual harassment?
How can an employee make a claim of sexual harassment?
What is the Equal Pay Act?
Do I need to keep any forms proving that my employees are legally allowed to work in this country?
Are employers required by law to honor wage garnishment orders?
Leaves of Absence:
Who qualifies for leave under the Family Medical and Leave Act?
Does the FMLA entitle an employee to paid leave?
What if I need to leave for sick children?
What is military leave?
How do workers go about attempting to receive union representation?
How does a grievance work?
What is COBRA insurance?
How many sick days am I entitled?
Does an employer have to grant me paid sick leave?
Does an employer have to grant me paid vacation?
Will I lose my job if I have to go to jury duty?
How many hours am I entitled to for a funeral leave?