KNOWING YOUR RIGHTS CAN PREVENT WRONGFUL TERMINATION

The holidays are over, your boss is still a jerk and now you’re deciding whether to set him straight about how to treat you in 2013.  What you do next could cost you your job, shut you out of your industry for awhile or help you win a case against your employer.  As we launch into a new year, it’s an ideal time to brush up on your workplace rights.

If you think your boss needs a reason to terminate you, you’re wrong.  In every state in the nation, with the exception of Montana, employers can fire employees for any reason or no reason at all.  But you can learn strategy to help you come out ahead in career-threatening situations and prevent wrongful termination.

Let’s say you choose to tell your boss he’s a bully or publicly criticize his style of management.  Know that not a single state has a law against workplace bullying and that your criticism could get you fired in most states.  Knowing your workplace rights starts even before you land the job.

Prospective employees are getting tripped up in the hiring process by answering questions on job applications and in interviews without knowing what’s legally allowed.  An employer isn’t supposed to ask questions that reveal a protected status such as age or race.  Also, an employer isn’t supposed to do credit checks without your written permission.  If you have bad credit, be ready to explain your situation.

Once hired, new employees face another quandary.  They often sign paperwork without carefully reading what’s shoved in front of them.  Big mistake.  Increasingly, non-compete agreements are at the center of workplace conflict.  By signing one, if you leave or get fired, you may be forfeiting your right to work in your industry for a year or more after you stop working for this employer.

One of the most troublesome trends expected to heat up in 2013 is conflict over overtime.  Employees should know that because you are salaried doesn’t mean you’re automatically exempt from (not entitled to) paid overtime.  And, federal and most state laws also don’t require you get paid sick days or additional pay for working holidays.  Even more, there also is no law that requires employers to pay you more just because you got promoted.

In the new year, the biggest workplace clashes are expected to arise from online behavior.  Employees are asking, “Can my employer monitor my Internet usage and read my emails?”  The answer is yes.  Assume your employer is monitoring your emails at work and act accordingly.  The same goes for what you post on social media sites.  Lots of employees are posting nasty comments about their bosses on Facebook, tweeting how awful management is and wondering why they were terminated.

If you’re thinking of catching your jerky boss in action on video and posting it on YouTube or Facebook, forget about it.  The tape will probably not be admissible in court and could well land you in jail.  If you are fired for any reason, don’t sign papers shoved in front of you without consulting an attorney.

If you have questions about workplace issues, discrimination, or wrongful termination, please contact our FirmLaborlaw@Lineschfirm.com

to read the full article by Cindy Krischer Goodman, visit: The Miami Herald 

The Linesch Firm provides news and opinion articles as a service to our readers.  Often these articles come from sources outside of our organization.  Where possible, the source is documented within each article as well as a link to the article’s source.  For more information about The Linesch Firm, please visit our website: www.LineschFirm.com

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David J. Linesch

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Licensed since 1982

Member at firm Linesch Firm

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