Workers usually think their employers have their best interests in mind when setting policies, procedures, rules, and more. While we want to think the best of our employers, they may actually be exploiting their workers. Employees have legal rights and employers are required by law to respect and abide by those rights. What can an employee do when they believe their rights are being violated? Call an experienced employment lawyer for help. The Houston employment lawyers at Feldman & Feldman have extensive experience defending the rights of Texas workers. Employment law is very complex, as both state and federal laws are intertwined. The best employment lawyers know these laws inside and out as well as industry specific regulations and administrative procedures. Knowing your rights as an employee as well as when it is necessary to obtain legal assistance will help you keep your career on track and prevent lapses in income.
Specific Times an Employee May Need an Employment Lawyer
1. Signing Legal Documents and Agreements
There are many documents an employer may ask you to sign before starting work or during your employment. These may include non-disclosure agreements, employment agreements, contracts, and more that will contain complicated legal terminology. You may not fully understand what you are signing and may fear losing the job opportunity if you do not sign whatever is placed in front of you right away. This is not the case, as you can always have an employment lawyer review the documents with you so that you fully understand what you are signing. Your employment documents must be expressed to you in a way that is understandable and fully transparent. If your employer does not allow you to fully understand these documents, they may be violating your rights. Always ensure you fully comprehend all aspects of any and all agreements you are signing before starting your employment or during your employment should they change or new contracts be required.
2. Employer Retaliation / Discrimination
Discrimination in the workplace is terrible, but it can be incredibly difficult to prove. It is illegal for your employer to discriminate against you on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, and other legally enumerated characteristics. Your employer is also not allowed to retaliate against you for any reason. You may be reporting discrimination, harassment, or a safety issue and if your employer begins to treat you differently from other employees, they may be trying to retaliate against you. Having an employment lawyer by your side to back up your claims and protect you from retaliation may be necessary, as some employers do not take claims seriously. Your employer cannot threaten you in any manner; and, if they do, an employment lawyer should immediately be consulted to defend your rights and help you through this challenging situation.
3. Wrongful Termination
Texas is an at-will employment state. This allows employers to terminate a worker’s employment at any time for any reason as long as the reason is not illegal. There are specific illegal reasons that may make an employee’s termination wrongful. Illegal reasons for termination include racial discrimination or retaliation. Having an employment lawyer on your side after being wrongfully terminated will help your case as you will have someone who understands the law fighting for your rights.
4. Sexual Harassment
If you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace or while on the job, you should immediately report it to the proper personnel, usually your employer’s human resources department. Sometimes these situations are not handled properly or are “swept under the rug.” If this has happened to you, please contact a lawyer for help. If your employer chooses to fire you for reporting sexual harassment, this is considered retaliation which is illegal. We will help you file a civil suit against your employer for illegally terminating your employment.
5. Whistleblower Actions
After reporting your employer to a regulating agency for illegal activities, that employer cannot retaliate against you. Being a whistleblower takes bravery and our legal team is here to support you to ensure your rights are protected.
6. Wage and Hour Disputes / Unpaid Overtime
Texas employers, for the most part, are required to pay their workers a minimum wage or higher. They are not allowed to withhold wages that you have earned and deserve to be paid. If your employer chooses to withhold your pay, contact us immediately to discuss your rights. You may also qualify to receive overtime pay. Depending on your employment classification, your employer may be required to pay overtime if you work over a certain number of hours each week. If you have been wrongfully denied earned overtime pay, contact us.
Why Choose Feldman & Feldman as Your Houston Employment Lawyers?
The legal team of Feldman & Feldman is ready to help you with any employment issues you are facing. We support employees by giving them a powerful voice to advocate for fair working conditions. It can be very stressful, scary, and frustrating to think about taking legal action against your employer. You have no reason to be afraid with our Houston employment attorneys by your side. Don’t wait for the worst to happen before you contact us to schedule a consultation.