If your employer is treating you unfairly or discriminating against you, the good news is that we can help! And to ease your stress and uncertainty, we have authored several blog articles on how to navigate various aspects of employment law. This resource article will provide some background information on what to do when you have encountered discrimination, retaliation, or unlawful restrictions in the workplace. Specifically, this will help you file complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), Michigan Department of Labor, or the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”). By taking these preliminary actions, you will be on a better track to rectifying any wrongs you experienced. And of course, still contact our office at [email protected] to get legal advice.
Discrimination & Retaliation
In the workplace, you are legally protected from discrimination based on your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information. Discrimination can take many forms, including being denied compensation or benefits, receiving inappropriate comments based on personal characteristics, being terminated because of your status as a member of a protected class, etc.
Moreover, you cannot be punished for asserting your rights to be free from discrimination or harassment. Asserting these rights (known as engaging in protecting activity) may include communicating with a supervisor about discrimination, participating in an investigation of alleged harassment, requesting accommodations for disability or religious practices, etc. Employers may not retaliate against you for engaging in a protected activity.
To learn more about discrimination and retaliation in the workplace, review the Michigan Civil Rights Commission’s fact sheet about your rights and resources, the National Law Review’s article on filing discrimination or retaliation claims, and Vox’s article on workplace discrimination, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) explanation of what they do..
If you believe you’ve faced discrimination or retaliation in the workplace, you may file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. The EEOC is the federal agency that receives, reviews, and potentially investigates discrimination and retaliation claims. To file a charge, you will first need to submit an inquiry, then proceed with the filing process. At Hurwitz Law, we effectively assist our clients in this process, so if you would like assistance with filing or guidance on pursuing action against your employer, call or email us!
Issues with Wages
Under the Michigan Payment of Wages and Fringe Benefits Act, you have legal rights when it comes to your wages, when you receive them, and how much you receive. It is required that 1) you receive your wages on a regular basis (weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly); 2) you receive a retainable pay statement of your wages with its pertinent information; 3) you receive compensation for fringe benefits earned to a written contract or policy (holiday pay, paid time off for sickness or injury, paid time off for vacation or personal reasons, bonuses, or authorized expenses incurred during employment); 4) your employer does not make deductions (with few exceptions); 5) you receive wages in cash, check, money order, or direct deposit if you authorize it; 6) you receive earned wages on your regular payday after your employment ends; 7) you’re protected if you file a complaint or exercise a protected right under the Act.
If you believe your current or past employer has violated any of your rights listed above, you can file a Michigan Wage and Hour Complaint, alerting the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity of an alleged violation of your employee rights. Complaints of non-payment of wages or fringe benefits must be filed within 12 months of the alleged violation. Complaints of being paid lower than minimum wage or the withholding of overtime must be filed within 3 years from the date of the alleged violation.
Employer Restricting the Communication of Terms and Conditions of Employment
As an employee, you are legally entitled to have concerns about the terms and conditions of your employment, and share those concerns with coworkers.
If you believe your current or past employer has violated your rights by restricting your speech about the terms and conditions of employment, you can file a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.
Ultimately, if you believe you are experiencing unlawful conduct in your workplace, it is important that you know where to turn and what next steps to take. Call 844-HURWITZ or complete our online contact form today to discuss your options.