Valuable Legal Solutions For Employees And Employers

For Employees

Did your employer terminate your position when you took pregnancy or medical leave? Are you worried that a demotion might be in retaliation for asking about unpaid wages or bonus? Were you terminated for refusing to engaged in improper acts or questioning the legality of the company’s practices ? Have you been discriminated against based on your gender, race, age or disability ? Are you facing litigation regarding alleged violations of a company non-compete or confidentiality agreement?

For Employers

Is an employee accusing your company of wrongful termination after a layoff? Are you facing litigation for a wage and hour dispute? Do you need to enforce the provisions of a non-compete clause? Is a current or former employee using the company‘s proprietary information or trade secrets?

If you have a question like any of these regarding an employment law situation, speak with a skilled employment law attorney to learn about your legal options.

Providing You With Skilled Advocacy And Meaningful Advice

At the law firm of Hantzes & Associates, our attorneys have more than 35 years of combined legal experience advocating for the rights of employees and employers in Washington, D.C., and Virginia. Each case is unique and requires careful examination of the facts and circumstances.

When you tell us the details of your situation, we will explain your options so that you can make a knowledgeable decision. Contact us when you need assistance with issues of employment law, including:

United States Department of Labor (DOL)
Information for workers, employers and unions.

Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
Information regarding enforcement of federal labor laws, including minimum wage; child labor and overtime standards set out under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA); and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA).

The Contract Employee's Handbook
This resource contains information to assist independent contractors with management of their careers.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
The NLRB site provides background information on the functions and services of the National Labor Relations Board of interest to employers, employees and policymakers.

Employee Rights
List of rights guaranteed to employees covered under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

Employment Law - An Overview

Employment law covers the relationships between employers and their current, prospective and former employees. Both federal and state laws control various aspects of the employer-employee relationship, including each side's rights and obligations. Because of the complexity of the employment relationship, this area of law involves issues as diverse as discrimination, record keeping, taxation and workplace safety.

There are also different types of employment relationships. Employment relationships can be based on a contract, or they can be "at-will." If the employment relationship is based on a valid contract entered into by the employer and the employee, the terms of that contract will govern the relationship. By contrast, an at-will employment arrangement can be terminated at any time, with or without reason, by either the employer (as long as the reason does not constitute illegal discrimination) or the employee.

With all these factors to consider, it is clear why employment law is such a complex area. If you have an employment law concern, contact an employment lawyer at Hantzes & Associates in McLean, VA, who can provide advice and representation in a range of workplace-related matters.

Federal Regulations on Employment Relationships

Numerous federal laws apply to employment nationwide. Some laws affect only employers over a certain size, while others have different restrictions. The following is a quick summary of the major federal employment laws:

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended:

  • Applies only to employers who, for 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year, have employed 15 or more employees
  • Prohibits employers from discriminating because of or on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition) or national origin

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):

  • Applies only to employers who, for 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year, have employed 15 or more employees
  • Defines disability with respect to an individual as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment"
  • Defines major life activities to include, but not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, working and major bodily functions such as functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions
  • Is designed to prohibit discrimination against workers with disabilities
  • Provides that if an individual with a disability can perform the essential functions of the job, with reasonable accommodation, that person cannot be discriminated against on the basis of the disability

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA):

  • Applies only to employers who, for 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year, have employed 20 or more employees
  • Applies only to employees who are 40 years old or older
  • Prevents employers from giving preferential treatment to younger workers to the exclusion of older workers when it comes to hiring, pay, benefits such as health insurance, job assignments and promotions
  • Does not prevent an employer from favoring older employees over younger employees

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA):

  • Applies to businesses that gross $500,000 or more per year and to other specific types of businesses
  • Provides that qualified employees who work more than 40 hours in a week should receive time-and-a-half pay for the overtime
  • Does not provide regulation as to the number and duration of breaks an employer must allow, but individual states may do so
  • Specifies minimum wage requirements

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA):

  • Applies only to employers who, for 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year, have employed 50 or more employees for each working day
  • Applies only to employees who have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and 1,250 hours in the year preceding the leave
  • Provides that employers must allow employees to take up to a 12-week unpaid leave of absence during any 12-month period for qualified family and medical reasons
  • Preserves qualified employees' positions for the duration of the leave
  • Employees generally cannot be punished or demoted for taking valid FMLA leave

Employee Rights in the Workplace

All employees have basic rights in the workplace. Those rights include privacy and freedom from illegal discrimination. In addition to federal law, each state has enacted laws to protect the rights of workers. A job applicant also has certain rights even prior to being hired as an employee. Those rights include the right to be free from discrimination based on age, gender, race, national origin or religion during the hiring process.

In most states, employees have a right to privacy in the workplace. This right to privacy can include one's personal possessions, including handbags or briefcases, and storage lockers accessible only by employees. Employees also have a right to privacy in their personal telephone conversations. Employees have very little privacy or right to privacy, however, in their messages on company email and their Internet usage on the employer's computer system.

There are certain pieces of information that an employer may not seek out concerning a potential applicant or an employee. An employer may not conduct a credit or background check of an employee or a prospective employee unless the employer notifies the employee or applicant in writing that it intends to do so and receives authorization to do so.

In addition, most private employers may not require an employee or a prospective employee to submit to a polygraph (lie-detector test). There are very narrow exceptions to this rule if the employee is suspected of being involved in an incident that caused economic loss or injury to the employer or if the employee is being considered to drive an armored car, work for a security company, work with controlled substances or work in national security.

Speak to an Employment Law Attorney

Employees have a variety of rights in the workplace, through both federal and state law. Employers, however, also have rights and protections under the law. It is important for both employers and employees to be aware of their legal rights and the duties they owe to each other. If you are an employee and you feel your rights have been violated by your employer, get in touch with an employment law lawyer at Hantzes & Associates in McLean, VA, to ensure that your rights are protected.

Devoted To Finding Solutions That Provide You Value

When you face an employment law issue, contact Hantzes & Associates for solutions that work. We are skilled litigators, negotiators and mediators, and we apply powerful techniques that work to each claim we handle.

Call us today at 703-378-5000 to schedule a free telephone consultation with one of our skilled lawyers. You may also contact us online.