Since employment law and workers’ compensation law both relate to people and their workplace it is common, however incorrect, for the two to be used interchangeably in conversation. Here are the key distinctions between these important areas of the law.
Employment Law is:
ADA Violations - The Americans with Disability Act, ADA, prohibits discrimination in the work place based on disability. Employers anywhere in the country, including Washington State, with 15 or more employees must provide individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from the full range of employment opportunities available to others.
Discrimination - Employers cannot treat employees differently due to race, color, religion, sex, age, disabilities, genetic information or national origin.
Employment Contract Disputes - These kinds of disputes involve issues arising from formal employment contracts. These issues typically include non-compete clauses, wages, bonuses, benefits, duration of employment, ownership of intellectual property, and confidentiality.
Workplace Retaliation Lawyer - Employers with over 15 employees must follow the FMLA which entitles individuals to 12 weeks of unpaid leave if the employee is unable to perform his or her job due to a serious medical condition; needs to care for a sick family member (including spouse, child, or parent); or to care for a new family member (by birth or adoption). Following the leave, the employee should be returned to the same or equivalent position.
Harassment - This includes any behavior intended to disturb or upset an employee at the work place. This can also include threatening disturbing behavior and unwanted sexual advances.
OSHA - Occupational Safety and Health Administration violations are federal safety violations when an employer knowingly neglects to protect federal employees, military base employees, longshore and offshore employees. (A recent example is the death of the SeaWorld Trainer by the Orca whale. OSHA fined SeaWorld approximately $75,000 in safety violations.)
WISHA - Washington Industries Safety and Health Act protects all workers in the State of Washington. Violations of the act are handled through L&I (Labor & Industries).
Retaliation - This occurs when an employer seeks revenge upon an employee for something the employee feels is legally right. In order to fall under retaliation the following must be present: (1) employee was involved in a protected activity (2) the employee performed the job according to the employer’s expectations (3) the employee suffered a materially adverse employment action (4) the employee was treated less favorably than similarly situated employees.
Wage and Hour Disputes - These disputes include unpaid time, illegal distribution of tips and failure to pay during breaks. Issues involving misclassification of employees and independent contractors also falls within this employment category.
Wrongful Termination - Being fired from your job illegally!