Important information regarding COVID-19 | Información importante sobre el Coronavirus
Q: What does “at-will employment” mean?

A: At-will employment means that your employer has hired you on an at-will basis. That means that your employer can terminate you at any time, for any reason, with or without notice. The only exception is if the reason you were terminated was in violation of labor laws or your legal rights.

Q: How do I know if my termination was wrongful?

A: Just because you are an at-will employee does not mean that your employer is free to violate your legal rights. A wrongful termination is one that is based on discrimination, such as your employer firing you because of your race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, medical condition, or pregnancy. Wrongful termination can also be related to an employer breaching an employment contract.

Q: What is a protected status or characteristic?

A: Employment law considers protected status or characteristics to be certain traits, including age, race, gender (including reassignment), color, national origin, religion, disability, citizenship status, sexual orientation, and pregnancy. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate based on any of these factors.

Q: I worked 50 hours this week, but my employer only paid me for 40. Should I be paid overtime?

A: Yes. Federal law mandates that employees who work more than 40 hours in a single week are entitled to time-and-a-half for every hour above 40.

Q: What are some examples of discrimination in the workplace?

A: There are many forms and presentations of discrimination in the workplace. A few common examples include:

  • Being fired on the basis of age, gender, race, or other status
  • Being overlooked for a promotion due to gender
  • Being treated unfairly because of your beliefs or sexual orientation
Q: My supervisor constantly makes inappropriate jokes about a coworker, is this sexual harassment?

A: Sexual harassment includes any unwanted or unwelcome comments that are sexual in nature. If these comments make you and your co-workers uncomfortable, then it may very well be a case of sexual harassment.

Q: I just found out that I am pregnant, and I am scared that my job will be affected. What should I do?

A: Your employer cannot treat you differently, demote, or fire you based on your announcing that you are pregnant. This is illegal. Further, if your pregnancy causes certain medical conditions or accommodations, your employer must provide reasonable accommodations, such as leave, light duty, or alternative assignments. You cannot be discriminated against or harassed due to pregnancy or related medical conditions.

Q: What is the difference between an employee and an independent contractor?

A: The primary difference between these two classifications is the relationship between you and your employer. Employees have an established employer-employee relationship that includes policies and supervision. Independent contractors work for themselves with more freedom. As an employee, you will be paid a regular wage, and your employer will withhold payroll and other taxes. As an independent contractor, you will be paid based on an agreed wage, but you are responsible for paying taxes when you file your return.

Q: Are there laws against paying men and women different wages?

A: Yes. The Equal Pay Act requires employers to pay men and women equal wages for “substantially equal” positions. That means that the workload and required qualifications are equal. The Equal Pay Act includes all pay, including wages, overtime, bonuses, stock options, insurance, travel pay, and holiday or vacation pay.

Q: Who is covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)?

A: The ADA, and the amended Rehabilitation Act, prohibits employers from discriminating against any individual with a disability or a history of a disability. This includes individuals who have physical or mental disabilities, or who have a history of a substantial impairment (such as cancer that is in remission).

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