Labor and Employment Law Attorneys in Rochester, NY
Skilled New York Lawyers Handle Labor and Employment Law Cases in Rochester, Buffalo, and across Upstate NY
For a majority of you, your employment helps secure food on your table, shelter for your family, and hopefully an ability to someday retire with a sense of security. Most Americans spend more than 50% of their awake hours, Monday through Friday, either at work or doing work related activities. At the LaDuca Law Firm we understand that if you are going to spend so much of your time dedicated to your employer, then you deserve a safe and secure work environment. Both New York State and the Federal Government have passed important laws that you get to enforce to make sure that happens.
The number one issue, however, in any labor or employment dispute is timing. It is important that you are proactive in documenting workplace misconduct and knowing/asserting your rights under the various State and Federal laws sooner rather than later. If you think you have been or are currently being treated unlawfully at work, it is important that you reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at the LaDuca Law Firm have a proven track record of putting our clients first in handling their labor and employment law related matters. LaDuca Law Firm is able to assist you in any area of labor and employment law, including:
Discrimination in the workplace occurs when an employer unlawfully considers a specific factor (such as your race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, or family/military status) in making any employment decision (such as refusing to hire, firing, refusing to promote, or reducing compensation/hours). As an employee, you deserve to be evaluated solely on the basis of your work. For this reason, both New York State and the Federal Government have passed a number of laws regulating an employer’s consideration of such factors.
In order to make sure the laws regulating employment are upheld, most of them include an anti-retaliation provision. These anti-retaliation provisions mean that it is unlawful for your employer to take retaliatory action because you asserted your rights under the law. These anti-retaliation provisions also prohibit your employer from taking action against you because you assisted a co-worker in asserting their rights under the law (such as reporting workplace misconduct, providing affidavits or other testimony in any equal employment opportunity investigation or proceeding, etc.), whether you meant to or not. In addition, there are laws unrelated to anti-discrimination, that contain anti-retaliation provisions (also known as “whistleblower laws”). For example, New York State Labor Law § 740 generally prohibits your employer from retaliating against you if you report or threaten to report your employer’s unlawful activity. Again, as an employee you deserve to be evaluated for your work only and in order to uphold employment related laws it is important that your workplace is free from retaliation.
New York is an “employment at-will” State (meaning you can be fired at anytime, for any reason) however, in certain situations an employer’s decision to terminate you may be unlawful (for example, if your termination is based upon a prohibited factor such as your race, gender, religion, etc.). If your employer has or is attempting to fire you for an unlawful reason, it is important that you understand your rights and how to protect them going forward.
Under both New York State and Federal law sexual harassment is considered a form of gender discrimination. Sexual harassment includes not only sexual propositions for employment/job benefits (“Quid Pro Quo” Sexual Harassment) but also any “unwelcomed” sexual advances or verbal and/or physical harassment based on your gender. This includes any action taken (refusing to hire, firing, failing to promote, etc.) based on “sexual or gender stereotypes.”
Hostile Work Environment
New York State and Federal laws not only protect employees who experience single acts of discrimination, such as refusing to hire or firing, but they also protect employees who are subject to “pervasive” comments or actions based on their race, color, gender, or other impermissible factor (known as a “hostile work environment” claim). If you think you have been forced to work in a hostile environment it is important that you understand your rights and how to enforce them going forward.
Although New York is an “at-will” State, you may have an employment contract or employee handbook that creates a “just cause” provision (meaning you can only be fired for poor work performance) or guarantees other certain working conditions and/or benefits. It is important to understand what you are guaranteed under such a contract and how to enforce your rights should the time come.
Wage & Hour Violations
Under both New York State and Federal law, employees, with certain exceptions, must be paid a minimum wage (in New York as of December 31, 2015, $9.00/hr) and a premium rate for “overtime” hours worked. Additionally, New York State has certain laws regarding meal breaks and rest periods for employees. Your employer may attempt to classify you as an “independent contractor” to avoid these requirements. It is important to know if you are an employee covered by these wage and hour laws and how to enforce your rights in the event your employer violates them.
Employer sponsored benefit plans (401(k)’s, traditional pension plans, healthcare plans, etc.) are regulated by several Federal laws, including the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Under these laws, employers, plan administrators, and other fiduciaries have a number of responsibilities (such as disclosing plan information, protecting and diversifying plan assets, minimum funding, refraining from engaging in “prohibited transactions,” processing benefit claims, etc.). If you feel that your employer sponsored benefits are in question or your claim under an employer sponsored plan has been denied, it is important that you understand your rights and how to protect them going forward.
As an employee, with a few exceptions, both New York State and the Federal Government have passed laws guaranteeing you the right to form a union and collectively bargain with your employer. These laws also safe-guard your rights to engage in “protected activity” with respect to collective action in the workplace (such as petitioning for union elections, discussing wages and other conditions of employment with your co-workers, enforcing your rights under an existing Collective Bargaining Agreement, etc.). The existence of Unions and your rights as an employee to collectively act with co-workers have, and continue to, play a crucial role in ensuring workplace fairness and stability. If you are an employee and think you have been treated unlawfully based on your “protected activity” or are considering collective action in the workplace, it is important that you understand your rights and how to protect and assert them going forward. If you are a Union in need of assistance in any aspect of labor relations (such as collective bargaining, grievance arbitration, mediation, plan administration, NLRB or PERB representation, etc.) contact us today to discuss how we can assist you and your members.
Contact a Successful Rochester NY Labor and Employment Law Attorney Today
Due to the amount of time you spend at work and what is at stake, it is understandable that you may be upset, confused, and discouraged when you experience unfair and unlawful treatment in the workplace. However, you are not alone in this fight.
When you chose the LaDuca Law Firm to assist you in your Labor or Employment related matter, we will commit ourselves to not only making sure that your rights are protected under the law but that you feel safe and secure in the workplace once again.
Contact us today to discuss your Labor or Employment related matter.