With companies involving potentially thousands of individuals and a huge amount of documentation, countless legal issues can arise at the workplace. Whether you’re an employee or corporate executive, it is therefore important to be aware of what potential legal problems you can encounter, so you can handle them effectively. Here are 4 of the most common legal issues that occur in the workplace.
In the United States, it is a statutory crime to discriminate against people in the workplace based on race, gender, pregnancy, religion, nationality, gender, age, or disability. In practice, discrimination can take many forms, such as bullying, unequal pay, and more general unfair treatment. Because of its illegality, it is therefore highly important that you report any cases of discrimination you experience or observe. As HKM lawyers note, employers may also be liable if they turn a blind eye to any cases of discrimination they are made aware of.
The one exception to this is where people of a certain category are the only ones suitable to perform a job. For example, only having models of a certain age wear children’s clothing for advertisements would not count as workplace discrimination.
Violations of federal and state wage laws are some of the most common legal issues that arise in the workplace. Two of the most well-known examples of these are disputes related to the minimum wage and disputes over overtime pay.
In the United States, there is a national minimum wage, while other states may also have in place higher minimum wages. Companies often then have been found to be guilty of paying their employees less than either of these wages. Similarly, companies cannot functionally pay their employees less than the minimum wage by forcing workers to pay for costs such as uniforms and spillages.
Elsewhere, certain jurisdictions have minimum thresholds for how much employees can be paid for overtime in relation to their base wage. In California, for example, companies are legally mandated to pay workers 1.5x their hourly rate for hours over eight worked in a day or hours worked over 40 in a week.
Companies have a duty of care to provide safe working conditions to their employees. As a result, workplace accidents that occur as a result of an employers’ failure to do this are one of the most common legal issues companies deal with. Generally, companies can be liable for workplace accidents if they do not provide sufficient warnings over hazardous conditions.
With the relatively recent growth of social media, many people may not realize the legal ramifications of posting on social media in their careers. As an employee of a company, you are considered to be an official representative of that organization. You can therefore be legally liable if you disparage the company over social media. Similarly, you must also be careful not to disclose any confidential information over social media, as this can result in serious legal ramifications.