Employment Law

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

In order to preserve his/her right to bring a claim in court for any of the above violations (Title VII, PDA, ADEA, ADA), an employee must first file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 300 days in Michigan or 180 days for states that do not have a state civil rights department. If an employee fails to file a charge within that time period, the employee loses the right to file a federal claim for those actions under the EEOC’s jurisdiction. A charge of discrimination can be filed with the Detroit EEOC office located at: http://www.eeoc.gov/field/detroit/

Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN)

WARN offers protection to workers, their families and communities by requiring employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs. This notice must be provided to either affected workers or their representatives (e.g., a labor union); to the State dislocated worker unit; and to the appropriate unit of local government.

Uniformed Services Employment Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)

Protects service members’ reemployment rights when returning from a period of service in the uniformed services, including those called up from the reserves or National Guard, and prohibits employer discrimination based on military service or obligation

False Claims Act (FCA)

The False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 – 3733 was enacted in 1863 by a Congress concerned that suppliers of goods to the Union Army during the Civil War were defrauding the Army. The FCA provided that any person who knowingly submitted false claims to the government was liable for double the government’s damages plus a penalty of $2,000 for each false claim. Since then, the FCA has been amended several times. In 1986, there were significant changes to the FCA, including increasing damages from double damages to treble damages and raising the penalties from $2,000 to a range of $5,000 to $10,000. The FCA has been amended three times since 1986.
Any employee, contractor, or agent shall be entitled to all relief necessary to make that employee, contractor, or agent whole, if that employee, contractor, or agent is discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed, or in any other manner discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment because of lawful acts done by the employee, contractor, or agent on behalf of the employee, contractor, or agent or associated others in furtherance of other efforts to stop 1 or more violations of the FCA.

It’s important to know your rights whether you are an employee or employer. Michigan is an at-will employment state. What that means is that an employee can be discharged at any time, with or without cause, and without notice. In other words, an employer doesn’t have to have a reason to terminate an employee. It also means that an employee who is unhappy with his or her employment can leave the employment, with or without a reason and does not have to provide notice. Contrary to what a lot of people believe, employees are not required to give 2 weeks, if he or she is an at-will employee. However, an employee may have incentive to give notice because an employer policy may provide for pay out of vacation time not used if notice is provided.

At-will employment doesn’t mean that an employer can terminate an employee for illegal reasons. At-will employees cannot be discharged for protected reasons like, race, age, gender, disability, religion, or national origin. At-will employees also have the right not to be subject to retaliation for making legitimate complaints regarding discrimination or other illegal activities. So, even though at-will employees can discharged for any reason, employees can still not be discharged for the wrong reasons.

Federal and state laws protect employees for being terminated or otherwise discriminated against in his or her employment. Some Federal law include, but are not limited to, the following:

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
Prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion,

Sexual Harassment
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions constitutes unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII.

Age Discrimination and Employment Act (ADEA)
To prohibit age discrimination in employment. Protects employees who are 40 years or older.

Older Workers’ Benefits Protection Act (OWBPA)
To amend the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 to clarify the protections given to older individuals in regard to employee benefit plans, and for other purposes.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) makes it unlawful to discriminate in employment against a qualified individual with a disability.

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