Start here to browse through our library of employment law articles, books and other helpful resources. Use the topic categories below to find lots of helpful information on a variety of labor law issues.
Unemployment insurance is a joint program of the federal and state governments, intended to provide a safety net to those who are temporarily out of work. Federal law sets the general guidelines, while states determine the specifics, such as eligibility requirements, benefit amounts, and so on. This article explains how unemployment benefits work.
When you file a claim for unemployment compensation, your state's unemployment agency will review your claim, talk to your prior employer, and perhaps interview you to determine whether you are eligible for benefits. Once the agency's review is complete, it will either grant your claim or deny it. If your claim is granted, you should start receiving benefits within a couple of weeks.
Not everyone who is unemployed is eligible for unemployment benefits. To collect benefits, you must be temporarily out of work, through no fault of your own. If you don't meet your state's eligibility requirements, your claim for unemployment will be denied. Earnings and Work Requirements States measure
Most employees in the United States work at will, which means they can quit at any time for any reason, and they can be fired at any time, for any reason that's not illegal. Even at-will employees can't be fired for a discriminatory reason, for example, or because they reported dangerous working conditions
An employment contract is an agreement between the employer and the employee about the terms of employment. If you have an employment contract, and your employer breaks ("breaches," in legalese) it, you may be entitled to damages.
An employer may not fire an employee because she is pregnant. Pregnancy discrimination is prohibited by the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which amended Title VII to make clear that pregnancy discrimination is a form of illegal sex discrimination. What Is Pregnancy Discrimination? Under
If an employee has complained of harassment at your company, you may be feeling nervous about what to do. After all, harassment claims can lead to poor morale, workplace tension, and even lawsuits. But if you take the complaint seriously and conduct a thorough investigation, you can reduce the legal and practical risks.
Sexual harassment is a problem that, despite extensive public attention and legislation to counteract it, continues to be an issue in some workplaces. It can also affect employee morale and the general...
Most companies have employee handbooks, but are they necessary? There are definite advantages to having a handbook, such as promoting equal and consistent treatment of all employees. Once rules and procedures are written down, it makes training new employees a breeze. It can also help you maintain a
The purpose of job interviews is for employers to determine whether applicants have the skills, experience, and other qualifications for the job. Often, employers are trying to make more subtle determinations, as well: Does the applicant have a positive attitude? Will the applicant's presentation and demeanor inspire confidence in clients and customers?
When you start a new job, you will most likely be presented with a stack of papers to sign. Among the acknowledgment forms, benefits paperwork, and tax documents, you might find a noncompete agreement.
Some employers, eager to hire only honest employees who won't cheat the company, screen applicants by asking them to take honesty tests or personality tests. However, these tests can violate applicants' right to privacy -- and create the possibility of discrimination by the employer. As for lie detector or polygraph tests, the law prohibits most employers from using them.
With Facebook boasting 750 million users, and millions more using Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, and other social networking sites to post content, chances are good that many employees at any given company have a social media presence. You may consider your online posts to be personal -- put up for friends
Question: I complained to our HR department about my manager recently. He won't stop asking me out and making sexual comments about me to my coworkers, even though I've told him that I'm not interested and that he's making me really uncomfortable. The HR director said she would investigate. She said
Question: I am HIV positive. I informed my manager and the HR department when I was hired, because I need time off occasionally for doctor's appointments, and I sometimes feel very fatigued. The company determined that I have a disability and agreed that I can have some flexibility in my schedule to
Were you illegally fired from your job? Most employees in the United States work "at will," which means they can be fired at any time, for any reason that's not illegal. However, even at-will employees cannot be fired for illegal reasons (referred to as "wrongful termination"). This article explains some of the exceptions to the at-will rule.
Historically, a layoff was a temporary suspension from work. Workers might be laid off during the slow season of a cyclical business, for example, then be returned to work when business picked up again. These days, however, a layoff usually refers to a permanent termination of employment.
It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against whistleblowers or other employees who report various types of illegal activity. An employee who is fired, disciplined, or otherwise treated differently because the employee has complained about illegal activity may have the right to sue the employer
If you are expecting a new child, you likely have many things on your mind, from medical appointments to child care plans, decorating projects, finding the right stroller, car seat, and crib, and much more. For working moms (or moms-to-be), figuring out your pregnancy leave, parental leave, and return-to-work
Question: I work at a retail store as a cashier, and we’ve always had the major holidays off. This year, there’s been a change in company policy. My boss told us that the store will be open on Thanksgiving and Christmas and that all employees must be available to work on those days. I wanted to at
If your employer hasn't paid you overtime, has denied you the minimum wage, has required you to contribute too much to an employee tip pool, hasn't given you your final paycheck, or has otherwise violated the wage and hour laws, what can you do? Start by talking to your employer.
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the laws of many state and local governments set a minimum wage, intended to provide a floor for low-wage workers. Many state and local governments also have minimum wage laws -- and employees are entitled to the highest minimum wage that applies.