Understand your employee rights

On both Saturday and Sunday of this weekend, I overheard conversations of people discussing problems at work and the legal solutions.

In the first case, following religious services, I heard some congregants asking a personal injury lawyer about employee rights. In that situation, an individual got hurt at work and filed a worker’s comp claim. Now, he fears he is going to get fired. Many such employees, however, could be protected by the ADA, prohibiting discrimination against disabled employees. Also, some states make it illegal to discriminate against an employee for filing a worker’s comp claim. And, lastly, the Family Medical Leave act may provide some protection.

In the other case, I overheard workers at a clothing store talking about unfair treatment by the employer and what they could do about it. Unfortunately, unless there is a union contract or other contract, employees generally don’t have many rights other than to not be discriminated against based on their age, race, sex, national origin, religion or medical condition. If they feel they are being treated poorly for one of these reasons, then they could have a legal claim.

In conclusion, in these recessionary times, it is important for workers to understand what rights they do, and do not, have.


Bruce Coane is a leading lawyer with 30 years of experience in the field of immigration law and employment law. He may be reached via email at houstonlaw@aol.com or his website at Coane and Associates.