Our jobs are not as secure as they perhaps once were. In this day and age, more and more companies are choosing to focus on the bottom line, and sometimes, this can result in mistakes and outright ill treatment from employers that have obligations to treat us better. If you ever wind up in the position of having a grievance against a past or present employer, a South Carolina employment attorney is likely a good person to consult before moving forward. There are a myriad of different causes of action in which an employment lawyer can make a difference.
Age Discrimination. Federal law prohibits discrimination against workers over the age of 40, though some states (not South Carolina, but many others) extend protection to younger workers. It is important to understand that discrimination does not mean one instance of ill treatment, but rather a concrete pattern of harassment. The harasser does not have to be a superior; it can be a coworker or even an underling.
Pregnancy Discrimination. Unfortunately, disciplining or terminating pregnant women is not uncommon among employers, though it is against the law (pregnancy is treated as a temporary disability under federal law, which means that it is a protected status in most cases). If you experience a negative employment event due to pregnancy, you may have a claim against your employer under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which is a subheading of the South Carolina Human Affairs Law.
Express & Implied Employment Contracts. While most employers do not use written contracts of employment, South Carolina law does recognize implied contracts, and both types must be upheld if executed. If your employer breaches an express or implied contract for employment, you may be able to bring suit for wrongful termination, in addition to breach of contract.
Race & Religious Discrimination. As with age discrimination, to treat someone differently due to their race or religious belief is expressly prohibited, both under the federal Civil Rights Act (Title VII) and the South Carolina Human Affairs Law. There are exceptions regarding religion, namely that a person may not be granted leave to practice their religion if it creates an undue or unreasonable burden on the employer (for example, a call to prayer interrupting workday meetings), but otherwise, the burden is the same as for discrimination against any other immutable characteristic.
Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Issues. Covered employees are permitted to take temporary leave and return to their jobs afterward. Both federal law and South Carolina law permit this, but many employers are unaware or unwilling to allow the leave to be taken.
Disability Discrimination. Disabled Americans are included under Title VII and the South Carolina Human Affairs Law as a class of people against whom discrimination is prohibited. Both disabled applicants and employees are entitled to reasonable accommodations with which to perform their jobs; failure to provide this is discriminatory and may be actionable.
Sexual Harassment. As one might expect, sexual harassment is one of the most common complaints that results in legal action related to workplace problems. Any kind of implicitly or explicitly sexual conduct or speech may rise to the level of harassment.
Hostile Work Environment. Sometimes, hostility becomes actionable. If it rises to a level where you cannot do your job, you may consider yourself constructively terminated, which may be cause for compensation.
Contact An Experienced Attorney
In all these situations, an average person can feel very out of their depth. Enlisting the assistance of a dedicated employment law attorney can make the difference between obtaining satisfaction and being mistreated with no way to recover what is yours. Attorney A. Christopher Potts understands how complex these dilemmas can be, and will be happy to help you decide what path you should take. Contact his Charleston employment law firm at 843-577-5000 to set up an appointment.