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Detroit Employment Law Blog

Is your employer breaking the law?

Workers in the United States are trained to understand that the employer is in charge, and they need to follow directions at all times. In certain situations, this is fine. However, this mindset does sometimes cause workers to think they have to ignore unethical or even illegal behavior because they are not in charge.

This is not the case. You can report illegal behavior, and you have legal protections in place if you become a whistleblower. It is very important to understand all of your rights and how these whistleblower protections work.

I'm an at-will employee: Was I wrongfully terminated?

If you suspect that you have a viable claim for wrongful termination, don't be fooled by an employer who tries to say that you don't have a case because you were an "at-will" employee. At-will employment is a term used to describe an employment relationship in which the employer can choose to terminate the employment relationship without notice and without reason.

In fact, all employment relations are automatically presumed to be at-will relationships unless the employer and employee entered into an employment contract that says something different. Nevertheless, one of the exemptions to "at-will" employment is wrongful termination. In other words, if your employer fires you for an unlawful reason, then the at-will employment relationship doesn't apply.

What constitutes pregnancy discrimination?

There was a time in the past when pregnancy meant the end of a working woman's career. A pregnant woman could not work in the eyes of most employers. Therefore, before pregnancy discrimination laws existed, many women found themselves not being hired, being terminated from their jobs or facing other negative employment consequences as soon as they became pregnant. This was devastating for them because it would often happen at exactly the moment when they needed their jobs the most.

Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, employers cannot discriminate against pregnant women when:

  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Determining pay
  • Giving job assignments
  • Offering promotions
  • Training
  • Laying off
  • Awarding fringe benefits

5 mistakes you're making with your employment contract

Years and years of study and work go into building a successful career. But how much time will you put into studying your employment contract?

Unfortunately, if you don't know what's in the "fine print," then your compensation, job satisfaction and job security could be jeopardized.

When federal employees 'blow the whistle'

No federal employee should have to keep his or her mouth shut after viewing unlawful behavior at work. In fact, the federal Whistleblower Protection Act was created for the express purpose of protecting government workers who witnessed immoral, wrongful or illegal conduct at their jobs -- so that they can report it to authorities without fear of consequences.

Congress passed the act in 1989 to "strengthen and improve protection for the rights of federal employees, to prevent reprisals, and to help eliminate wrongdoing within the government." The act gives the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) the power to represent and protect whistleblowers. If you've witnessed wrongdoing, you can go directly to the OSC to report the following misconduct:

  • Any legal violations relating to laws, rules or regulations.
  • Any types of gross mismanagement.
  • The wasting of government funds and resources.
  • Abuses of authority by government employees and officials.
  • The endangerment of public safety and health.

Advice for negotiating a severance package

When a professional- or executive-level employee is going to get laid off at work, the employee will often receive a severance package from his or her employer. Perhaps, for example, the employee will receive a year's worth of pay and a year of insurance benefits in exchange for the untimely loss of his or her job. Such severance packages can involve a lot of money, and they can be very helpful for an employee's financial security, so it's wise to take care when negotiating such an agreement with an employer.

Here are several things employees should consider when negotiating a severance package:

Fired Mercedez Benz employee receives $5 million award

A former Mercedes-Benz dealership worker has received a $5 million award in his disability discrimination lawsuit. A federal judge issued the award on a recent Thursday. According to the man's attorneys, it was one of the largest disability awards in recent history.

According to the lawsuit, the man had been an employee with Mercedes-Benz in Washington state for 14 years. However, in late 2014, he needed to have a laryngectomy due to cancer. By early 2015, he was ready to return to work as a finance director at the Mercedes-Benz dealership, and he had doctor approval to do so.

What disabled workers should know about accommodations

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to provide "reasonable" accommodations to workers with disabilities. When it comes to what kinds of accommodations employers must provide in this regard, the most important word in this context is "reasonable." In other words, the disabled employee's accommodations should not result in the over "un-accommodation" of the employer.

Here are a few key pieces of advice to assist disabled workers to receive the reasonable accommodations to which they have a legal right:

What is an employment contract and compensation agreement?

An "employment contract and compensation agreement" establishes the terms of an employment relationship between the worker and employer. Although such a contract is not required for all employees of a particular business, an employment contract and compensation agreement is often used when establishing the terms associated with hiring someone into an executive-level position.

Here are some of the features associated with a typical employment contract and compensation agreement:

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