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Detroit Employment Law Blog

A qualified lawyer can answer all of your whistleblower questions

As you know, many of our cities and townships here in Michigan have been fraught with allegations of wrongdoing. Some of these cases have reached their conclusions while others are still ongoing. These stories bring up a lot of questions for Detroit residents, especially those who are considering blowing the whistle on corruption.

Our attorneys believe strongly that asking questions is a wonderful way to find the answers you need. However, it is critical to ask these questions to the right individual to receive accurate replies. Singling out government personnel for a lengthy Q&A session sounds great for would-be whistleblowers, but is difficult to execute. Our government officials are busy, to put it mildly. So, where else can you find the answers you seek?

Questions to answer when reviewing an employee contract

You're so excited to receive a job offer that you throw your employee contract to the side and begin to celebrate. While it's okay to be happy for yourself, don't do anything else until you review your contract.

Here are some questions to answer as you review your employee contract:

  • Does it match what you discussed when interviewing and negotiating the terms of your employment? You thought you agreed to terms with the company, just to find that your employee contract contradicts your verbal agreement. You'll want to clear this up before putting pen to paper.
  • What does it say about compensation? You'll naturally turn your attention to the compensation portion of your contract, as you want to ensure that it matches what you agreed upon. In addition to the salary or hourly rate, make note of other forms of compensation, such as bonuses, commission payments and stock options.
  • Is there a noncompete? Some employee contracts state that you can't work for a company in the same industry for a predetermined period of time following your termination or submitting your notice. This may not be something you're comfortable with, so you have the opportunity to negotiate it out.
  • Will you receive severance pay if you're terminated? It may not be a deal breaker, but it's important to know if your termination will result in severance pay. And if so, how it's calculated and paid.

Whistleblower programs that all Americans should know about

Those who are considering blowing the whistle on criminal or unethical activities in the Detroit region worry quite a bit about the possibility of retaliation. This concern is not just natural; it is completely understandable. After all, most whistleblowers have families that they want to protect from the fallout of blowing the whistle. Examples of whistleblower retaliation include:

Most people know that federal programs exist to protect whistleblowers from retaliation, but many do not understand how deep these protections run. Regardless of the industry in which you work, an act or program likely already exists to make certain that you and your family remain safe from retaliation.

Many male employees suffer from workplace discrimination

It is a well-known fact that American women have struggled against workplace discrimination for countless decades. It's probably impossible to identify the first female worker who spoke out against such discrimination. Workplace discrimination against women is still very much a problem here in Michigan and across the country, but male workers also experience discrimination.

Male workplace discrimination looks much like it does for women workers. For example, men working in women-dominated industries may receive less pay than their female counterparts do.

Retirement plans and your employment contract

When you receive an offer of employment, it's natural to turn most of your attention to the here and now. You'll focus on how much money you're earning, the potential for bonuses and the number of vacation days you receive.

While these are all important details, you must also look down the line. For example, your employment contract should include information on any retirement benefits that are made available to you.

Time limits exist for filing whistleblower retaliation complaints

Those who decide to become whistleblowers in Michigan are brave people who deserve all of the protections the law provides. After all, it is not easy to call out corruption as it may take a toll on the whistleblower and his or her family. To make an already difficult situation even worse, these courageous individuals must often face retaliation for their efforts to expose wrongdoing.

Federal and state laws strive to protect whistleblowers from adverse actions. One way to help put an end to such retaliation involves filing a complaint. For example, it is illegal for your employer to fire you because you blew the whistle on company misconduct. If you do lose your job and you believe it is because of blowing the whistle, you can file a complaint against the employer.

Workplace discrimination: What constitutes wrongful termination?

The nation's at-will employment laws means that you can lose your job for any reason or no reason at all. For example, perhaps your employer is bleeding profits and is looking to downsize. The at-will law means that you could be fired or laid off even if you have done nothing wrong at work. This same law empowers Detroit workers to leave a job voluntarily for any reason or no reason at all.

Despite the law, there are some occasions when your firing is an example of workplace discrimination and is therefore prohibited. What this cryptic phrase means is that employers may sometimes wrongfully terminate their workers. If you can prove that a wrongful termination occurred, you may have sufficient reason to pursue a workplace discrimination lawsuit.

Employment contracts and an ownership of inventions provision

Depending on your profession, you may tinker with a variety of ideas. In fact, you may even have the responsibility of creating new products for your company.

With this in mind, it's not out of the question for your employment contract to include an ownership of inventions provision. However, before you sign a contract with this provision, you should better understand what it entails and how it affects your legal rights

Learn how our pre-termination counseling helps whistleblowers

Have you ever had a job in which you experienced a feeling that you were about to get fired? Perhaps you tried to ignore it and continue performing your duties. A few days or weeks later, sure enough, your boss calls you in and tells you that he or she no longer requires your services.

Now, imagine experiencing that feeling of doom after you have become a whistleblower and called out wrongdoing on the part of your employer. In these situations, your instincts might be accurate. As you might expect, termination is one of the most common retaliatory methods in which those accused of wrongdoing engage.

Detroit taproom closes down amid workplace discrimination scandal

If you follow the news at all, you are probably aware of the workplace discrimination scandal involving the Founders Brewing Company's Detroit taproom. One of its former employees has accused the company of workplace discrimination based on race.

In 2018, the former worker filed a discrimination claim alleging that co-workers engaged in racial slurs while in his presence. He also claims that his managers overlooked him for promotion because of his race. Allegedly, the brewing company promoted two white workers instead even though the black employee had worked there for a longer period.

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