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Detroit Employment Law Blog

Pay close attention to these employment contract provisions

Upon receiving an employment contract, you'll turn your immediate attention to details such as compensation, benefits and paid time off.

While all of these details are important, it's critical to pay close attention to the many provisions that could impact you in the future. Here are three that deserve your full attention:

  • Confidentiality agreement: This part of the contract states that you are not permitted to share any information about the employer's business, such as how it collects data, its processes or any trade secrets. In most cases, a confidentiality agreement remains in effect even after you leave the company.
  • Non-competition agreement: In the non-competition clause, you agree that you will not work for a competing company while employed or for a predetermined period after your employment ends.
  • Exclusive employment: Some contracts state that you are not allowed to hold another job while working for the company. Others only note that you are not permitted to work for anyone in the same or a similar industry.

What are the pros and cons of executive arbitration clauses?

Executive employment contracts can be simple single-page documents or complex agreements with many different clauses. As executives in Michigan and other states become savvy about the agreements they sign, clauses designed to protect all parties are becoming commonplace.

Arbitration clauses, for example, appear more frequently in employment contracts than ever before, but are these clauses as good for the employee as they are for the employer? The best way to answer such a question is to have a legal professional look over the document before signing.

What are the basic rights of American workers?

The United States needs a solid and dependable workforce to continue thriving. Ideally, this workforce should not suffer from workplace discrimination or harassment. Most people are willing to work hard in exchange for fair payment and proper treatment. On the unfortunate side of this issue, there are far too many people that undermine the American workforce by mistreating employees or co-workers.

It is safe to say that most employees in the Detroit area have a vague idea about the rights of the American workforce. However, sometimes, it is easy to forget about your rights, especially when you need your job to survive. The good news is that there are ways to protect yourself if you decide to take action against someone who is discriminating against you. It all starts with your rights as a worker. In Michigan and all other states, workers have the right to:

  • A working environment free of discrimination and harassment
  • Confidentiality, in all matters such as medical or genetic information, to name just two
  • Receive a fair wage in exchange for the good work you provide
  • Reasonable accommodations in the workplace for religious reasons or a medical condition
  • Report workplace discrimination or harassment without fear of retaliation by co-workers or superiors

Should you ask for an employment contract?

Depending on the company and position, your new employer may not require you to sign a contract. While this sounds like a good thing, as you don't have to deal with additional paperwork, you'll want to think twice before agreeing.

An employment contract goes a long way in protecting you as an employee. Here's how:

  • Outlines the terms and conditions of your employment: For example, if you are illegally terminated in the future, your employment contract can help when taking legal action against your former employer.
  • Compensation details: There's nothing worse than taking a job with the idea that you'll earn a specific amount of money, just to find that this isn't the case. With an employment contract in place, your employer won't be able to alter your compensation without consent at a later date.
  • Overview of benefits: A comprehensive employment contract provides an overview of the benefits you'll receive. This can include health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, access to a retirement plan, paid time off and sick days.

What to do and not to do if you want to blow the whistle

Corporate fraud, employer misconduct and unethical business activities are three situations that can lead to whistleblower claims. As a responsible resident of Michigan, you may decide to call out these or other types of wrongdoing. Once you decide to take this undeniably massive step, you will want to do all you can to help the authorities prove your claims.

As attorneys who help to protect whistleblowers, we also want to help you prove your claims. Of course, we can best accomplish this goal by serving as your legal counsel. However, we cannot in good conscience, limit our knowledge only to our clientele. Even if you choose to go it alone or choose a different lawyer, we still want to help you take a stand against wrongdoing.

A look at the most recent workplace discrimination statistics

Many victims of workplace discrimination in the Detroit region believe that they will never find a satisfactory solution. If you are one of these victims and have run out of hope, information released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) may rekindle your faith in the system.

The EEOC released a report earlier this year filled with workplace discrimination statistics for the fiscal year 2018. The report shows that the EEOC found a resolution for more 91,000 charges of occupational discrimination. Below you will find several more notable statistics from the report involving Michigan victims.

  • There were 2,473 workplace discrimination charges in 2018
  • Overall, victims of discrimination won financial damages totaling over $505 million
  • The number of retaliation charges stands at 39,469
  • The number of sex discrimination charges reached almost 25,000
  • Discrimination charges centered on religion totaled 2,859
  • The number of age discrimination charges stands at 16,911
  • The EEOC helped victims of sexual harassment acquire a total of $56.6 million
  • Race-related workplace discrimination charges totaled 24,600

Don't do these things if you want to be a whistleblower

Most whistleblowers stumble across signs of fraud or wrongdoing totally by accident. In the majority of cases, these people are reluctant to blow the whistle because they fear retaliation from the parties responsible for misconduct. It usually takes a potential whistleblower some time to decide to speak out.

This cautious approach is the right way to proceed when blowing the whistle. Careful consideration combined with authoritative legal guidance are essential to prepare for the process of becoming a whistleblower. You can find a lot of information about what to do after deciding to move forward. However, you should also understand what not to do as a whistleblower.

How Michigan law protects whistleblowers

When companies break the law, disclosure of wrongdoing often falls on the shoulders of employees.

These people are called whistleblowers, and many of them put their careers at risk when they bring illegal activity to light. There are laws, however, that protect employees from retaliation.

What are the signs of gender discrimination in the workplace?

Gender discrimination in the workplace is the unfair treatment of an individual because of their gender. Both male and female employees can face gender discrimination. A study found that 42% of women and 22% of men reported experiencing workplace gender discrimination.

Gender, age, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation are all protected classes. An employer is not allowed to discriminate against an employee based on gender or any other protected class. The signs of workplace discrimination may be obvious, or they may be subtle.

Benefits to negotiate into your employment contract

There's nothing more satisfying than receiving an offer of employment. You put a lot of work into the job-search process, so you should be proud of yourself.

Before you sign an employment contract, read through it several times. While doing so, make note of any details you'd like to negotiate into the contract.

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