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Detroit Employment Law Blog

Do at-will employees have any job protections?

If you are one of the many Detroit area workers who are not protected by a union, you more than likely are an at-will employee. You may not even realize you are an at-will employee though. Only employees who have signed a specific employment contract (often upper management or union members) are not at-will employees. This means that as an at-will employee, your employment can be terminated at any time, for nearly any reason.

There are many benefits of having an employment contract

While most employers understand the benefits of providing new hires with an employment contract, this doesn't necessarily hold true across the board. There will always be companies that want to skip this step for one reason or the next (all of which benefit them).

    Hair-based discrimination may be taking its final bow

    Buzz cuts, crew cuts, dreadlocks and big styles. People put a lot of effort into their hair, and many believe that a lot of their identity sits atop their head. A lot of people also include religious regulations or spiritual meaning in their hair. So, why are some businesses still trying to regulate hair as part of working conditions?

    That era may be coming to an end with new laws that prevent workplace discrimination based on hair texture, type or style. New Jersey became the third state to institute an outright ban on this type of discrimination after a high school wrestler was required to remove his dreadlocks before participating in a match.

    Michigan workplace discrimination lawsuit involves brewery

    Gender equality has come a long way in American workplaces in the last few decades, but some people still feel like their voices are not being heard. There are still many incidents of inequities in pay, treatment and access to opportunities for advancement reported each year.

    Michigan and the federal government also both insist on an absence of prejudice against lesbian, gay, transgender and other people with nonbinary identities. A former worker in a brewery in Michigan is suing his previous employer after his dismissal. He claims he was illegally asked to change his appearance at work, as well as requested to hide the nature of his relationship with his homosexual partner.

    What happens if your employer breaches your employment contract?

    As a new employee, you sign a contract with the idea that it will protect both parties while providing important information regarding your employment.

    Even if you do your part in living up to the terms and conditions of the employment contract, it doesn't mean that your employer will do the same. It's possible they could breach the contract in some way, which puts you in a compromising position.

    Do you have to file a workplace discrimination claim in person?

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that governs the fair treatment of employees and those looking for employment. It is also usually the organization that handles workplace discrimination claims.

    With 53 field offices spread across the entire United States, the EEOC is probably only a short distance away from you. There is even a field office here in Detroit to help you find answers about your rights.

    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.
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