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Durham Employment Discrimination Lawyer | NC Sexual Harassment Lawyer | Wrongful Termination
 

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TK Law Group Blog


Landlords and Pitbulls, Part 3
Maryland court finds pit bulls are 'inherently dangerous' – nbcwashington.com



Landlords and Pitbulls, Part 2
Pit bull ruling outrages rescue groups, owners. – CBS News




TK Law Group News


Michael Kornbluth and J. Michael Genest will be speaking on December 10, 2013
Michael Kornbluth and J. Michael Genest will be speaking on December 10, 2013



Micahel Kornbluth elected to the Labor & Employment Section Council of the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA)
Michael Kornbluth, Managing Partner of Taibi Kornbluth Law Group, P.A., has been elected to the Labor & Employment ...
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Employment Law


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If you’ve been fired, suspended, discriminated against or harassed at your job, you should consider retaining an experienced employment attorney.

 
 
North Carolina Employment Lawyers
 
If you are employed in the State of North Carolina, you are most likely employed on an at-will basis.  At-will employment means that you can be fired for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all as long as it is not a prohibited reason.  If you’ve been fired, suspended, discriminated against or harassed at your job, you should consider retaining an experienced employment law attorney at Taibi Kornbluth Law Group.  We have successfully resolved numerous employment related disputes and are dedicated to helping employees who have suffered discrimination, harassment, or who have been wrongfully terminated from their jobs.
 
Our employment lawyers represent employees in all areas of employment disputes including:
 
  • Sexual harassment and other forms of harassment
  • Race, sex, age, national origin, and religious discrimination
  • Wage and hour claims
  • Wage theft
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Wrongful termination
  • Whistleblower cases
  • Employment, severance and separation agreements
  • Non-competition and non-solicitation agreements
 
Harassment and Race, Sex, National Origin, and Religious Discrimination
 
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of "race, color, religion, sex, or national origin."  Title VII only applies to employers that employ 15 or more people.
 
Sexual Harassment
 
Courts have interpreted this to cover not just discrimination based on your sex, but also harassment.  In general, the most familiar form of harassment is sexual harassment.  Sexual harassment consists of being subjected to unwelcome conduct that creates a hostile environment based on your sex.  This harassment must be proven to be sufficiently severe and pervasive enough to alter the terms and conditions of your employment.
 
Racial Discrimination
 
It is illegal under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. 1981, and other state statutes to discriminate in the terms or conditions of employment on the basis of a person's race or color.  Some basic terms and conditions of employment would include:
 
  • Position
  • Pay
  • Title
  • Hours
  • Vacation
 
Race is broadly defined as a person's ancestry or ethnic characteristics.  It is illegal to discriminate against anyone, if the basis of the discrimination is their race or color.
 
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
 
If you are harassed or discriminated against in your workplace, you should complain about the harassment or discrimination to your employer.  You also have the right to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  The EEOC is the federal agency which investigates all claims of employment discrimination.  You must take immediate action with the EEOC because in North Carolina, you only have 180 days from the last act of harassment to file your claim with the EEOC.  If this strict time limit elapses, you lose your Right to Sue under Federal Statutes.  The EEOC will review your matter, and in very rare cases the EEOC will litigate on your behalf.  A far more common outcome of an EEOC investigation is a determination and the issuance of a “Right to Sue” outlining your right to file a private lawsuit in federal court within 90 days from receipt of the letter.  Before you can go forward with a lawsuit under Title VII, you must have a “Right to Sue” letter in hand.
 
Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA)
 
Title VII does not cover age discrimination. Congress passed the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) to make age discrimination illegal.  The ADEA prohibits discrimination against individuals over the age of 40.  Like the other discrimination laws, if you are over 40, your employer may not discriminate against you on the basis of your age.  This act applies only to employers that employ more than 20 people.
 
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
 
Title VII does not cover disability discrimination.  In order to protect disabled workers, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  This Act makes disability discrimination illegal.  The ADA prohibits discrimination or harassment against “qualified individuals with a disability” in the terms and conditions of employment.
 
Overtime, Wage and Hour Claims - Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
 
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets forth certain minimum wage and overtime standards applicable to virtually all U.S. employers. 
 
Wage theft, or an employer’s underpayment or nonpayment of wages to workers who have earned those wages, is a growing problem. Recent studies and surveys confirm increasing rates of wage and hour violations—such as minimum-wage and overtime violations, the shorting of hours, and the refusal to pay workers at all—in low-wage industries across the country.
 
An example of a common area of wage theft is overtime.  The most important issue regarding overtime is whether or not you are classified as an exempt employee.  Employers do not have to pay exempt employees overtime.  In order to be an exempt employee, your employer must prove that you are paid on a salary basis in an amount not less than $455 per week and that your principal duties are executive, administrative, or professional in nature.  If you are considered non-exempt, your employer must pay you time and a half for every hour you work more than 40 in any work week.
 
 
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
 
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was passed by Congress to allow workers unpaid leave in certain circumstances.  Not all employees are covered by the FMLA.  There are several important eligibility requirements.  First, you must have been employed by your employer for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the year prior to the date of your leave.  Second, your employer must have at least 50 employees either at the facility where you work, or a total of 50 employees located anywhere within a 75 mile radius of your workplace.  The next requirement is that you must have a serious health condition to be eligible for FMLA leave.  Although this is a complex issue, typically this is either a condition that requires you to seek medical care and have an absence from work, a course of inpatient medical care, or a chronic condition that requires you to take time off from work for treatment.  FMLA also covers those family members that need to assist another with his/her health condition.
 
Wrongful Termination
 
There are many situations where an employer has the right to fire an employee, but when they do so for an improper or illegal reason, this constitutes grounds for a wrongful termination claim.  Some of the more common examples of wrongful termination include terminations based on race, sex, national origin status and age.  There are other reasons as well, including reporting improper actions to the authorities, commonly referred to as whistleblowing, and refusing to break the law.
 
Employment Agreements
 
If you have been presented with an employment agreement there may be a number of provisions in the agreement that are not favorable to you.  That is why you should have an experienced employment attorney review any employment agreement that is provided to you by your employer.  The employment lawyers at Taibi Kornbluth Law Group have years of experience in reviewing, and negotiating employment, executive compensation, and severance agreements.  If your employer asks you to sign an employment or executive compensation agreement, we can help you review the terms, and possibly negotiate a more favorable package for you.
 
Severance and Separation Agreements
 
At the end of your employment, you may be asked to sign a severance agreement.  Severance agreements are agreements in which your employer agrees to give you benefits, such as salary continuation, outplacement assistance, and a continuation of your health insurance in exchange for your agreement not to sue your employer for any claims arising out of your employment.  Severance agreements can be very complex, and if not carefully reviewed before you sign, you may have obligated yourself to a non-compete or non-solicitation clause, which could seriously impair your ability to take a new job.
 
Non-compete Agreements
 
In a non-compete agreement, an employee agrees not to compete against his/her company for a certain period of time after leaving the company.  Also, this agreement typically sets a geographic area in which the former employee cannot compete, such as a 100 mile radius or within a state.  To be enforceable it must be in writing, the employee receives consideration for it, it is no more restrictive than necessary to protect the company, and is reasonable in terms of time and territory.  The courts typically view non-compete agreements unfavorably as they limit employment mobility and career advancement.  Before you sign a non-compete contract, there could be opportunities to negotiate its terms.  This is a good time to consult with an attorney who has experience with non-compete agreements.