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How to File a Lawsuit Against My Employer

How to File a Lawsuit Against My Employer

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How to File a Lawsuit Against My Employer

If you want to find out, “How do I file a lawsuit against my employer?” Morgan & Morgan can help. Cases our employment lawyers handle include, among others:

  • Workplace harassment
  • Discrimination
  • Retaliation
  • Wage theft
  • Wrongful termination
  • Workplace injury

As an employee, you have various rights and protections under federal and state laws. Unfortunately, some unethical corporations and employers try to deny workers their legal rights, pay, and benefits. However, you do not have to put up with this and could recover compensation. 

Morgan & Morgan is here to help America’s workers. Our committed labor lawyers can fight for your best interests and hold employers accountable. 

Common Lawsuits Filed Against Employers

There can be many different instances where employees could have a case against their employer. Some examples of common employment litigation include:

Discrimination and Harassment

Employees are protected from discrimination and harassment at work by several federal and state laws, such as Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 1981, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). In general, employers must not discriminate against workers based on their:

  • Age 
  • Color
  • Race
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Religion
  • National Origin
  • Marital status
  • Pregnancy 
  • Sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Genetic information

Examples of unlawful discrimination can include denial of a promotion or raise, wrongful termination, harassment, refusing benefits that other employees receive, and others. Retaliation by an employer for filing a complaint or assisting with another employee’s claim is also unlawful. 

Discrimination at work is upsetting and frustrating for victims and can have a devastating impact on their careers, income, and family lives. If you were discriminated against at your workplace, you could potentially sue your employer and receive compensation. 

Workplace-Related Injury

Generally, you cannot sue your employer for a workplace-related injury if they have workers’ compensation insurance. Employees covered by workers’ comp waive their right to file a lawsuit in most circumstances. However, there are two notable exceptions to this rule:

Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Unavailable

Some employers fail to pay for workers’ compensation insurance despite it being a mandatory requirement in all states except Texas. If you get hurt at work and are unable to claim workers’ compensation benefits, you could file a personal injury lawsuit and receive damages for your work injuries. You could also sue if your employer hinders your workers’ compensation claim, for example, by withholding evidence or maliciously delaying your claim.

An Employer’s Actions Were Egregious or Malicious

If you suffered an injury due to your employer or manager’s intentional actions, you could hold them liable and pursue compensation. Likewise, if an employer willingly put you in a situation where an injury was inevitable, you could also have grounds for filing a lawsuit against them.

Importantly, with a personal injury lawsuit, you could claim damages that are unavailable with workers’ comp, such as pain and suffering, loss of life quality, and other so-called non-economic damages. 

Wage and Hour Violations

Some employers cheat workers out of their pay and benefits. Shockingly, some of America’s largest corporations, such as Walmart, Tyson Foods, UPS, and others, have found themselves defending lawsuits alleging wage theft, off-the-clock work, and other violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Some of the most common wage and hour violation lawsuits against employers include:

Off-the-Clock Work

Working off the clock is not only unpaid labor, but the time is also not contributing to overtime. Common types of off-the-clock work can include:

  • Assisting coworkers after the end of your shift
  • Warming up and loading a truck
  • Stocking shelves before your workday starts
  • Checking emails or answering work phone calls at home
  • Cleaning up your workspace after your shift 

Failure to Pay Overtime

According to the FLSA, employees working over 40 hours per week must be paid overtime at one and a half times their normal hourly pay. If your employer underpays you for your overtime hours or fails to pay you at all for working extra hours, you could sue and recover up to three years of unpaid overtime.
 
Misclassifying Employees

Employers may misclassify employees as independent contractors to save on benefits and payroll taxes. However, this is a violation of wage and hour laws. Being misclassified denies employees their benefits and protections such as workers’ compensation. If an employer misclassified you, you could sue them and receive damages.

Illegal Wage Deductions

Employers should generally not deduct any amounts from paychecks except for taxes, health insurance benefits, and court-ordered garnishments. However, deductions for an employer’s overheads, and others, can be illegal depending on state and federal laws. 

Since there can be numerous other wage and hour violations that could allow you to sue your employer, consider seeking legal advice. Our experienced employment lawyers know the labor laws and can determine whether you have a case against an employer. 

Before Considering Litigation

Before filing legal action against your employer, consider taking the following steps, depending on your circumstances:  

  1. Talk to your employer or HR department to try and resolve the issue internally.
  2. Identify the state agency dealing with your type of dispute.
  3. File a complaint with the responsible agency, such as your local Department of Labor (DOL) office or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
  4. Gather evidence for your claim.
  5. Contact an employment lawyer to determine your legal options.

How to File a Lawsuit Against Your Employer

Going it alone against an employer can be stressful and frustrating. However, with a determined attorney in your corner, you can rest assured that your best interests and legal rights are protected.  

Finding and Hiring a Great Employment Attorney

Handling a lawsuit against your employer can be exhausting and time-consuming. Moreover, if your employer is a large or perhaps even global corporation, they might have unlimited resources and teams of lawyers on retainer ready to fight lawsuits. 

Finding a seasoned employment lawyer can be critical for the outcome of your case. Some of the best ways to find a lawyer include:

  • Asking friends and coworkers for referrals
  • Searching online for employment lawyers near you
  • Scheduling free consultations with prospective lawyers

How Morgan & Morgan Can Help Sue Your Employer

Our tenacious employment attorneys can help you with all aspects of your case, including: 

Explain Your Legal Rights

Knowing your employment rights is crucial for making informed decisions. Our attorneys can explain your rights and clarify your options for getting justice, which could include negotiation, mediation, and litigation. We can fully explain all the advantages and disadvantages of your options and determine your next best steps to get justice. 

File a Complaint

In most employment disputes, employees must first file a claim with a government agency, such as the EEOC, before being allowed to file an individual lawsuit. Our employment lawyers can direct you to the appropriate agency and help you file a claim. 

Fight a Lawsuit on Your Behalf

Morgan & Morgan’s employment lawyers can assist you with litigation against an employer or former employer. We represent employees in a variety of lawsuits, such as discrimination, wage and hour claims, wrongful termination, and others. Some of the tasks your lawyer will work on can include:

  • Gathering evidence to prove your case
  • Calculating your damages accurately
  • Negotiating a fair settlement
  • Fighting vigorously for what you deserve at trial

Get in Touch With Us Today for Help and Advice

We want to help workers assert their legal rights and get what they deserve. If you are mistreated at work, unable to receive the workers’ comp benefits, or experience wage and hour violations, Morgan & Morgan is here for you. When we take your case, you have access to an army of experienced attorneys and legal team members ready to fight on your behalf. The fee is free unless and until we win. If you need legal advice regarding your specific employment situation, contact us now for a free case review.

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FAQ

Morgan & Morgan

  • What Are My Basic Rights as an Employee?

    Various federal and state laws grant employees workplace rights. Although work rights can vary from one state to another, some of your most basic universal rights include:  

    A reasonably safe workplace, free of hazards and toxic substances.
    A work environment that is free of harassment and discrimination. 
    Fair pay for hours worked and overtime (if eligible).
    Protection from retaliation when filing a complaint against an employer.
    The ability to take leave for medical problems.

    Depending on your state and employment circumstances, you could be entitled to various other employment rights. A labor attorney can advise you on your next best steps.

  • Can I Sue a Former Employer?

    Yes, you could file a lawsuit against a former employer. The statute of limitations in your state generally determines how long you have to file a suit. Under the federal FLSA, you have up to two years to file your wage theft claim against an employer. 

    Moreover, if you quit your job due to unbearable conditions at your workplace, you could sue for “constructive discharge.” To have a case, victims usually have to prove that:

    • The employer’s conduct was unlawful
    • Working conditions were intolerable or hazardous
    • The employer allowed the intolerable or dangerous condition to continue

    A court will look at constructive discharge similarly to wrongful termination. Suppose you suffered from sexual harassment or another intolerable work condition. After filing a complaint with your human resources department, nothing happened, and the harassment went on unabated, causing you to quit. In this situation, you could have a claim against your former employer.

  • Can a Salaried Employee Receive Overtime Pay?

    One common wage theft issue can be employers misclassifying employees as exempt from overtime. Whether you are salaried generally does not have a bearing on whether you qualify for overtime. Eligibility depends on whether your job falls into the “exempt” or “non-exempt” categories. 

    Employees in administrative, professional, sales or executive positions are generally considered exempt and unable to receive overtime pay. However, there can be a gray area. Therefore, if you are not sure whether you should be receiving overtime pay, consider seeking legal advice from an employment attorney to get clear on your rights. 

  • What Should I Do if I Experience Discrimination at Work?

    Timely action can be crucial for getting justice if you are suffering from discrimination at work. In the first instance, you could speak to your employer or HR department to tackle the issue. However, if this is not possible or fails to resolve the discriminatory conduct, you can take official steps. 

    In the first instance, individuals must generally file a charge of discrimination with their relevant state agency or the federal EEOC before they can file a personal lawsuit against an employer. The timeframe for filing a charge with the EEOC can be as short as 180 days. 

    If you are suffering from discrimination at work, your best step can to contact an employment attorney and discuss your specific situation. An attorney can determine whether you have a case and help you move forward with the relevant claim or lawsuit. 

  • Morgan & Morgan Fights Hard for Workers

    Suffering from adverse employment actions can have wide-reaching consequences on your professional development, health, and general well-being. However, you are entitled to a reasonably safe work environment, a workplace free of harassment and discrimination, and fair pay for your work. You also have rights when injured at work. 

    The process of getting justice can be convoluted and confusing. Knowing the correct steps required to file a lawsuit against your employer can be critical for success. In most instances, you cannot simply go ahead and file a lawsuit. You might have to file claims with state and local government agencies or jump through other hoops before being able to sue an employer. 

    Let Morgan & Morgan help. Our attorneys know which employment laws apply to your situation and can help you with your case from beginning to end. Get started now and contact Morgan & Morgan for a free case review.

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