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Michigan employment disputes: Employee classification matters

When taking a job in Michigan or elsewhere, how one's employment status is classified really matters. Numerous employment disputes arise over employers misclassifying employees so as to avoid paying overtime and benefits. Those who believe that their work status was purposely misclassified may have legal recourse.

Recently, in another state, an employee for United Van Lines filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming that it misclassified his job status. In doing so, for more than a decade, the company allegedly got away with failing to pay him for his hours worked and held him responsible for covering numerous job-related expenses out of his own pocket -- such as truck lease payments, truck repair and fuel, among others. This has supposedly resulted in him making less than minimum wage.

When can one file a wrongful termination lawsuit?

When an employer deems it necessary, he or she has the right to fire an employee. There are various reasons, though, in which firing is illegal. Michigan residents who have been released from their jobs under any one of the following circumstances may pursue wrongful termination lawsuits in order to seek compensation for their losses.

The first issue that will be discussed is discrimination. Federal law prohibits employers from firing an employee because of his or her race, religion, gender, age, disability or a number of other factors. These are what are called protected classes.

Workplace discrimination due to one's nationality is not okay

America is often referred to as the great melting pot. People come to this country from all over the world in search of better lives for themselves and their families. Unfortunately, in searching for employment or even after work is obtained, some individuals who have made their homes in Michigan and elsewhere face workplace discrimination due to their nationality. This, of course, is not okay.

People are afraid of what they do not know or understand. It is simple psychology. However, when it comes to hiring and employing someone, the only things that should matter are the skills that person possesses and how that individual's knowledge and experience will benefit one's company.

Whistleblower in Caterpillar case could see big payout

It has been a rough few years for big machine builder Caterpillar. While, overall, the company is still seeing massive profits, the Internal Revenue Service is fighting hard to collect about $2 billion in taxes the business supposedly owes. The whistleblower in this case no longer works for Caterpillar, but if his information leads to tax collection, he could see a big payout. Michigan residents who take stances similar to this man could also be paid for taking action.

According to a recent report, the IRS raided Caterpillar headquarters in early 2017 in order to gather information that investigators hope will lead to the collection of taxes that the company paid to Switzerland instead of the United States by claiming that the income was produced by its overseas department. A former accountant for the company, however, claims that this is not the case; rather, the income was generated on American soil but the figures were adjusted to make it look like it was not so that the company could enjoy the smaller tax rate that it negotiated with Switzerland. When he made his case to his employers, this individual claims that he was retaliated against. Ultimately, he ended up leaving the company in 2012 because of this issue.

Michigan employment disputes: Handling wage and hour infractions

Going to work day in and day out to support oneself and one's family is not always the easiest thing to do. When one is not being fairly compensated for one's time, it can make it all even harder to bear. Wage and hour laws are in place to protect employees in Michigan and elsewhere. So, when employment disputes over pay arise, they have a leg to stand on when it comes to recovering money rightfully owed them.

The federal government has set minimum wage and overtime pay requirements that employers are required to follow. Those whose employers are not meeting these standards may report their employers and seek compensation for any funds unlawfully withheld from them. Currently, the Fair Labor Standards Act says that employers are to pay minimum wage to hourly employees who work at least 40 hours a week, and time and a half for overtime shifts.

Retaliation can make going to work a nightmare

Even though you still believe you did the right thing, there are certainly times when you wish you had not stood up for a co-worker's rights, filed a complaint with human resources or contacted authorities about workplace discrimination or other illegal activities. They called you a whistleblower and maybe other not-so-kind names. Your life may have been easier if you had kept it to yourself.

After you made the bold move to speak up, things were never the same. Although you probably feel isolated, it may help to know you are not alone. Almost half of the workplace discrimination grievances submitted to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are retaliation complaints.

Frontier airlines hit with a workplace discrimination lawsuit

Being a working mother is a difficult thing. However, taking on the hats of mother and provider is something that many Michigan residents do every single day. Unfortunately, there are those who will face workplace discrimination for trying to take care of their families in ways that are acceptable to them.

Frontier Airlines is in the news again following the filing of legal complaints by two female flight attendants. The plaintiffs claim the the company violated their rights as mothers by failing to provide acceptable solutions for them to pump milk during their shifts so that they could feed their infants. They also claim that the company's maternity coverage and accommodations for pregnant and new mothers are insufficient. Frontier faced a similar lawsuit just last year brought about by four female pilots.

Company in another state hit with wrongful termination lawsuit

Those in Michigan who are subjected to harassment in the workplace should feel comfortable in their ability to inform their employers of the issue without fear of retaliation. This is their right. Sadly, there are those who do the right thing and report the problem only to be terminated after the fact. In such cases, wrongful termination claims may be filed against their employers.

A company in another state is in the news again for allegedly firing a woman who complained of harassment from a supervisor and fellow employee. Grimmway Farms was sued just last year for the same issue. A verdict in that case in favor of the plaintiffs was reached in November.

Sadly, employment disputes over FMLA benefits happen

Certain family events may require one to take a leave of absence from work in order to tend to the matter. According to federal laws, the ability to do so is a right, under the proper circumstances. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which was passed in 1993, requires certain employers to allow their employees to take time off if they experience a qualifying event. Unfortunately, numerous Michigan residents may have had their FMLA requests wrongfully denied by their employers or have been terminated while on leave. When employment disputes like these arise, legal actions may be taken.

The FMLA covers employees in all fields. It does not matter if they are state, federal or local workers. It also does not matter if they work in the private sector. If they meet the eligibility requirements for an FMLA leave of absence and their employers are covered, they have the right to request the time off.

Former Wells Fargo employee files wrongful termination lawsuit

Whether one resides in Michigan or elsewhere, failing to act on a supervisor's request when one feels what is being asked is wrong should not be reason to lose one's job. Unfortunately, for a woman in another state, her refusal to participate allegedly led to her being fired. She has since filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against her former employer.

On April 5, a former banker and assistant vice president of a Wells Fargo branch filed a legal complaint against the company and three of her supervisors. She claims that she was asked to take part in unethical banking practices. After refusing to participate, she says she was released from employment.

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