Missouri Employment Law Blog

Are political views protected by discrimination laws?

There are many types of discrimination you are protected against when it comes to employment. You cannot be fired for being a certain gender or race. Your employer cannot take adverse actions against you specifically because you are a member of a certain relgiion or because of your sexual orientation. However, not everything you do is protected. Your political affliation, for the most part, is not a protected class under state or federal employment laws in Missouri. 

According to the Huffington Post, you do not have protection from an employer firing you, refusing to hire you or taking other adverse employment actions against you simply because of your political opinions. However, there are some situations where you may be protected. A good example would be if you have an employment contract. Typically, in such agreements, there are stated reasons why you can be fired. If your political affiliation is not listed as a condition, then you are probably safe from being fired due to speaking out about which candidate you support.

What constitutes an employment contract?

Employment contracts may seem like a straightforward thing, but there are certain situations when a contract may be formed without an individual agreement. As a worker in Missouri, you are generally working under at-will employment, which means you can quit or be let go for any reason at any time. Your employment is not guaranteed. When you have a contract, though, it may stipulate specific details about your employment, including when you can and cannot be let go.

According to the American Bar Association, knowing when an employment contract is formed requires looking at a few key points. In general, it needs to be formally issued, which usually means in writing. It must also include a promise that has not been excluded by a disclaimer. For example, if an employer gives you a handbook outlining what are fireable offenses but includes a disclaimer that the handbook is not a contract, then you could not claim it was a contract if you were fired for something not listed as a fireable offense. A contact also need to be enforceable. It has to be something that a court can legally make happen.

What are some facts about sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is something employers in Missouri try to avoid dealing with. There are plenty of resources to help employers teach employees about this issue and help them to avoid it. However, despite the vigilance of employers to educate, many people are still confused or unsure of what it is exactly. If you are not clear on what constitutes harassment of a sexual nature, then it may help to learn some facts.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission basically wrote the book on sexual harassment. The EEOC is a great resource for learning more about it, and the agency provides helpful information to clear up any confusion. The EEOC defines sexual harassment as unwanted advances of a sexual nature. Advances could be anything from words to physical contact to suggestions. Anything that negatively affects the work environment and makes a person feel uncomfortable due to its explicit nature is sexual harassment.

What are my rights for work breaks?

While many workers feel that they should be entitled to a break for lunch or a rest from work, the truth is that those short periods of time off are governed by state laws. Not all managers and supervisors are clear about these policies and you may be wondering whether your employer's decisions are in line with those required by the government. We at Hollingshead and Dudley Trial Lawyers have detailed what the state of Missouri says about this topic so you can be sure that you are being given honest and fair treatment at work.

According to the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, you may or may not be allowed breaks, depending on your age. If you are over 16 years old, the choice is left up to your boss and will be determined by your company's policies. This applies to every type of break, including meal breaks and rest periods during your shift.

How do I file an employee discrimination claim?

Most Missouri employees will experience some kind of discrimination on the job. This discrimination may or may not affect their career path or their emotional health, but -- in certain instances -- it can negatively affect a career and the psychological well-being of an employee.

When the negative effects of employment discrimination are clear, it's time to empower the employee to take action to protect his or her civil rights under the law. This may involve filing an employment discrimination claim.

Avoiding employment discrimination during pregnancy

Pregnant women in Missouri may face issues in the workplace due to their pregnant status. This is not okay and is against the law. Employers cannot discriminate against a person simply because of their health status. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission explains the law protects women in any stage of pregnancy and includes discrimination for anything relating to pregnancy, such as postpartum recuperation or pregnancy complications.

Women's rights against discrimination are provided under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Women cannot be denied a job, fired, refused promotion or have any employment terms or benefits altered simply because she is pregnant. A pregnancy must be handled as any other disability with proper accommodations being provided. Should a woman be temporarily unable to work, it is treated like a temporary disability. Health issues, complications or other problems that affect the pregnant woman's ability to work may be protected under the American's with Disabilities Act.

Do discrimination laws protect transgender employees?

If you are a Missouri resident and someone who identifies as transgender, you may have concerns about the president’s recent statements about transgendered people in the military and how they might affect other aspects of your life. Discrimination of transgender people in the workplace is a very real problem across the United States, and the lack of a clear federal ruling on the matter tends to further complicate matters.

According to MarketWatch, there are no federal laws that specifically protect America’s transgendered employees, although 20 states have already enacted their own. Historically, federal courts have considered some instances of bias against transgendered people sex discrimination, which would mean that the protections detailed in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would protect transgender victims of workplace discrimination.

How do I know if I have been wrongfully terminated?

If you were recently let go from your job in Missouri, you might be wondering if your firing was illegal. You are not alone. According to the CheatSheet.com, employers in the United States wrongfully fire 150,000 workers each year. If your employer terminates you for an illegal reason, they may have violated your rights, giving you cause to seek to file a claim. 

Discrimination 

Workplace discrimination victims in Missouri to face new hurdles

Missourians who are let go from their jobs for what they believe are discriminatory reasons may soon face additional hurdles, now that the governor has signed legislation that limits their options as far as legal recourse. According to St. Louis Public Radio, the controversial bills is to take effect Aug. 28, 2017, which has the leader of the Missouri NAACP encouraging those who are victims of discrimination to file suit before it does.

Currently, Missouri laws allow employees to sue for discrimination if they believe their firings were even remotely tied to their race, age or other protected characteristics. The newly signed bill, however, prevents Missourians from filing suit against individuals, leaving them with suing the company that employs them as their only option.

4 things to consider when negotiating your severence package

Imagine you've been working for a corporate employer for the last 15 years. You thought you'd retire with them, get the 25-year gold watch and live an easy retirement with a secure pension. However, things have changed.

Your boss came into your office last week to offer you a deal. The company is downsizing. You can voluntarily leave now, and get a great severance package, or you can wait to be laid off at some point during the next year without any guarantees.

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