ABC’s of Employment Law – Part 3

Welcome to part 3 of our ABCs of Employment Law series, letters N through T.  As you will see, today we are focusing on some of the most common types of employment law cases, retaliation and Title VII, as well as why you want to take action as soon as possible.

 N is for now- the right time to take action if you have a potential employment law claim.  Because of statutes of limitations (see letter “S”), you may not have as much time as you think to start a lawsuit against your employer.  For example, if you were fired for reporting a safety concern to MIOSHA, you only have 30 days to file your claim!  Even if you are not close to the statute of limitations for your claim expiring, there are many reasons you may want to take action as soon as possible.  As time goes on, evidence for a claim may become more scarce- documents may be lost or thrown away, and witnesses will not remember things as clearly.  Furthermore, if you have an employment law concern that is ongoing, Gold Star Law can help you navigate your current situation to best preserve your rights.  Call Gold Star Law to see what we can do to help with your employment law problem.

O is for overtime– under Michigan and federal law, most employees are entitled to be paid at least one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 per week, with several exceptions called “exemptions” (see letter “E”).          

P is for protected status- a personal trait that an employer is not allowed to consider as a factor when making employment decisions, such as race, age, religion, or sex.

Q is for question of fact- a factual dispute about a case that must be decided by a judge or jury.  When the parties in a lawsuit disagree about an underlying fact, such as whether an employer said or did something that would be illegal, it is up to a judge or jury to consider the evidence presented by both sides to determine what they think most likely really happened.

R is for retaliation– when an employer takes an adverse action (see letter “A”) against an employee for having done something protected by law, such as making a complaint about illegal harassment.  It is illegal to retaliate against an employee for exercising their statutory rights to legal pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (see letter “F”) or to be free from illegal harassment and discrimination under Title VII (see letter “T”).

S is for statute of limitations- the amount of time you have to initiate a claim or lawsuit.  Certain “causes of actions” (see letter “C”), or types of claims, give you a certain amount of time to bring that claim.  There are various reasons for this, such as encouraging people who have been wronged to take action while the witnesses and documents needed as evidence for a case are still likely to be available.  Some statutes of limitations are very long, giving you several years to start your lawsuit, and some a very short- giving you as little as a month!  There are also certain circumstances that could “toll,” or pause, a statute of limitations, such as incapacitation.  If you believe you may have an employment law claim, it is best to call Gold Star Law today, in case your statute of limitations might be close.

T is for Title VII of the Civil Rights Act- a federal law protecting employees from discrimination and harassment in the workplace.  Title VII prohibits discrimination (see letter “D”) on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.  By extension, Title VII also protects you from being harassed based on any of those traits, including sexual harassment.


Click here for Part 4.