Who can help if my employer violated my employee rights?
Wage theft, unsafe working conditions, harassment, and discrimination – all are forms of employer misconduct that employees can address by filing an official complaint and/or civil lawsuit against the party responsible for the conduct. When facing this sort of adversity, it is often unclear precisely how – or where – to initiate a complaint. Many different agencies handle different types of employer misconduct and each has its own procedures and regulations.
Wages & Hours
Wage and hour disputes are among the most common issues between employers and employees. Modern labor laws help protect employees against uncompensated work hours, unfair wages, and various other matters. However, even with these laws, wage and hour disputes, such as the following, regularly arise.
- Failure to properly pay overtime wages
- Manipulation of the “work week” to avoid paying overtime
- Failure to pay minimum wage
- Misclassification of employees as independent contractors
- Unlawful employment of minors
- Wrongful withholding of wages
Ohio workers concerned about wage and work schedule issues can file a labor law complaint with the Ohio Department of Commerce, which handles complaints concerning non-payment of minimum wage and overtime, as well as unauthorized deductions and wrongful withholding of final paychecks.
To file a federal complaint, employees must contact the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. In both instances, employees may also file a private civil lawsuit if agency investigations do not result in action against the employer.
Workplace safety is essential, and no employer should subject employees to an unsafe work environment. Employees may report workplace safety issues to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) through its official complaint process, which begins with an investigation into the matter by an OSHA agent. In the event the agent finds the complaint valid, the employer will likely face fines, penalties, and mandates to correct the issue.
Discrimination and harassment
There are a number of federal and state agencies responsible for protecting employees from discrimination and harassment. An employee facing discrimination can file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is a federal agency. From there, the EEOC may initiate the mediation process. If mediation is not pursued or is unsuccessful in resolving the matter, an investigator will conduct an investigation into whether discriminatory misconduct has occurred. If the EEOC does not find a violation, it will issue a Notice of Right to Sue, at which point the employee may initiate a private civil lawsuit against your employer. If the EEOC finds a violation, it will attempt to help you reach a settlement with the employer.
Ohio employees can also file a discrimination complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. State laws have strict time limits for when a charge of discrimination must be filed, depending on which state you are in. Once filed, an investigative agent will review the claim, and the commission may attempt to mediate the dispute.
Contact an employment rights attorney today.
If you are facing a difficult employment issue and would like to discuss your options, contact Robert A. Klingler Co., L.P.A. today at 513-665-9500.