When you work for a small business, often HR falls under the duties of the business owner. Since these individuals are juggling so much responsibility, some things may be mishandled or overlooked. But it's up to you to stand up for your rights as an employee. Those rights include being correctly classified under federal workplace laws, receiving vacation time that you have earned, and being free from discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
It's not uncommon for employees to be misclassified as exempt when they are actually non-exempt and should be receiving pay for hours the exact hours worked and receive mandatory breaks. Why does it matter? If you are misclassified, you miss out on overtime pay, and depending on the kind of hours you work, that can add up to a lot of earnings that you don't receive.
Another kind of classification error is counting individuals as independent contractors when they should actually be considered employees. The difference is bigger than simply being able to work from anywhere; if your employer gives you a set schedule, provides you with training or materials, and tells you who you can work for, then you're an employee, not a contractor.
Another popular policy is the "use it or lose it" vacation time policy. This is popular for small business owners because it takes away the need to track vacation days from year to year. However, some states have laws that all accrued but unused vacation time be paid out upon termination, which means this policy could be illegal.
If your workplace does not have any form of anti-discrimination or anti-harassment training, that could play in your favor if you are having issues with discrimination or harassment. Employers can be held liable for discrimination or harassment if they don't attempt to stop harassment and you are corrective measures don't have any preventative measures in place, such as training for supervisors or other employees.
If you have been the target of workplace harassment, discrimination or unfair termination, please call us to talk about your case. Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. represents clients in federal court and before the EEOC, MSPB and in state and union grievance hearings.
Our attorneys have more than 40 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. Call Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. at 304.523.8451 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.