Trusted Houston Employment/Labor Law Lawyers & Attorneys
According to Houston employment law lawyers, labor law is concerned with the relations between workers and their employers. The matters can range from wages and compensation, through harassment, to discrimination based on gender, disability, or age. Labor law often involves collective bargaining and unions. Employment Labor Lawyers in this field may represent individual clients, a union, a government regulatory agency, or an employer. Consult one of our Houston employment mediation attorneys today.
What is Labor and Employment Law?
Labor and employment law deals with a broad area of law that governs the rights and duties between employers and workers.Many of the governing laws are designed to keep workers safe and ensure they are treated fairly, although laws also protect employers’ interests. Employment laws are based on federal and state constitutions, legislation, administrative rules, and court opinions. Select employment relationships may also be governed by contract.
Many of the employment disputes that result in litigation deal with “wage and hour” violations. Federal law establishes baseline rules with respect to these issues, and then states are free to pass laws providing additional protections. For example, federal law requires a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. A majority of states have approved a higher minimum wage (14 states put new minimum wages into effect on January 1, 2016), and employers in those states must comply. Wage and hour laws also regulate overtime pay. The federal government does not place limits on the number of hours adults may work per week, but after 40 hours, employers must pay additional compensation, unless the employee falls into a category “exempt” from the law. Many disputes revolve around whether an employee is properly classified as “exempt” from the time-and-a-half overtime pay requirement under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Discrimination in the workplace is another basis for many employment law cases. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and subsequent legislation such as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act make it illegal to treat workers differently based on ethnicity, religious beliefs, gender, age, or disability. Many employees seeking to pursue discrimination claims hire attorneys, as they must follow detailed procedures, such as obtaining a Right-To-Sue letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Employers hire attorneys to defend against these lawsuits and to ensure compliance with appropriate laws before disciplinary action or termination occurs.
According to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal laws prohibiting job discrimination are as follows:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), prohibiting discrimination in employment based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), which states that men and women doing equal work at the same employer should receive equal pay
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which protects workers 40 years of age or older from job discrimination
- Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA);
- Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities who work in the federal government
- The Civil Rights Act of 1991, which allows for monetary damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination
Current “hot” issues in labor and employment law include sexual orientation and gender discrimination, race and national origin discrimination, and the exercise of religion in the workplace.Wage and hour disputes and disagreement over whether an individual is properly categorized as an “employee” versus an “independent contractor” are also an important part of an employment lawyer’s workload.
What do Houston Employment Mediation Lawyers do?
Attorneys play a role on both the labor and management side of labor relations disputes. Labor and employment attorneys work in private firms;non-profit policy and direct service organizations; and federal, state, local, and international government agencies. Typically, labor and employment lawyers stick to one “side” of representations – working on behalf of employers, employees, or unions – although there are more nuanced situations, such as representing executives or non-competition agreements.
Litigation often constitutes a significant component of employment law practice, and some large law firms have labor and employment attorneys within their general litigation practice group, rather than in a separate group. While many of the laws governing labor and employment law are federal laws and regulations, many states and some localities have enacted their own laws governing employment and compensation. Non-competition clauses in employment contracts may also lead to litigation in state or local courts. Consult one of our Houston employment mediation attorneys for more information on litigation.
Houston Employment Mediation Attorneys Can Negotiate on Your Behalf
Mediation, negotiation, and arbitration are another set of labor and employment practices. While the roles that attorneys play in alternative dispute resolution may vary, most of the mediation and arbitration work is centered on issues arising under contracts between employees and their employers, whether a collective bargaining agreement with a union or mandatory arbitration clauses in employee handbooks.
Houston employment mediation lawyers may also be involved with organizing efforts when working for or with unions, or to oppose organizing if on the employer-side. Labor and employment lawyers who work for government agencies may spend much of their time engaged in rule making and regulatory enforcement, and those in private practice engage in a good deal of advice work.
Houston Employment Mediation Attorneys Can Guide You
Employment Labor Lawyers may advise their clients on a wide variety of issues, ranging from the legality of performing background checks on potential employees to the elements of a discrimination claim to whether an individual should be treated as an employee or an independent contractor under labor and tax laws. Labor and employment lawyers in private practice might also advise their clients on issues relating to human resources, such as overseeing the discipline or termination of an employee to minimize the risks of unlawful actions.
Call Our Houston Employment Mediation Attorneys Today
If you need legal assistance from one of our Houston employment mediation lawyers, fill out our form on this page or call us at 713-510-7100. Take advantage of our Free Consultation by contacting us today. We have won a number of lawsuits recovering compensation for individuals who were illegally discriminated against in these ways.