Employment Relations and the Law
When it comes to earning a living for yourself and your loved ones, no one should be denied the opportunity to obtain and maintain employment because of behavior repugnant to fair dealings by an employer. Employment law covers virtually all aspects of the employer-employee relationship including employment contracts, at-will employment, workplace harassment, discrimination, and wrongful termination.
Employment Discrimination. Federal and state law makes it unlawful to discriminate in hiring, discharge, promotion, referral, and other aspects of employment. In general, at both the federal and state level, employers are prohibited from discriminating against another on the basis of age, disability, national origin, race, religion sex, height, weight, gender and marital status. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Michigan Civil Rights Commission are the federal and state agencies empowered to enforce laws prohibiting discrimination in employment.
At-Will Employment. If you are an “at-will” employee in Michigan, you and your employer may end the employment relationship at any time. No reason or justification is required. However, there are exceptions to the “at-will” doctrine. For example, an employer cannot violate the terms of an employment agreement that requires “cause” for termination, or discharge an employee in retaliation for filing a discrimination claim, or for “whistle-blowing”, such as reporting a health and safety violation.
Wrongful Termination/Constructive Discharge. If you have been forced to leave your employment because your employer has made your working conditions unbearable, even though you technically quit, your employer may be considered to have wrongfully terminated your employment because of the intolerable conditions that compelled you to quit. Examples of wrongful termination and constructive discharge include employment discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation for reporting a wrongdoing or for whistle blowing.
Sexual Harassment. Sexual harassment is unwelcomed sexual advances, sexual conduct or other verbal or physical action of a sexual nature, usually at the workplace. Conduct considered sexual harassment includes sexual remarks or sexual advances by the employer, hiring or negotiating the terms of employment in exchange for sexual conduct, or failure to maintain a work environment free from sexual harassment. (An employer may be held liable when a supervisor or co-worker is the harasser.)
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