Employment law addresses the employer-employee relationship and the problems that arise from that relationship. When the employer illegally ends the working relationship or takes adverse action against the employee, there may be an opportunity for recourse through the legal system.
List of Common Employment Law Statutes
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Americans With Disabilities Act
- 42 U.S.C. §1981
- Family and Medical Leave Act
- North Carolina Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA)
Most working relationships are considered to be "at-will." As a result, employment may be ended for any reason or no reason at all, as long as it is not an illegal reason.
Illegal reasons include reasons based upon:
- National origin
- Sexual Harassment
- Racial Harassment
- Retaliation for exercising statutorily protected rights
- Whistleblower protection
- Exercising rights under the Workers' Compensation Act (state law only)
- Violation of public policy (state law only)
Harassment based upon any one of these reasons is also actionable.
The individual must be an employee and not an independent contractor or other authorized agent of the employer. Under some laws, the employer must also have a minimum number of employees.
Before a lawsuit can be filed under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the plaintiff must exhaust his or her administrative remedies.
The employee must:
- Exhaust internal procedures with the employer and
- File a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and/or the North Carolina Department of Labor within 180 days of the adverse employment action or the plaintiff will generally lose their right to litigate the claim.
There are times that certain actions have longer statute of limitations, meaning that there is a longer period of time in which to file a claim. However, it is important to act quickly after an adverse action occurs.
Once a Complaint is filed in Court, the employer will file a response, usually in the form of an Answer. Following a period of discovery, which often lasts six to nine months, the parties will conduct written discovery and depositions. The client must be available to participate in discovery. Often near the end of the discovery period, there will be a mediation. If the case remains unresolved, the employer usually files a Motion For Summary Judgment to see if the court will dismiss the case in advance of trial. If the case survives summary judgment, there will be a trial.
For a detailed evaluation of your case, please call Levy Law Offices for an initial consultation. There is a $220.00 fee for the initial consultation. The initial retainer for representation beyond the consultation is determined by Mr. Levy at the conclusion of the initial consultation. Mr. Levy represents both employees and employers. All defense cases are billed at Mr. Levy's hourly rate, which is currently $220.00 per hour. Employee- side cases may be handled on an hourly basis or a reduced hourly-rate/reduced contingency fee basis, depending on the situation.