Last year, over 1500 workplace class lawsuits were resolved, a rise of 5% from the previous year. Whether they form part of a class action or are brought by an individual employee, common complaints include negligence leading to injuries, unfair dismissal and incidents of workplace discrimination. It can be daunting to make a complaint against an employer, however, if they have behaved illegally then it is important to hold them to account. Personal injury or wrongful dismissal can result in considerable losses, and a successful settlement can help workers move in. As well as receiving the compensation they deserve, workers can also help to create a safer and less hostile working environment for future employees.
Claiming for Personal Injury
The latest figures from the Bureau of Labor show that 2.8 million workplace injuries and illnesses are reported each year by employers. Workers’ compensation, compulsory for almost all employers in the majority of states, can help to cover expenses if an employee is injured at work. However, if you are injured because of an employer’s negligence, you may be entitled to further compensation. Taking your employer to court can be overwhelming but most claims are settled through personal injury mediation. Resolving disputes in this way can be less stressful as both parties are encouraged to agree on an acceptable outcome.
Fighting Unfair Dismissal
In the US, over 20 million workers lose their jobs through being fired or laid off. Without an enforceable contract, your boss can fire you when it suits them, in which case looking for another job is your only option. However, you may have a case for unfair dismissal if you are fired for an illegal reason, for example if you are unable to attend work due to jury duty or you refused to undertake illegal activity in the workplace.
The US Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission enforces laws that protect employees from discrimination in the workplace. These laws cover unfair treatment due to a variety of reasons including race, sex and age. If you feel you have been the victim of discrimination or harassment at work, the first step is to talk your employer to try to resolve the issue but, if this is not possible, then you can make a claim through the civil courts.
Where negligence, unfair dismissal or discrimination can be proven, it may be worth pursuing a case against an employer, not only for the potential compensation for your losses, but also to instigate positive changes in the workplace.