As an employee, you are protected under state and federal labor laws. These laws establish the rights a worker has to be protected from discriminatory treatment, unfair labor practices, unsafe work conditions, and more.
According to the United States Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), in 2017, 1,371 claims were filed regarding multiple types of discrimination in the workplace. The majority of those claims, 43.5 percent, were filed because of discriminatory race practices.
Employment laws are in place for a reason. If you feel as though you’ve been the victim of illegal workplace activity, you have the right to file a lawsuit. As well as holding your employer accountable for their actions, you may be eligible for compensation.
The following information will provide you with the basics of Arkansas labor laws, federal labor laws, and the most common employment law allegations and claims. To learn how you can file a claim, you can contact the knowledgeable Little Rock employment lawyers at McMath Woods P.A. today.
Arkansas Labor laws
The Arkansas General Assembly is the legislative branch of the state government that established the employment laws. These laws are in place to protect employees against illegal treatment. Here is an overview of their most important laws:
At-Will Employment Status. Arkansas is an at-will employment state. This means that an employer or employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time without advance notice or cause, as long as there is no employment agreement in place between the employer and employee. An employee working without an employment agreement entitling him or her to continued employment is known as an at-will employee. An at-will employee may be terminated by the employer without any legal liability as long as the termination does not violate a right to continued employment conferred by a federal or state statute or violate the public policy of the state of Arkansas.
Criminal Background Inquires. Arkansas allows employers to conduct criminal background checks and pre-employment inquiries about certain arrest or conviction records. Employers are not allowed to access sealed or expunged records.
Company Benefits. Arkansas’ company benefit laws establish how employers handle paydays, bereavement pay, payment upon separation of employment, recordkeeping, overtime, deductions, tips, wage garnishments, paid vacation, health insurance, workers’ compensation, jury duty, voting, sick pay, medical leave, and military leave.
Drug Testing. Arkansas requires employers that implement a drug-free workplace program to provide notice and education to their employees. The employer must pay for the cost of the drug tests.
Equal Opportunity Employer. Employers in Arkansas with nine or more employees must hire and retain employees without regard to race, religion, origin, gender, or disability.
Federal Labor Laws
The United States Department of Labor (DOL) enacted and enforces more than 180 federal employment laws. These regulations are in place for approximately 10 million employers and 125 million employees. Here is a list of the major areas these mandates cover:
- Wages and hours
- Workplace safety and health
- Workers’ compensation
- Employee benefits
- Unions and their members
- Employee protection
- Uninformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
- Employee Polygraph Protection Act
- Garnishment of wages
- Family and Medical Leave Act
- Veterans’ preference
- Mine safety and health
- Plant closing and layoffs
For more information on the specifics of these laws, visit the DOL’s summary of major laws.
Employment Law Allegations and Claims
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) exist to secure the rights of employees in regard to disability. If your employer denies you these rights, you may have grounds for a lawsuit.
Discrimination on the job can occur for a variety of reasons:
- Race and National Origin – Workers from all races and backgrounds deserve to be treated fairly and judged solely on their quality of work. When employers discriminate on the basis of race or origin, they may be subject to state and federal investigations.
- Religion – Employees have the right to worship as they wish, including securing time off for religious observances.
- Age – Federal and state laws prevent businesses with more than 20 employees from discriminating against older workers. If you’re 40 years or older and have been discriminated against, we can advise you of your rights.
- Gender – Workers of all genders and sexual orientations have a right to treated fairly and judged solely on the quality of their work.
The EEOC is an independent government agency that processes discrimination complaints in the workplace. While filing a claim with the EEOC can be a long, drawn-out process, it is often the first step in holding your employer accountable for their wrongful actions. If the EEOC determines your employer broke a law, they will determine what kind of settlement is possible. If the EEOC concludes there was no discrimination, it will issue you a right to sue letter and you can take your case to state or federal court within the time allowed by the law.
Non-compete and non-solicitation agreements help protect intellectual property from competitors. If you have been accused of breaching these agreements at a workplace, an experienced employment law attorney can help you defend your case.
Because Arkansas is an at-will state, you may only have the right to a severance package if you have an individual employment contract or are a union member. In some circumstances, however, you may be eligible for severance package benefits in the event of termination. Legal representation is often the best way to handle negotiations.
If the event you endure any form of sexual harassment in the workplace and your employer neglects or refuses to correct the situation, you have the right to seek legal guidance. Proving sexual harassment can be difficult, which is why it’s important to understand what sort of evidence to assemble.
Contact an Experienced Little Rock Employment Lawyer
Fighting for your legal rights as an employee can be a complex and intimidating process. At McMath Woods P.A., we have a comprehensive understanding of federal and state employment laws. Our Arkansas employment attorneys represent clients in all areas of the state to seek justice for illegal treatment. Begin your case today with a consultation.