Switching topics for the next few posts I’ll address some employment law topics that may be of interest to you, regardless of whether or are an employee, or an employer. Small business owners especially can benefit from taking a look at some of these posts.
People have been working for other people, or for companies as long as there has been recorded history. So the concept of trading one’s time, expertise and effort for pay or some other reward is certainly not new.
What is new is the development of legal protections in the form of rules,
regulations and court decisions that affect the employer/employee relationship.
Historically workers had no protection. I mean NONE!
If you worked all day and didn’t get paid, there was not much you could do against an employer.
If you got hurt on the job, too bad.
If you had to work in hazardous conditions, so what?
If you weren’t getting paid enough, again, too bad – take it or leave it.
If you think I’m kidding, read Upton Sinclair’s book “TheJungle” based on living and working conditions in Chicago in the early part of the 20th century.
We all know that since then things have changed. We’re all smug over the fact that there are “all” these laws to protect workers. We have laws that spell out the minimum wage, how many hours a week people can work, under what conditions they can work, etc., etc.
But as with anything, issues arise. Following the law and dealing fairly with employees is expensive.
This should be obvious to anyone. If you have an employee making $10 an hour, and that is all you have to pay them, that is a lot cheaper than paying the $10, along with, unemployment insurance, health insurance, workers compensation, overtime, FICA and so forth.
While most employers are reputable, honest and try to deal with employees with integrity, the cost differential is great enough that there is a segment of employers that have, and will continue to find ways to circumvent the laws protecting employees. These people don’t care about their employees. They want to spend as little as possible. The ways that they can conjure up to avoid labor laws is limited only by human imagination.
In the next few posts we’ll talk about the protections that workers have – an conversely, what you, if you are an employer must do – under applicable laws. We’ll also discuss the tricks and gimmicks that unscrupulous employers (or in fairness, employers that may not know any better) will attempt to avoid those protections. We’ll also talk a little about what you can do if you think you’re not receiving the pay, benefits, or treatment that you’re entitled to.
Remember that if you think that you are not being treated fairly in your employment, Be Your Own Lawyer will always review your situation and advise you accordingly at no cost.