Employment Matters

MGA Law’s employment practice group has extensive experience in handling all aspects of employment litigation disputes and in reducing the stress of litigation through preventative counseling.

 

Although employment law is a complex practice area, encompassing many federal and state statutes, administrative regulations, and judicial precedent, MGA Law is uniquely positioned to assist both individual employees and employers, from large corporations to start-ups, in the identification, analysis, and resolution of all issues arising from an employment relationship.

 

We are here to help.  If you believe you have been the victim of unlawful employment discrimination, please call or email us to set up a free, confidential consultation so that we may discuss your situation.  Immediate attention and reporting are crucial in any employment discrimination case in order to make the inappropriate actions cease.  Our attorneys have extensive knowledge concerning the laws prohibiting employment discrimination, including protection against any retaliation by your employer, and we will work to remedy the discriminating conduct and protect your rights.

Types of Cases We Handle
Discrimination Overview

Nevada is an “employment at will” state.  Employment “at will” means that the employer or employee may end the employment relationship without giving either notice or a reason, unless an employment agreement exists providing otherwise.

 

The employment at will doctrine has limitations on an employer’s ability to fire an employee in violation of public policy, a valid employment contract, whistleblower statutes or anti-discrimination laws. Employers are not allowed to unlawfully terminate employees who identify with certain protected classes or because of military service, or for specific types of medical leave (FMLA), filing a workers compensation claim or whistle-blowing activity.

 

In Nevada, state and federal laws protect employees from discrimination and harassment in the workplace.  Additionally, there are state and federal “anti-retaliation” laws to protect employees from retaliation by their employer for reporting discrimination or harassment.

 

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits an employer from discriminating on the basis of race, national origin, sex, gender or religion.  Nevada has enacted state statutes that also prohibit unlawful discrimination or harassment in the workplace, such as Nevada Revised Statute 613.330.

 

Discrimination can include any “adverse employment action” that is taken due to an employee’s race, national origin, sex, gender or religion.  Any harassment based on an employee’s race, national origin, sex, gender or religion that creates a “hostile working environment” against an employee is illegal.

 

We are here to help.  If you believe you have been the victim of unlawful discrimination, please call or email us to set up a free, confidential consultation so that we may discuss your situation.  Immediate attention and reporting are crucial in any discrimination case in order to protect your rights.  Our attorneys have extensive knowledge concerning the laws prohibiting workplace discrimination, including protection against retaliation by your employer, and we will work to remedy the discriminating conduct and protect your rights.

Breach of Contract

MGA Law protects the rights of employees involved in contract disputes with their employers.  We make certain that our clients understand the details and obligations under their employment contracts and ensure their rights are protected by investigating all possible legal remedies in the event of a breached contract.

 

An employment contract may address issues involving:

 

•  Benefits
•  Change of management or acquisition of the company
•  Compensation
•  Equity interest or stock options
•  Mandatory arbitration agreements
•  Non-compete clauses
•  Non-solicitation clauses
•  Retirement
•  Severance pay and severance terms
•  Termination notices

 

When an employee is faced with a potential contract dispute with an employer, it can have devastating impact on one’s career.  It can also cause unwanted emotional stress and leave you with less than you are entitled to under the agreement.

 

We are here to help.  If you believe you have suffered from a breach in your employment contract, please call or email us to set up a free, confidential consultation so that we may discuss your situation.  Our attorneys have extensive knowledge concerning the laws regarding employment contracts and we will work to help protect your rights.

Racial Discrimination

The civil rights movement and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 resulted in federal laws and penalties to safeguard employee rights against racial discrimination in the workplace.  Any individual who encounters racial discrimination in the workplace is entitled to protection by both federal and state law and could lead to legal action against an employer.

 

Racial discrimination can take on a number of forms, including:

 

• You were denied a position based on your race
• You are a victim of ethnic slurs or derogatory remarks
• Racial tension has created a hostile work environment
• You are subjected to different treatment than other employees
• Harsher disciplinary actions based upon your race
• You have been denied promotions, training or other employment benefits based on your race
• You have experienced retaliation for taking action against a discriminatory employer
• You were wrongfully terminated based on racial discrimination

 

Racial discrimination claims often fall into one of two categories:

 

• Disparate treatment race discrimination occurs when race, ethnicity or skin color is a motivating factor in how an individual, applicant or employee is treated
• Disparate impact race discrimination occurs when you are unintentionally treated differently because of your race based on a policy or practice that seems racially neutral on its face it, but as applied it adversely impacts your racial group when compared to another

 

We are here to help.  If you believe you have been the victim of unlawful racial discrimination, please call or email us to set up a free, confidential consultation so that we may discuss your situation.  Immediate attention and reporting are crucial in any racial discrimination case in order to make the inappropriate actions cease and to preserve a legal claim.  Our attorneys have extensive knowledge concerning the laws prohibiting racial discrimination, including protection against any retaliation by your employer, and we will work to remedy the discriminating conduct and protect your rights.

Religious Discrimination

Under both federal and state law, it is illegal to discriminate against an employee based on religious beliefs and/or practices, including religious dress or the need to observe religious holidays.  This applies to each and every aspect of your employment, including hiring, compensation, job duties and assignments, scheduling, benefits, promotions and termination.

 

Employers are also generally required to provide reasonable accommodations for an employee’s religious beliefs and/or practices in the workplace, so long as doing so does not cause an undue hardship on the employer.  The failure to do so may justify a legal claim of discrimination.

 

Religious discrimination can take on many forms, including:

 

• Scheduling shifts or training that conflict with your religious practices
• Failing to accommodate religious practices that do not create an unreasonable burden on the employer, such as daily prayer or religious holiday observance
• Terminating an employee for taking time to practice religion when the employee has followed proper procedures for requesting leave
• Making derogatory comments about an employee because of his or her religion
• Forbidding clothing, hair styles or other expressions of religious belief

 

We are here to help.  If you believe you have been the victim of unlawful religious discrimination, please call or email us to set up a free, confidential consultation so that we may discuss your situation.  Immediate attention and reporting are crucial in religious discrimination cases in order to make the inappropriate actions cease.  Our attorneys have extensive knowledge concerning the laws prohibiting religious discrimination, including protection against any retaliation by your employer, and we will work to remedy the discriminating conduct and protect your rights.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a serious violation of an employee’s rights and the protections afforded to employees under federal and state laws.  Addressing a sexual harassment claim is not always easy, but you should not be victimized by standing up to discriminatory or harassing practices by your employer.

 

Dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace is a traumatic experience that you may not always feel comfortable talking about it.  At MGA Law, we will always treat you with compassion, respect and dignity.  We strive to make you feel comfortable in addressing the harassing behavior and will ensure you are fully informed of your rights and options under the law.

 

Sexual harassment may impact both men and women, and consists of a pattern of unwelcome behavior that may include:

 

• Unwelcomed requests for sexual favors or physical contact by a boss, co-worker, customer or vendor
• A sexually offensive work environment
• Sexual comments or innuendos that create a hospital work environment

 

The law generally recognizes two types of sexual harassment:

 

• Quid pro quo – where a superior makes an employee’s hiring, retention, performance review, promotion or benefits dependent upon sexual favors
• Hostile work environment – where a pattern of unwelcome sexual talk or conduct is so pervasive that an employee cannot be comfortable on the job

 

We are here to help.  If you believe you have been the victim of unlawful sexual harassment, please call or email us to set up a free, confidential consultation so that we may discuss your situation.  Immediate attention and reporting are crucial in any sexual harassment case in order to make the inappropriate actions cease.  Our attorneys have extensive knowledge concerning the laws prohibiting sexual harassment, including protection against any retaliation by your employer, and we will work to remedy the harassing conduct and protect your rights.

Employment Agreements

MGA Law can help counsel any business or employer in drafting and negotiating employment agreements.   Poorly drafted employment agreements can lead to lengthy and expensive lawsuits that could have been prevented by simply ensuring the employment agreement was drafted properly at the outset.  Our lawyers are highly skilled at negotiating the terms of employment and executive agreements, including non-compete, arbitration and severance agreements.

 

At MGA Law, we regularly draft employment agreements for both employers and executives.  We can examine the terms of these agreements for you, as well as explain your rights, duties and obligations under the agreement.  We can also help you understand what claims you may have and what you are giving up if you enter into or breach an employment agreement.

 

We are here to help.  Let us assist you if you are concerned about the strength of your current employment agreements or if you need an attorney to draft employment agreements for your business.   Please call or email us to set up a free, confidential consultation so that we may discuss your situation.  Our attorneys have extensive knowledge concerning employment contracts and will work to protect your rights.

Family and Medical Leave

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives employees the right to take leave on account of their own medical problems or those of a family member, all while protecting the right to return to a job or position of equal pay and benefits when the leave is over.  If an employee is found eligible for FMLA, the employee can take up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period.  An employee may also be allowed to take intermittent FMLA leave or work reduced schedules if the employer agrees under certain circumstances.

 

Employees may be entitled to take medical leave for themselves or to take care of their family members if they meet the following FMLA requirements:

 

• The company employs at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius of the location where the employee who wants to take leave works.
• The employee worked at least 1,250 hours within the past 12 months, or about 24 hours a week, before the start date of the leave.
• The employee has been employed with the employer for at least 12 months; the 12 months does not need to be worked consecutively so long as the break in employment was not longer than seven years.

 

Employers cannot interfere with, retaliate, or discriminate against an employee attempting to assert his or her rights under the FMLA.
We are here to help.  Our lawyers can help you determine if you have been unfairly terminated or demoted because you had to take leave to address a family medical issue.  Please call or email us to set up a free, confidential consultation so that we may discuss your situation.  Our attorneys have extensive knowledge concerning FMLA, and we will take action if a FMLA violation has occurred and protect your rights.

Gender Discrimination

Discrimination based on gender can take place at any time during employment, from the initial job application through the last day of employment.  In many cases, but not all, sex or gender-based discrimination is accompanied by sexual harassment in the workplace.  Both are violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as state laws.

 

Gender discrimination can take a number of forms, such as:

 

• Your employer provides benefits to the wives and families of male employees but the same benefits are not available to the husbands and families of female employees
• Your employer refuses to hire you or promote you because, as a woman, you are not as tough as a man, or because, as a man, you are not considered as sensitive as a woman
• Your employer gives you above average reviews, but you are frequently passed over for promotions that are filled by less qualified and less senior individuals of the opposite sex
• Your employer is stricter with you and other coworkers of the same sex as you than he/she is with coworkers of the opposite sex
• Members of the opposite sex are paid more than you and other coworkers of the same sex as you
• Company policies that may seem neutral are actually not because they have the effect of excluding individuals on the basis of sex
• You are not hired because you are a woman with young children, but a man with young children is hired
• Your employer refuses to train, promote or assign significant work opportunities to married women while giving such training, promotion and work opportunities to married men and/or single employees

 

Discrimination based on gender generally takes four basic forms in the workplace, including the following:

 

• Disparate treatment occurs when an employee is treated differently because of gender or sex
• Disparate impact occurs when company employment practices exclude or otherwise negatively impact employees on the basis of gender or sex, even when unintentional
• Sexual harassment/hostile work environment occurs when misconduct interferes with individual work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment
• Sexual harassment/quid pro quo is misconduct linked to a grant or denial of a tangible job benefit

 

We are here to help.  If you believe you have been the victim of unlawful sex or gender discrimination, please call or email us to set up a free, confidential consultation so that we may discuss your situation.  Immediate attention and reporting are crucial in sex/gender discrimination cases in order to make the inappropriate actions cease.  Our attorneys have extensive knowledge concerning the laws prohibiting sex and gender discrimination, including protection against any retaliation by your employer, and we will work to remedy the discriminating conduct and protect your rights.

Gender Identity and Expression

Nevada has strict laws that protect individuals against employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression.  Gender identity is a person’s internal sense of being male or female, or not identifying with a gender at all.  Gender expression includes physical attributes an individual exhibits, such as appearance, dress, hair, mannerisms and behaviors.

 

Nevada has enacted statutes that prohibit discrimination in areas of employment, as well as housing and public accommodations, on the basis of “gender identity or expression.”

 

We are here to help.  If you believe you have been the victim of unlawful employment discrimination based on gender identity or expression, please call or email us to set up a free, confidential consultation so that we may discuss your situation.  Immediate attention and reporting are crucial in any employment discrimination case in order to make the inappropriate actions cease.  Our attorneys have extensive knowledge concerning the laws prohibiting employment discrimination, including protection against any retaliation by your employer, and we will work to remedy the discriminating conduct and protect your rights.

Non-Compete Agreements

Generally, a non-compete agreement prevents an employee from starting a competing business or working for a competitor for a specific period of time.  In Nevada, a non-compete agreement must be reasonable in both the timing of the non-competition period and the scope of the territory covered.

 

An employee may be asked to sign a non-compete agreement at the time of hire, during the course of employment, or as a provision for a severance agreement.  Even if a non-compete agreement is so poorly drafted that it may not be legally enforceable and might not stand up in court, such an agreement may deter prospective employers from hiring someone.

 

If you have been asked to sign a non-compete agreement as part of your employment, it is important to have the agreement reviewed by an attorney prior to signing the agreement.  If you are thinking of leaving your employer so that you can work for a competitor or to start your own business, we recommend that you first verify that you are not bound by a non-compete agreement.

 

We are here to help.  If you have a non-compete issue, please call or email us to set up a free, confidential consultation so that we may discuss your situation.  Our attorneys have extensive knowledge concerning non-compete agreements, and we can counsel you regarding your rights and responsibilities when you are a party to a non-compete agreement.

Retaliation

Retaliation against an employee for engaging in or reporting any protected activity is prohibited under federal and state law.  Retaliation is punishment by an employer, including firing, demoting, harassing or performing any other negative workplace action, in response to an employee’s complaint of harassment or discrimination under Title VII and other federal employment laws.  While an employer in Nevada can fire an “at will” employee without cause, retaliatory action motivated by discrimination that has been reported to management is illegal.

 

There are generally two types of retaliation claims:

 

• Opposition claims are claims by employees who are retaliated against after they complain to their employer or oppose unlawful discrimination or harassment in the workplace.
• Participation claims are claims by employees who are retaliated against after filing a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or testifying, assisting or participating in any employment discrimination investigation or proceeding.

 

Adverse actions you should look out for after you file a complaint could include:

 

• You are excluded or left out of company activities
• You are reassigned to a different shift or department
• You are passed over for a promotion or raise
• Your pay or hours are cut
• You encounter more harassment or bullying
• You are fired from your job

 

Nevada has federal and state laws that prevent retaliation against an employee for reporting any workplace harassment or discrimination.

 

Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, any negative action taken against an employee for filing a complaint or advocating for another employee’s complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner (EEOC).  Common types of retaliation claims involve an employee who alleges that he or she was harassed or discriminated against and then later punished by the employer (some examples include being fired, written up, passed up for promotion, or given harsher working conditions) for making the complaint or filing a claim.  This fear is all too common in the workplace and causes employees to endure harassment or discrimination that drastically impacts their lives.

 

We are here to help.  If you believe you have been the victim of retaliation, please call or email us to set up a free, confidential consultation so that we may discuss your situation.  Immediate attention and reporting are crucial in retaliation cases in order to make the inappropriate actions cease.  Our attorneys have extensive knowledge concerning the laws prohibiting retaliation and we will work to remedy the conduct and protect your rights.

Whistleblower Protection

If you are aware of any criminal activity, fraud or violations of public policy that your employer is engaging in against the government or the public at large, you should report it to a public agency or authorities immediately.  In these cases, you may be deemed a “whistleblower,” and given protection and rights under federal and state whistleblower laws.  For example, any employee reporting illegal activity in the workplace is protected by the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) and other federal laws designed to encourage the identification of illegal activity without concern of retaliation.

 

There are many federal laws offering some form of security to employees for whistleblowing, but the complexity of these regulations make it important for you to contact an attorney to better understand your rights.

 

Some of the many laws and regulatory agencies within which whistleblower protections may apply include:

 

• Affordable Care Act – misconduct related to denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions or access to health insurance premium tax credits
• American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) – misuse of federal funds to stimulate the economy
• Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 – violations of consumer product safety
• False Claims Act – misconduct that defrauds the U.S. Treasury
• Food Safety Modernization Act – violations of food safety regulations
• Internal Revenue Service – tax law violations and underpayments
• Medicaid/Medicare fraud
• Sarbanes-Oxley – improper or misleading public company disclosures to the Securities and Exchange Commission
• Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 – protections for federal employees who become whistleblowers

 

We are here to help.  If you believe you have been the victim of whistleblower retaliation, please call or email us to set up a free, confidential consultation so that we may discuss your situation.  Immediate attention and reporting are crucial in any whistleblower case in order to protect your rights.  Our attorneys have extensive knowledge concerning the laws prohibiting whistleblower retaliation and we will work to remedy the discriminating conduct and protect your rights.

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