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Employment Law

Labor & Employment Litigation

One of the most intricate fields in law is employment and labor. This is because employment and labor laws cover a broad area which includes the duties and rights of both employers and employees. While some laws protect the interest of the workers, others protect the interest of the employers, hence making the labor and employment litigation a rather complicated area.

Due to the complicated nature of the labor and employment laws, you need a qualified and experienced lawyer to defend you or your company, if you find yourself in such a scenario.

The claims involved in labor and employment litigation include, without limitation, the following:

  • Wages and hours

  • Discrimination and Wrongful Termination, and

  • Breach of Employment Contract

Wage And Hour Claims

Most wage and hour claims are filed when the employer fails to compensate the worker for the overtime hours, or when they fail to pay the minimum wage. Different states have their laws regarding overtime pay and wages. In the state of Michigan, the minimum wage is 9.45 dollars per hour while the overtime pay is at least $14.18. An employee in Michigan is entitled to overtime pay of at least 1.5 times their regular hourly wage for the entire extra hours of work.

It is worth noting that the nonexempt workers are the ones eligible for overtime pay. This is according to the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the federal body that is responsible for setting the federal minimum wage. The FLSA is the body responsible for grouping employees as either exempt or nonexempt workers. FLSA also governs issues to do with child labor.

Discrimination And Wrongful Termination

Discrimination Claims

The two most common types of discrimination at the place of work are retaliation and harassment. Even though it is illegal to discriminate against people based on their place of birth or any aspect of their life other than their qualifications, employers still use these and many factors to discriminate against their workers.

According to federal law, any unwelcome behavior based on color, race, sex, national origin, religion, genetic information or disability surmounts to harassment. Most times, the culprit is the manager or a co-worker. As a victim, you can file charges against the culprit if the employer fails to take action.

Retaliation happens when an employer fires an employee as punishment for filing discrimination charges against them or any workmate. For example, a worker can file a harassment claim against the employer. As retaliation, the employer may decide to fire them. When this happens, the fired worker has the right to sue the employer for retaliation.

Other cases when a worker can file retaliation charges include when an employer denies them a promotion or when they demote them. Discrimination is not only a societal issue but also a law issue. Do not suffer in silence, get in touch with our attorneys and get justice.

Discrimination Claims

Employment in Michigan happens “at-will”, meaning that in

the absence of an employment contract, the employer or

employee can bring to an end an employment at any given

time. Due to the nature of “at-will” jobs in Michigan, it can be

difficult for an employee to file for wrongful termination.

There are, however, some cases where the worker can claim a

wrongful termination of their services; if an employee is fired

due to their race, religion or any discriminatory factor. Also,

employees can be fired as punishment for exercising their

rights as employees or in cases where the employer breaches

the contract.

As mentioned above, discriminating against an employee

based on any factor is against federal, as well as, Michigan

state laws. With expertise assistance from our attorneys, rest assured, your case is in safe hands.

Breach of Contract in Employment

There are 3 types of employment contracts in Michigan; oral, written and implied.

Oral and written contracts happen when an employer promises, by word of mouth (verbal) or in writing, not to fire you without a valid reason for a specified period.

An implied contract is where an employer behaves in a way to show that the employee will continue to be employed. An example of an implied contract is when an employer tells an employee that they will not lose their job as long as they keep performing well.

As an employee, you can sue your employer for breach of contract if they fire you without a valid reason.

Other Claims In Employment And Labor Litigation

Apart from the claims mentioned above, labor and employment litigation also involves the following claims:

Entitlement to employee benefits: Employee benefits are the other things of value, apart from salary, that an employee receives as appreciation for their work. However, benefits are only mandatory if stipulated in the state or federal law. Examples of employee benefits include leaves, insurance, and retirement plans.

Confidential information: Employees have the right to confidentiality when it comes to vulnerable details concerning them. The same applies to sensitive business information in which the owner has a right to confidentiality.

Unfair competition: Our attorneys have experience in dealing with unfair competition claims, which revolve around issues like trade secrets, employment procedures, and restrictive covenants.

Workplace safety violations: Under both federal and state laws, employers are required to provide a safe working environment for their employees. As an employee, you have the liberty to refuse to work if the working conditions are not favorable.

Defamation: Defamation occurs when an employer makes a false claim about the employee, thereby tarnishing their reputation.


Whistleblower Representation

The attorneys of John R. Foley, P.C. provide representation both to companies looking to put in a place a strong protocol for dealing legally and ethically with whistle blowers and to individual whistle blowers who either need representation or want the best possible chance of their complaint being followed upon by the United States Securities & Exchange Commission.

Who Is A Whistle blower?

Anyone who reports the unlawful actions of a company to the relevant authorities is known as a whistle blower or a ‘realtor’. Whistle blowers who are employed by the company report to the authorities risk retaliation including even the loss of their employment. The employer retaliation can also be in the form of demotion, suspension, denial of benefits or pay, or any other threat.

Types Of Misconduct To Report

Anyone who reports the unlawful actions of a company to the relevant authorities is known as a whistle blower or a ‘realtor’. Whistle blowers who are employed by the company report to the authorities risk retaliation including even the loss of their employment. The employer retaliation can also be in the form of demotion, suspension, denial of benefits or pay, or any other threat.

Damages For Whistle blowing Claims

The compensation you collect after winning a whistle blowing case depends on how strong the claim was as well as the basis of the claim. Most of the time, whistle blowers ask for the following after winning the suit.

Back pay: Also known as lost wages, this is the pay and benefits the whistle blower missed after wrongful dismissal from work.

Out-of-pocket losses: You incur these costs because of losing your job. They include the costs of looking for new employment, as well as the court costs and fees paid to the attorneys

Front pay: Also known as reinstatement. Front payment is whereby you ask the court to either give you back your job or pay for the wages you will lose until you find new employment.

Punitive damages: These are damages meant to punish the employer for their wrong.

Pain and suffering damages: At times, the court can award the whistle blower damages to cover for the suffering they endured in the course of the case. The pain and suffering may be emotional, physical or both.

Fee: In some cases, the whistle blower can receive a special payment or bounty as an appreciation for protecting the public from harm. The fee might be a certain percentage of the entire sanction or any amount calculated by the court or the statute. Our attorneys will explain everything to you, including the amount of money to expect to win in your case.

Whistle blower Attorney Fees

If you win a whistle blower case, you do not have to pay for the attorney fees as the whistle blower laws cater to them. For instance, the False Claim Act offers reasonable fees for the whistle blower's lawyers as well as any costs incurred throughout the case. This is in addition to the compensation as stipulated in the judgment.

However, in case the case settles instead of going through litigation, you do not have to worry as most attorneys handle cases on a contingency basis. The contingency basis means that the attorneys will cater to any costs in the course of the case, and once you win the case, you pay back the costs as well as the fees. The whistle blower agrees to pay a certain percentage of their award if they win the case. In case they do not win, they do not pay.

Depending on the circumstances of the claim, the percentage to be deducted from the award varies. However, in most cases, the whistle blower pays the attorneys 35% to 40% of their entire award.

Following a law that was espoused by Congress in 2018, the attorney’s fees in whistle blower cases ended up exempted from tax. The law stipulates that the fee, which is deducted from the realtor's reward, is derived from the taxes which the whistle blower owes on the award.

Thanks to the Bipartisan Act of the year 2018, whistle blower awards are regarded as deductions above the line. This means that there are no taxes on the attorney’s fees. With our dedicated team of lawyers, you can be sure to get the highest reward for your whistle blower case. Our team of highly professional lawyers has the necessary experience to ensure you get the most out of your claim.

As you prepare to make your disclosure, keep in mind the provisions that relate to confidentiality. This will help you prevent a counter lawsuit from your employer. Your employer may sue you for the disclosure of their confidential information so tread carefully. If you doubt, reach out to us and have our attorneys offer you corporate and business advice. We have experience in dealing with whistle blower cases so you can rest assured that you are in safe hands.

Whistleblower Protection & Anonymity

Blowing the whistle on any illegal activity is for the benefit of the whole society. Numerous state and federal laws protect the whistle blowers and their valuable contribution to society.

One of the strongest protections for whistle blowers, however, is anonymity. The SEC Whistle blower anonymity rules are extremely strict and provide excellent protection for whistle blowers who do not want their employer—or even the SEC—to know who they are. Hiring an experienced SEC Whistle blower attorney is the best way for a whistle blower to take advantage of the SEC’s anonymity protections. The attorney interacts with the agency on the whistle blower's behalf and adds an extra layer of protection for the whistle blower.

Whistle blowers’ Protection Act (WPA) And Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA)

In addition to the SEC’s rules, the Whistle blowers’ Protection Act (WPA) and Whistle blower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) protect whistle blowers against any form of retaliation from their employer. These acts also protect employees who testify against their employer in a court of law.

The WPA was passed by Congress in 1989 and strengthened in 2012 by the WPEA to protect whistle blowers, prevent reprisals and to curb wrongdoing in the government corridors. The acts stipulate the procedure for reporting wrongdoing as well as workplace retaliation.

Opting to blow the whistle on a large, publicly-traded company can be a frightening and stressful decision—even more so if that company is also the whistle blower's employer. The decision should not be undertaken lightly. John R. Foley, P.C. takes a thoughtful and holistic approach to represent whistle blowers with the dual goals of effectively bringing wrongdoing to the government’s attention while also staunchly protecting the whistle blower's identity and interests.

Conversely, experience in representing whistle blowers translates into practical, substantive knowledge of how companies can improve their methods of dealing with whistle blowers—both before and after wrongdoing is reported to the government. Companies seeking to improve their compliance with SEC regulations or companies that have already found themselves dealing with whistle blowers can rely on John R. Foley, P.C. for timely and thoughtful legal counsel. The firm’s attorneys provide counsel on addressing wrongdoing with the SEC, if necessary, and how to work with internal whistle blowers in ways that both comply with SEC regulations and effectively resolve the whistle blower complaints.

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