Hiring employees can be a good sign that your business is successful and growing. However, the more employees you hire, the more likely you are to face disputes that could hinder your company’s productivity and morale. At Sparks Law, our experienced attorneys often work with employers who encounter pay and discrimination complaints from their employees.
If you are in this situation, you may feel frustrated and eager to terminate troublemakers. Before taking any actions, contact an Atlanta employment disputes lawyer at our firm. We can provide employment contracts, a company policy handbook, severance agreements, and other documents to answer questions raised by disgruntled workers and help protect employers from regulatory agency accusations.
Because Georgia is an “at-will” state, local employers generally may terminate employees at any time with or without reason, as per Georgia Code Section 34-7-1. However, if an agreement specifies an employment term, the employer must honor it unless there are other provisions for terminating the employee, typically for cause.
Under Georgia law, there are several reasons for which an employee cannot be discharged. For instance, you cannot terminate an employee because the court garnishes their wages for child support, or because they are subject to a subpoena to appear in court. Additionally, an employer cannot settle employment disputes by creating a toxic environment and compelling the targeted employee to quit their job.
Disputes may arise if employees believe they are being discriminated against, or if an employer retaliates against employees who file discrimination complaints. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), several protected classes qualify for protection from discrimination. An employee cannot be targeted for or treated differently because of their:
All government employers and Georgia businesses employing at least 15 people must comply with EEOC rules. If a disgruntled employee files a complaint for workplace discrimination in Atlanta, a skilled employment disputes attorney at Sparks Law can represent the employer at an EEOC hearing or in court.
Disputes in the workplace often involve money, usually when an employee claims that their employer did not pay the full wages owed. According to the Georgia Department of Labor (DOL), the state’s minimum wage is $5.15 per hour. However, the federal minimum wage set by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is $7.25 per hour. Georgia employers must comply with the higher amount in most cases. If your Atlanta company faces wage disputes from an employee, an experienced lawyer can help you settle matters in civil court.
The EEOC also regulates complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace. These complaints can involve supervisors harassing employees, or supervisors failing to take action when an employee complains about harassment from a coworker. If a person witnesses conduct in the workplace that they find offensive, it could also fall under the category of sexual harassment.
Employers should have a protocol for handling harassment complaints from employees. It is important to have clear and transparent policies so employees know that management will handle any disputes that arise. The well-practiced attorneys at our Atlanta office can help draft an employee handbook that details how these types of employment disputes will be resolved.
Disputes are inevitable in the workplace. As an employer, your best bet for dealing with these issues is to be proactive. Distribute a comprehensive employee manual so everyone knows what behavior is and isn’t acceptable. Monitor your workplace for discriminatory and predatory actions, and document everything if an employee files a regulatory agency claim or lawsuit.
At Sparks Law, an Atlanta employment disputes lawyer can help you draft manuals, policies, employment agreements, and severance agreements to help diffuse problems before they go too far. If disputes go to court or the EEOC, our lawyers can represent you and ensure that your rights are protected. Call us today to learn how we can advocate for you.