An employee may file a legal claim against his employer if he feels the employer has violated or failed to protect his rights. If an employee feels discriminated against, feels harassed or suffers an injury while at work, the employer may be liable for damages and injuries. Whether the employer's actions are intentional or unintentional, many workers file lawsuits seeking compensation or remedy to the situation.
One of the most common workplace lawsuits is discrimination. Discrimination in the workplace is a violation of several state and federal laws including, the Civil Rights Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act. Discrimination involves unfair treatment because of a distinguishing characteristic such as gender, race, religious background or disability. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission receives and investigates discrimination cases and provides workers with the resources to file a discrimination lawsuit against an employer.
Victims of harassment in the workplace often file lawsuits against their employers. Harassment may come from a manager or supervisor, a co-worker, contract employee or a client or customer. Harassment is often of a sexual nature such as inappropriate comments or touching, but the harassment may also involve workplace violence or bullying. Employees might file a lawsuit if the employer was aware of the situation and failed to remedy the harassing behavior.
Some employers face lawsuits due to workplace injuries. Work-related injuries are very common. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 3.2 million work-related injuries and illnesses were reported in 2009. Employers purchase liability and worker's compensation insurance to pay expenses of a employee injured on the job. Employers are usually sued if they challenge a worker's compensation claim or if the employer's negligence or intentional action led to the worker's injury.
Read More: What Is Considered Workplace Harassment?
Many workplace lawsuits are the result of the wrongful termination of an employee. Wrongful termination occurs when a worker is fired or laid off unlawfully. For example, if a manager fires an employee as retaliation because the worker filed a legitimate complaint, this is considered wrongful termination. Victims who file suit for wrongful termination may collect compensation including lost wages and possibly punitive damages if the situation is severe.
Sherrie Scott is a freelance writer in Las Vegas with articles appearing on various websites. She studied political science at Arizona State University and her education has inspired her to write with integrity and seek precision in all that she does.