Brian K. Jackson, LLC
A Utah Employment Law Firm
Employment Law in Utah
Employment Law Advocacy
Our Utah Employment Law Firm helps in all areas of employment law in Utah, including, work-place discrimination, unpaid wages and overtime, whistleblower claims, employment-related independent workplace investigations, representations for Utah and federal public employee disciplinary and termination procedures, business consultations on employment issues and questions, drafting and review of employee handbooks and non-compete and severance agreements.
Employment law deals with various areas of law including wrongful termination based on discrimination of a protected class including race, religion, disability, ethnic origin, age, maternity, gender and sexual harassment. Our employment lawyer also deals with retaliation for reporting misconduct such as loss in job promotion or benefits, harassment and hostile work environment or based on an with a protected class. We also focus on lost overtime and help individuals and companies determine if employees are exempt employees from overtime use or not as some employees aren’t exempt but don’t get paid overtime.
We can help employees and employers ensure that their rights and interests are protected and review your case to determine what are the best options for you moving forward with your legal matter. These cases can be very complex given the high-amount of factual detail they can contain spanning over a high-amount of time. However, we ensure that we give each case the time and attention they deserve to make sure that your best interests are protected. These cases can also be harder to prove than other types of civil claims.
As to discrimination, the individual must show that the discrimination was motivated at least in part by a protected class which can include wrongful termination in Utah. Even if you are at-will, if the termination was based on a protected class, then the termination can still be unlawful. A protected class includes discrimination based on gender, religion, race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, sex as well as maternity status.
Many times discrimination can be subtle and many circumstantial factors are needed to prove work-place discrimination. This can include whether or not other were treated differently in the work-place, for the better or for the worse. This can also include whether or not certain promotions or benefits or disciplinary action is treated the same as to other instances. Our employment attorney can also help navigate the complexities as it relates to those claims.
A company cannot disqualify a job applicant, lower their hours, not promote them, terminate them or harass them in any other way due to their race.
Under discrimination based on religion, a company is required to reasonably accommodate an individual based on their religious beliefs. For example, if an individual’s religion requires them to observe a specific day of the week or holiday, the company must reasonably accommodate them and allow them to observe that day.
These legal claims include sexual harassment at work and in the workplace and we are experienced in navigating those claims including sexual harassment that contain serious allegations such as sexual battery and assault.
These claims also include disability discrimination such as a failure to accommodate an individual under the Americans with Disability Act of 1990. Companies are required to accommodate employees with their disabilities when it is not an undue hardship on the company. Companies are also required to engage in a non-discriminatory good-faith interaction with the employee once they are put on notice of the disability.
Harassment in the work-place can also lead to a claim but the harassment has to be so adverse and severe and pervasive, that it as a result alters the terms and conditions of employment. As a result, harassment must be to pervasive and adverse and severe that the severity thereof changes the terms and conditions of employment as it relates to a safe working environment. Sometimes one-time incidents may not be enough to prove harassment. Also Human Resources or a supervisor need to be put on notice of the harassment to allow them to fix the situation. If it is reported and nothing is done, the company can be held liable.
Gender discrimination is also quite prevalent in Utah. Many female employees in Utah are not promoted or receive lower pay and are treated differently only because they are female. A failure to properly pay a female employee the same as similar employees with the same job is not only discrimination under Title VII of the civil rights act, but it is also a violation of the federal Equal Pay Act law.
There is also age discrimination which exists in Utah. Age discrimination applies to individuals that are 40 years or older and they are adversely affected by their employment either through a failure to promote, a demotion, a loss in hours or termination. Age Discrimination is governed under federal law with the Age Discrimination Employment Act.
Retaliation is when an individual is part of a complaint or investigation regarding discrimination and the business starts to adversely affect the individual’s hours, promotions, bonuses or harass the individual in other ways and or terminated them due to that person’s participation in the complaint either as the complainant, the accused or a witness.
There are a few hoops that an individual needs to jump through for claims of discrimination except for Age Discrimination. All other types of discrimination requires an individual to file a complaint with the Utah Labor Division or with the federal Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The complaint must be filed within 180 days with Utah of the last known act or 300 days with the EEOC. If you are a federal employee, you go through a different administrative process and must contact your EEO counselor within 30 days of the discriminatory act.
Unpaid wages and overtime
Wage claim relates to an employees failure to pay an employee their compensation due including bonuses.
Wage pay and overtime issues are can also be complicated cases which our Utah Employment Law firm can help guide you through. The issue can hinge on whether or not that particular position is considered an “exempt” or “non-exempt” position. Meaning, was the employee a person that fell under the category of exempt from overtime pay or not as to duties and responsibilities. Sometimes there may be an overreach as to duties and responsibilities to avoid paying employees overtime pay.
Employees also can’t be terminated or retaliated against for raising a wage-claim issue to the attention of their employees regarding their pay or on behalf of someone else.
If the wage claim is less than $10,000 an employee can file a claim with the Utah Labor Division. If it exceeds $10,000 then you will need to file a suit in state court. An attorney can help guide you through either process. An individual that prevails on a wage claim can also recover their attorney fees as well as lost interest on their wages.
Our employment attorney can help you determine whether or not you may or may not have a valid claim as it relates to overtime pay and wages.
Public employee procedure
There are also other Utah law employment issues that may arise in the workplace, including workplace investigations and administrative reviews and procedures. We deal with administrative reviews and procedures as it relates to public employment at both the state and federal level. Public employees can have more rights to their employment than as it is tied to their right to property under the constitution.
Employees are allowed what is known as a Loudermill hearing where typically they are allowed to a pre-termination hearing and a termination hearing before they can be terminated, as well as a review of the evidence to be used against them.
As a result, there are certain procedural safeguards that need to be kept in place before an individual can adversely affect one’s employment.
We also help Utah teachers and educators and other licensed employees with ethics violations and procedures and investigations regarding their licenses such as investigations with the Utah Board of Education with the Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission (UPPAC).
Whistleblower claim in Utah
We also help handle whistleblower issues for employees in Utah. An employee cannot be terminated if they report a legal or ethical issue or refuse to do something legal or ethical. Typically, an individual must report the issue to an outside entity or agency to have protection such as with the department of occupation health UOSH, (Utah Occupation of Safety and Health) on the state level or with NIOSH or OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). on the federal level. It can also include complaints to federal environment entities or regulatory entities such as the SEC or the IRS as well as complaints to law enforcement personnel or if it was a wage-claim issue.
In some circumstances, depending on who the complaint was made to internally and the position held, one you as an Utah employee also be protected from retaliation and wrongful termination if you reported the issue to a high officer within the company and was terminated.
There is also protection under Utah law under wrongful termination if the termination was a matter of public policy even if it wasn’t reported to an outside source. This can include the exercise of one’s right such as right to self-defense or attempting to exercise one’s rights to worker’s compensation.
Other civil and legal issues that may arise in the workplace
There are other civil issues that can arise within the utah workplace for employment law such as slander / libel and defamation claims that relate to a company defaming an individual’s good-name and reputation. There are also claims as it relates to injurious falsehood and intentional interference with economic relations. Our employment attorney ensures that all rights are safeguarded and that there is a proper remedy for any violation of any civil, federal or state rights as it relates to Utah employment law.
Independent Work-Place Investigations
We pride ourselves on the quality and detail of our internal investigations here in Utah. Our Utah Employment Firms investigates all matters related to employment whether or not they be complaints made internally such as to Human Resources with a public or private entity, including claims of sexual harassment, race, disability, age, maternity discrimination, as well as investigations related to potential criminal or racketeering activity including embezzlement and fraud and other potential civil liabilities within the workplace.
With public entities we know how to handle civil rights actions and potential liabilities with federal lawsuits under 1983 claims. We know the additional rights that public employees have in the workplace compared to private employees and possible liabilities entities may face based on a specific incident or future incidents based on how things are .
We also do internal investigations or audits without a complaint or without an incident to ensure that the current internal structure and atmosphere of the business is adequate if a complaint is filed and the company knows how to properly handle the situation. We can help businesses deter the potential liability that may come from a lawsuit before they happen.
We stay neutral and base our findings only on the facts to ensure a fair assessment is made to both sides. A fair report is necessary to ensure the business and the employee understand the strengths and weaknesses of a claim and help the parties better know what actions need to be taken as a result of a complaint to resolve and or deter any future incidents from occurring.
Utah Business consultations and advisory on employment law
We would love to talk to you about your business and its current environment. The best way to avoid liability is to have a plan to mitigate any risk before it happens. It is a complex approach. It is something that just can’t be taught in a yearly training video or through reading an employee handbook.
Every business is different and there is an approach, attitude and environment that ensures that liability will be reduced. We offer our consultation services to help provide the best employment environment for employers.
Our unique approach and style in consultation also focuses on general business advice coupled with the employees in mind on how to grow one’s business. As an employment law firm, we know and see how important and vital employees are to a company and we help businesses ensure that employees are happy and comfortable in the workplace that leads to greater productivity and growth.
A good business that knows how to manage its employees will receive a much greater edge than other competing businesses. We can also help train staff and facilities such as Human Resources and or supervisors and managers as the best methods and approaches to personnel management and risk management. We would love to help your business be employee prepared.
We also help draft employee handbooks for companies. Each company is different in how they do business, their mission plan and the size of their company. We take a unique approach to employee handbooks along with business consultations to help employers know the best way to handle employee relationships and issues in the employee workplace.
How a business handles its employee relationships relates directly to the growth and progress of the business. A lot of employee handbooks have the bare minimum that means little to nothing when it really counts. We ensure that not only the company has an effective employee handbook that relates to the specific needs of the company, but ensure that the proper personnel and training are implemented for the most effective way to address issues and deter liability and growth for a healthy, thriving business.
Non-compete and severance agreements, employment contracts
We also help companies and employers draft non-compete agreements, severance agreements and employment contracts as well as offer advice on those agreements and when they should or should not be implemented. We also help draft and negotiate employment contracts on behalf of employers and offer advice on employment contracts and how they are important in the work-place.
Contact Our Utah Law Firm
Brian K. Jackson, LLC
503 W. 2600 S. Suite 200
Bountiful, UT 84010