Employment Law

As an employee advocate while helping businesses understand the strategic benefits of helping their employees navigate the workplace, our employment practice can be divided into two parts. First, by focusing on replacing symptomatic responses with equity, inclusion and collaborative principles, we assist the employer to improve its workplace. From an employer’s perspective, we help create, review, and revise employee policies, guidelines, handbooks, non-compete agreements, severance agreements and executive compensation agreements.

We assist the employer with creating a workplace culture that supports employees and the employer’s business model. Being MD-110 Certified, Attorney Edwards can assist employers with performing workplace investigations. We consider ourselves an HR and legal partner as we leverage our business experience for the employee and the employer on employment issues to reduce workplace litigation, workplace risk and preservation of a company’s anti-retaliatory and anti-discriminatory culture.

Second, as it relates to employment law claims, we primarily represent the employee. From an individual, employee’s perspective, we represent individuals who have been wronged in the workplace whether because of their race, color, religion, gender, sex, national origin or other protected category that rises to the level of a violation of the law.

Many of these claims are referred to by their statutory acronyms like:

  • Title VII

    This refers to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or sex. This law also protects employees against retaliation in the workplace.

  • ADEA

    This refers to the Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967, commonly referred to as the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA), which makes it illegal to discriminate against employees and job applicants who are 40 years of age or older and extends additional employment rights that are not included in Title VII to protect against age discrimination.

  • ADA

    This refers to the Americans with Disabilities Act, which makes it illegal to discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities in the hiring and various other phases of an individual’s employment, including termination of an individual’s employment.

  • PDA

    The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is an amendment to Title VII and forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment.

  • NLRA

    The NLRA is a federal law that grants employees the right to organize; engage in protected, concerted activities to address or improve working conditions.

  • REDA

    REDA stands for Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act which is a statute that protects employees who engage in one of the “protected activities” under the statute (the law) from retaliation. Some of the protected activities involve a wide number of areas and individuals, including wage and hour issues, workplace safety rights, including workers’ compensation complaints and inquiries, mine safety and health, and sickle cell and hemoglobin C carriers. REDA also applies to areas covering genetic testing, National Guard service, juvenile justice system, domestic violence, pesticide exposure and employees reporting activities of their employers under the Paraphernalia Control Act.

  • Section 1981

    While not as simple as set out here, this law gets its name from the section of the US Code. Section 1981 protects against both direct racial discrimination and retaliation based on complaints of racial discrimination.

  • Section 1983

    Similar to Section 1981, this is a civil rights law. This law gives an individual the right to sue state government employees and others acting under “color of state law” for civil rights violations. However, there is no private right of action and rights guaranteed by state law cannot be the basis of a Section 1983 claim. Only federal rights are protected by this law. The law itself does not create liability, but rather acts as a means to enforce other existing rights and there has to be an underlying violation of another federal law.

    For example, if you have been discriminated against on the basis of the first amendment, that would be an underlying federal law upon which an individual might bring a section 1983 claim.

These are just a few of the more common laws that can form the basis of a legal theory or claim.

Other examples of our individual clients include employees who have been discriminated against based on their pregnancy or disability. One might bring a claim on the basis of a disability under the ADA and one might bring a claim on the basis of pregnancy discrimination under the PDA. In addition, we help people who believe they have suffered a wrong in the workplace in retaliation to their exercising of a lawful right. These are known as retaliation claims based on engaging in “protected activity” in the workplace. And often times, there may be a wrongful termination claim in violation of public policy. For more information on these and other types of claims, contact our office to learn if you have a claim that warrants our legal review.

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We are sensitive to the issues many continue to face during these reflective times. We remain committed to serving our client's needs and managing expectations in light of the challenges posed by COVID-19. As a provider of legal services, our offices remain open with office hours of 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, excepting certain holidays; however, some of our operations and activities have been modified as we implement new technologies and virtual options to meet our staffing and client needs. Be well...