Common Employment Law Disputes & Types of Employment Claims

male and female coworkersEmployment law disputes between employees and employers are not new. They have been happening ever since the concept of employment began. Today, there are courses of action available to both employees and employers to help settle disputes of all kinds. Here are some of the most common types of employment claims and disputes that occur.

Unfair Wages

Wages are one of the most common reasons of employee and employer disputes. Many companies implement strict review policies and pay increase schedules in order to minimize the chances for a wage dispute. Nevertheless, they continue to occur. Employees may fight against what they consider unfair wages that are not commensurate with the amount of work required to perform the job. They may challenge an employer’s wage-increase schedule, claiming that it doesn’t keep up with inflation. Other wage disputes have to do with non-competitiveness in the industry, or unfair wage deductions for things like uniforms or tools required for the job.


Sometimes, employees are delighted to know that overtime is available for their job. Overtime usually means paid time and a half, according to legal requirements. Other times, overtime means that an employee feels taken advantage of. When overtime is mandatory, or is not fairly — or legally — compensated, it can be a hot source of contention between employees and employers.

Physical Working Conditions

Decades ago, before the advent of employee protection laws in the U.S., workers were often forced to work in dangerous conditions. Those conditions jeopardized the health and security of the workers. Now, even though it’s assumed that working conditions are well-regulated, employees and employers often are at odds with regard to satisfactory working conditions. Problems often cited include:

  • Lack of adequate heating and/or air conditioning
  • Lack of proper ventilation
  • Lack of area for employees to go on short breaks
  • Inadequate signage for employees to avoid danger zones
  • Poor visibility

Emotional Duress

Another commonly cited reason for employee and employer disputes has to do with emotional duress. Employers are responsible for the mental and emotional comfort of their employees. Companies that overlook this important factor are likely to find themselves as the target of an employee complaint. Common complaints include things like being humiliated or berated at work, being punished excessively for minor infractions, being treated as less than equal among colleagues, being excluded from company events, and more.

Sexual Harassment

Another common reason for employment law disputes is sexual harassment. Employees who feel they are sexually objectified at work will frequently take action against employers. Sexual harassment can take many forms: employers may encourage the viewing of sexually charged videos at work as a form of entertainment, chastise employees who don’t dress in a sexual way, or make vague innuendos or jokes about their sexual intentions toward an employee. These are all situations that will likely culminate in an employment law claim. For all these disputes and more, there are steps that employees can take to defend themselves or change the workplace environment. Possible allies include employee unions, worker’s-compensation lawyers, and sexual-harassment attorneys, among others. If you find yourself a victim of your employer, seek assistance. There is help available.

Diana Tough

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