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Martin & Bonnett, Phoenix Employment Lawyers
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Layoffs, Severance and RIFs

Union and Nonunion Employee Rights

When an employer’s policies conflict with federal and state laws, they can pose a serious threat to employee rights. We can help protect your rights.

Many employers provide their employees with an employee manual or handbook that includes workplace policies that set forth expected behavior and procedures within the workplace. When an employer’s policies comply with federal and state laws, they are an effective tool from which all parties can benefit; when they do not, they can pose a serious threat to employee rights, including your ability to bring a claim in court, and in some cases can create a contract the the employee did not intend.

Rights to Present Grievances

If you believe you have been adversely affected by your employer’s misinterpretation or misapplication of a written company policy or collectively bargained agreement, you have the right to file a grievance.

Your employee manual may contain your company’s grievance procedure, which is a means of internal dispute resolution by which your grievance is to be addressed. Most collective bargaining agreements include procedures for filing and resolving grievances. Within a union environment, the processes will typically involve the employee, union representatives and members of the employer’s management team. 

In general, grievances are brought to your immediate supervisor, possibly in writing, using a grievance form. Your supervisor and, in a union setting, a union representative will review your grievance and determine that:

  • no valid grievance exists;
  • the grievance can be resolved to your satisfaction; or
  • the grievance probably cannot be resolved to your satisfaction, and it will move forward to the next step in the process.

Ultimately, if your grievance is found to be invalid, you have the right to challenge that finding through an administrative process or through the courts. If your grievance is found to be valid but is not resolved to your satisfaction, you can pursue your legal remedies.

Protection from Retaliation

Several federal and state laws protect employees against retaliation. If you were fired, demoted, or forced to resign, or if you suffered any other kind of adverse action because of a complaint you made at work, verbally or in writing, you may be a victim of unlawful retaliation. The same is true if you provided evidence or testimony in support of a co-worker’s claim.

Our employment attorneys represent workers who experienced unlawful retaliation for reporting their employer’s:

  • discrimination or harassment;
  • failure to pay required wages or overtime;
  • safety violations; and
  • illegal activity in the workplace.

Even if the reported issue is found not to be unlawful, your employer is still prohibited from retaliating against you, provided your report was made in good faith (i.e., you honestly believed that it was unlawful). In such retaliatory cases, you may still have a valid claim against your employer for discrimination, unpaid wages or other unlawful practices.

Union Organizations

In defending union employee rights, we have represented unions composed of truck drivers, laborers, physicians, and symphony orchestra musicians involved in collective bargaining agreements. In addition, we have represented clerical staff, airport employees, public employees, nurses and other professions who formed a bargaining group but are not considered a formal union.

Nonunion Organizations

Formal unionization is not required under federal labor laws. You have rights and protection under those laws whether your group is informally organized or is an official union.

We also protect clients on right-to-work matters. No employer can place a condition on employment that relates to membership or non-membership of a labor organization. Retaliation for requests regarding increased pay, reduced overtime and safety equipment violates federal law, and we will assist you in holding your employer accountable.

Similarly, union contracts cannot require membership as a condition of employment. Any acts of interference, retaliation or reprisal are a violation of employee rights.

Do You Have a Case?

Many employees may be unaware that they have a claim or do not know how to pursue a claim. Therefore, it is important to consult with an experienced employment law attorney to determine whether you have a claim and what your legal options are.

We Can Help. At Martin & Bonnett PLLC, we diligently defend the rights of our clients and hold employers accountable for unlawful employment practices.

Our extensive background gives us insight into analyzing your case to determine your rights and whether remedies are available without having to file a lawsuit. If that option is not available, we will discuss with you the possibility of filing a lawsuit against your employer.

For more information, contact us at 602-240-6900 or 800-952-4750, or use our convenient, confidential Contact Form.

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