Employees and employers can face various employment disputes, from breach of contract allegations to workplace discrimination. Employment disputes can also involve unsafe working conditions, wage and hour violations, and partnership disputes. Whether you’re an employee or an employer, consulting with an attorney can help you understand your legal options and protect your rights.
Jones Gregg Creehan Gerace has extensive experience representing Pittsburgh-area employees and employers in various employment dispute cases. Our commercial litigators have an in-depth understanding of Pennsylvania and federal laws related to employment disputes. We use our knowledge and experience to represent our client’s best interests and pursue the best outcome possible in their case. Contact Jones Gregg Creehan Gerace to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more.
Employment Contract Disputes
Employers commonly require new employees to sign contracts before working for the company. Employment contracts define the terms and conditions of employment, including the rights and responsibilities of the employer and the employee. Conflicts regarding the terms of the employment contract can lead to disputes. Employees may claim that their employers terminated their employment in breach of their employment contract.
These types of disputes are called wrongful termination cases. Other employment contract disputes involve non-compete agreements. An employer may require an employee to sign a non-compete agreement prohibiting the employee from competing against the employer if he or she stops working for the company. Non-compete agreements are not always enforceable, especially if they are overly broad and restrictive.
Disputes Related to Employment Discrimination
Pittsburgh employers are required to abide by local, state, and federal anti-discrimination laws. These laws protect employees from discrimination and harassment. Unlawful discrimination involves making adverse employment decisions based on an employee’s membership in a protected class, such as age, gender, religion, gender expression, pregnancy, disability, and national origin. When an employee believes he or she has been discriminated against, the employee should file a claim with the company’s human resources department.
When the employer fails to adequately stop the discrimination from occurring, the employee can pursue a legal claim through the governing state or federal anti-discrimination agency or an employment lawsuit. Employers can decrease the likelihood of employment disputes related to discrimination by establishing employee handbooks and setting up and enforcing harassing and bullying policies.
Another major area of employment disputes involves hostile work environment claims. For example, if an employee’s supervisor continues making sexually-based comments or soliciting sexual favors, employees may have a valid claim against their employer. Even if the employee hasn’t lost his or her job, he or she can still pursue a claim for compensation. Employees can also pursue a claim against the employer for allowing a hostile work environment. A hostile work environment could involve pervasive sexual harassment or harassment based on the employee’s membership in another protected class.
Disputes related to an employee’s wages and benefits are also common. Wages should be agreed upon before the employment contract is signed. An employee may claim that his or her employer isn’t paying the salary that the employer guaranteed the employee. Employers may be in violation of state and federal law by not paying employees minimum wages. Another type of wage dispute involves worker misclassification. For example, when an employer wrongly classifies an employee as a contractor instead of someone employed by the business, the employee can pursue a claim against the attorney.
Severance agreements are employment contracts employees sign when they leave employment. Employees must sign a non-disclosure or non-compete agreement in exchange for a lump sum or other benefits. When contracts are overly vague or otherwise legally unenforceable, disputes can arise. Seeking legal guidance before signing a severance agreement can help employees understand their rights and the potential complications associated with the contract. Employers benefit from working with experienced attorneys who can help them draft thorough and legally enforceable severance agreements.
In some cases, disputes between partners can arise. Even when business partners start off sharing a common vision and goals for their company, as set in a partnership agreement, the day-to-day stresses of managing a company can result in conflict between business partners. Disputes can arise over wrongful activity, misappropriated funds, and conflict over responsibilities related to day-to-day operations. Many disputes involve simple disagreements related to best practices for running the company.
When partners can’t resolve conflicts, the dispute can result in one partner pursuing a lawsuit against another partner for breach of fiduciary duty. The best solution is for partners to resolve conflicts before they escalate into litigation. When resolving the issues out-of-court isn’t possible, the attorneys at Jones Gregg Creehan Gerace are prepared to represent you in court.
Businesses and independent contractors rely on their right to own and use their intellectual property. For many, their entire career is built upon their intellectual property, allowing them to obtain continued revenue and financial stability. Trade secrets are a type of intellectual property and include confidential business information that gives you an edge against other companies in the same industry.
Businesses and individuals can also trademark words, symbols, and colors that differentiate their brand from competitors. Copyrights allow individuals and businesses the sole right to sell intellectual property, such as graphic arts, books, and software. Finally, patents protect intellectual property owners from others stealing and using their ideas. Disputes can arise when a competitor uses another party’s intellectual property in violation of their rights. In some cases, employees will attempt to use the intellectual property they created while working for their employer. These cases could result in an intellectual property dispute between an employee and an employer or former employer.
Discuss Your Employment Dispute Issue with a Business Litigation Attorney
If you’re facing one or more employment dispute issues discussed above, Jones Gregg Creehan Gerace is here to help. Our commercial attorneys will help you understand your legal options and take steps to protect yourself and your interests. We represent employees and employers involved in various types of employment disputes in Pittsburgh and throughout Pennsylvania. Contact Jones Gregg Creehan Gerace to schedule a free case evaluation to learn more.