Under the best of circumstances, an employer-employee relationship is one that is mutually beneficial and healthy, involving the performance of a specified series of services in exchange for payment of an agreed-upon wage.
The regrettable truth of the matter, however, is that such arrangements do not always go as expected, and employers refuse or fail to fulfill the terms of the agreement or engage in conduct that is prohibited by law.
If your employment situation has taken a turn for the worse, and you feel you may be entitled to compensation, a Kentucky employment lawyer can help. Call today to discuss your claim with an experienced employment lawyer with our firm.
Broadly speaking, the law in Kentucky is drafted in a manner favorable to employers. That is not to say that aggrieved employees do not have any means of recourse when treated inappropriately or unfairly in the workplace.
A series of federal and state laws govern relationships of this type, and employers within Kentucky are also required to follow any municipal regulations that may impact their enterprises.
The important thing for employees to remember is that they have a clear set of rights upon which employers must not infringe, and they have the option to pursue legal remedies with the assitance of a Kentucky employment lawyer in the event they do.
A whole host of employee protections are codified by Kentucky Revised Statutes Chapter 344, also referred to as the Kentucky Civil Rights Act. Applicable to those who employ at least eight employees or 15 or more for claims related to disabilities, the legislation serves to prohibit discrimination due to factors such as national origin, race, religious preferences, gender, age and the like.
Sexual harassment is also barred by the Act, and while there is no state law forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation, there are numerous locales within the state that have enacted their own regulations in that realm.
According to the Kentucky Civil Rights Act, there is no limit on the damages a plaintiff employee may recover, though punitive damages are not permitted. Furthermore, it is possible for a manager or fellow employee to be held personally liable for a claim of retaliation. There is a five-year statute of limitations for initiating litigation pursuant to the Act, and Kentucky has none of the procedural hurdles common in many other states in that claimants need not file with the EEOC or similar body prior to launching a lawsuit.
As is the case in virtually all other jurisdictions, Kentucky has promulgated rules regarding minimum wages paid to employees, maximum hours to be worked before overtime must be paid, mandatory break periods, compulsory record keeping and more. Kentucky Revised Statutes §337.275 fixes the minimum wage at $7.25 per hour, subject to increase if and when the federal minimum wage is increased.
Pay must be rendered no less than twice per month and any deductions from wages must be in compliance with applicable regulations at the local, state and federal level. Failure to pay employees in accordance with these rules can result in civil penalties for employers.
Kentucky Revised Statutes §337.285 provides that covered employees working over 40 hours in a single workweek must be paid at a rate of no less than 1 ½ times the normal hourly rate for each hour in excess of that threshold.
Employers must also provide employees with a reasonable lunch break at a time near the mid-point of their scheduled shift as well as a period of rest for every four hours worked.
In addition to wage and hour violations and unlawful discrimination, there are a number of other ways in which employers in Kentucky can run afoul of the law and make themselves vulnerable to costly employee claims.
Violations of federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) rules and of state safety provisions, for instances, can lead to legal action if an injury or death results.
Violations of employee rights to certain types of leave, including that related to jury duty, military service, voting, adoption and work as an emergency responder can also create employer liability.
Unjust treatment by an employer can leaving any type of worker feeling helpless due to the inherent power imbalance at play. Fortunately, the law protects employees from being deprived of the wages, working conditions and fair treatment they deserve. If you have been wronged on the job and wish to explore legal options, a Kentucky employment lawyer is the ally you need.