Kansas City is a thriving metropolis with a lot of great places to work. With more businesses starting every day, you may be considering moving to a startup or a small business—or to a larger company.
When things don’t go well on the job—either one you’ve worked in for many years or a new one you just started—don’t think that you don’t have any rights as an employee. You do.
Rights While You Are Working
You do have the right to time off, reasonable hours, privacy and to be paid a fair wage. The current minimum wage in Missouri is $7.85 an hour, more than the current federal wage of $7.25 per hour.
Overtime begins once you exceed 40 hours in a week’s time, which is one and a half times your regular hourly rate. Your employer can’t ask you to waive your right to overtime and be paid straight time. Some employers may find other ways to pay you overtime. Doing so is a wage violation and a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. You can file a complaint with the state.
The state of Missouri does not require employers to provide breaks (including lunch), vacation, sick time or personal time off. These are left to the discretion of the employer. (The exception is for workers under 16 in the entertainment industry.) An employer also cannot provide time off to one group of people, but not another one, if it’s based on race, gender, age, religion, etc.
What They Can’t Fire You For
Missouri is one of many “at-will” states that allow an employer to terminate your employment for any reason or without cause, (i.e., layoffs) so long as it’s not an illegal reason. Of course, knowing this, some employers will use a different reason for termination to avoid a discrimination action.
Federal and state laws prevent an employer from terminating your employment based on:
- National Origin
- Disability/medical condition
- Pay disputes
Of course, some companies will flout the law and fire you anyway. The Missouri Commission on Human Rights can investigate claims of discrimination or other mistreatment. You can file a claim on their website, within 180 days of the action.
Federal law also provides additional protection against these kinds of wrongful acts. And that’s also where the employment law attorneys at Popham can help.
Witnessing illegal, unsafe or other improper conditions at work can be disturbing—especially if you’ve reported it to a supervisor or manager and nothing has changed.
Confidentially reporting an unsafe condition, harassment or other illegal activity to a governmental agency may make the problem worse—and you could still lose your job or face retaliation, such as demotion or changes in assignments.
Whistleblowers are protected by state law in Missouri and in 2017, the law was updated as the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA), creating the “Whistle Blower Protection Act.” Employers are now held liable for violations, and employees can collect back pay as well as damages from $50,000 to $500,000. There is no cap on attorney’s fees.
There is also federal protection for whistleblowers.
If you are injured on the job, you are entitled to filing a claim for worker’s compensation benefits. Your employer cannot prevent you from filing a claim or receiving benefits.
Worker’s compensation covers medical and other related expenses as well as partial lost wages. For survivor’s families, it may mean compensation in a lump sum or a regular check. Don’t let an employer sway you against filing. If you’re being stalled by your employer, contact Popham for help.
Call the Employee Rights Attorneys at KC’s Popham Law
If you’ve been wrongfully terminated, experienced discrimination, sexual harassment or retaliation, or not paid for work performed, you may be able to take action against an employer. Popham Law has helped hundreds of employees who have been mistreated at the hands of an employer. Don’t accept wrongdoing or illegal activity as “part of the job.”
For a free consultation with the KC employment attorneys at Popham Law, contact our law office today at (844) 243-2288.