Employee Rights: When Facing Discipline By Dan Atkerson on March 01, 2017

Employee discipline is never a fun experience to go through. It can, however, be an effective means for improving performance, productivity, and motivation, when used correctly. Like it or not, when doing less than your employer expects of you means facing discipline, you’re more likely to complete the work they request. If used incorrectly, though, discipline can lead to legal problems.

Legal Rights of the Employee When Facing Discipline

  • Employment-at-will – Employers must ensure that all employees-at-will are aware of their relationship with their employer. Specifically, they must have clearly communicated that they, as the employer, have the right to terminate the working relationship at any time with or without notice. The reason for termination must be one that is legal and nondiscriminatory.
  • Consistent discipline – All forms of discipline employers impose must be done consistently across races, genders, and any other protected characteristics, such as disability. This means that the employer must punish the same misconduct in the same way consistently, regardless of who's punished.
  • Absences – Most companies discipline for absences that federal and state laws don't protect. Laws do protect family and medical leave, pregnancy leave, and military leave, to name the most common types. If an employer doles out punishment for these types of leave, they may be in violation of the law.
  • Union support – The National Labor Relations Act prohibits an employer from disciplining an employee based on whether they are part of a worker’s union.
Your company’s policy regarding employee discipline must conform to federal and state laws on the matter. For advice on whether to pursue a discrimination lawsuit, contact an experienced discrimination attorney.

Dan A. Atkerson is a Dallas employment lawyer who fights passionately on behalf of victims of workplace discrimination and other forms of workplace injustice.

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Dan Atkerson

Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson

Dan A. Atkerson has been protecting the rights of North Texas employees for over nearly four decades. He is affiliated with several prestigious legal organizations, including: 

  • United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit
  • State Bar of Texas
  • Texas Supreme Court and all Texas trial and appellate courts 
  • Texas federal courts for the Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • State Bar of Texas
  • Dallas Bar Association 

Through aggressive, knowledgeable representation, he has helped clients all over the state reach significant verdicts and settlements. To schedule your free consultation at our law firm, request an appointment online or call us at (214) 383-3606.

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