Employment & Labor Law

Navigating Employment And Labor Law

Working professionals and business leaders alike rely on strong laws to help them protect their rights in the marketplace. At Maya Murphy, we have experienced attorneys who can step in to assist on both sides of the employment relationship. Our firm focuses on cultivating informed clients who can feel confident moving forward with their cases. In matters of work, one of the most important things to know is the distinction between employment and labor law in New York and Connecticut.

Generally, employment law covers issues of a direct relation between employers and employees, while labor law addresses relationships involving third-party unions. Both, however, can deal with a wide range of potential conflicts over things like:

  • Employee Discipline
  • Offer Letters and Separation Agreements
  • Wrongful Termination
  • Restrictive Covenants
  • Statutory Schemes

Employment and Labor Law Attorneys for New York and Connecticut

At the outset, it is important to draw a distinction between “employment law” and “labor law.” At the risk of oversimplification, the experienced attorneys at Maya Murphy offer knowledge to our clients that employment law deals with the direct relationship between an employer and an employee. Labor law deals with the indirect relationship between an employer and employee through the intermediary of a labor union. Our attorneys offer legal assistance in the following in New York City and Connecticut employment and labor law matters:

  • Employee Discipline
  • Offer Letters and Separation Agreements
  • Restrictive Covenants
  • Statutory Scheme
  • Labor Law

Employment Law

There are numerous statutes governing the employer-employee relationship, most notably those that prohibit discrimination in the workplace. Those apply irrespective of whether or not an employee is represented by a union. In the union shop, however, there is an additional, overarching, and particularized statutory scheme prescribing the interactions among employer, employee, and union.

Such things as employee discipline, for example, ordinarily a management prerogative, will be covered in exquisite detail in a CBA, typically in the form of a multi-tiered grievance procedure.

If there is no union in place, then the employer and employee need only be concerned with the panoply of “other” statutes and case law that govern workplace behavior—no easy task.

Labor Law

The first level of inquiry in a labor law matter is whether or not a union is involved. In the non-union setting, an employee interacts directly with an employer regarding an increase in salary, increase in overtime, better health insurance, etc. The process is relatively unstructured. In the union setting, the union is the employee’s exclusive representative concerning wages, hours, benefits, or other terms and conditions of employment. The respective rights and obligations are set forth in a contract between the employer and union called a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The CBA attempts to define the relationship between the employer and the employees in a particular “bargaining unit” (an employer may have one or more such units).

Unions, through collective bargaining agreements, set strict and universal terms between workers and employers. When they are not involved, any number of direct arrangements and policies may be in play. Either scenario presents unique challenges, and each has a different type of complexity.

That is why representation is so crucial. It can be the difference between fair compensation and lost wages, or between a business’s success and failure. Maya Murphy’s experience and diverse knowledge of both labor and employment relations are key to our history of resolving these matters effectively. Let us put those skills to work for you.

While there are federal laws in place, employment and labor laws are highly specific to the state in which one is employed. Both Connecticut and New York have very specific rules and guidelines offering certain protections to employers and employees. Whether you are an employee seeking to challenge disciplinary action or termination, or an employer defending such actions, it is important to seek guidance from a lawyer with experience in this particular area of the law.

At Maya Murphy, we have attorneys with extensive backgrounds in New York and Connecticut labor law, including issues related to employee discipline.

Both New York and Connecticut are “at will” employment states. This means that an employee can be fired with little or no explanation in most cases. However, you may have more rights as an employee if you have signed an employment contract. Often, these contracts contain clauses that protect employees from being fired without cause, allowing them to challenge their employer’s actions or seek other legal recourse. An experienced employment lawyer from Maya Law who is familiar with the laws in your state will be able to help you review your employment contract and determine what your rights are in your specific situation.

Exceptions To “At Will” Employment

In addition to contract employees, other individuals may also be exempt from the rules applied to “at will” employees. Some examples of employees who have different protections include:

  • Government workers
  • Employees who are disciplined or terminated based on sex, race, or other discriminatory grounds
  • At-will employees suffering from harassment

Losing a job is a difficult time in any person’s life. In the immediate aftermath, you are left to deal with all the questions about how and where to proceed in navigating the job market. Amid that confusion, employers will also sometimes offer severance packages and request the employee to sign documents upon their discharge. The decisions you make during this time can have a profound effect on your legal rights moving forward. Information on receiving unemployment benefits and severance pay can be found here.

Contact an Experienced Employment and Labor Law Attorney

The employment lawyers at Maya Murphy have extensive experience both in negotiating employment contracts and litigating unfair discipline or termination cases. With offices and attorneys in both New York and Connecticut, we are able to represent clients with the high level of knowledge and strong client relationships you need from your attorney. Our firm is dedicated to providing the advantages of a large firm with the close, personal attention of a smaller one.

If you require assistance in any labor or employment matter in New York or Connecticut, contact Maya Murphy today. With offices in both states, Maya Murphy serves clients throughout Bridgeport, Stamford, Newark, Manhattan, and more. Call 212-682-5700 for our New York office or 203-221-3100 for our Connecticut office.