Employment Law: A Legal Mine Field

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18th Feb 2016

Legal Mine fieldsSoldiers in the battle field have long had problems with mine fields.  These anti-tank or anti personnel mines are almost impossible to detect, and often require an special engineer to blast a safe path. This problem reminds me of the area of employment law.

In the distant past Kansas employment law was simple and was summed up in one phrase – employment at will. This meant that an employee could quit with or without notice and the employer could terminate the relationship with or without notice. The employment at will doctrine is based on the notion that everyone needs a job but no one needs any particular job. So if a worker or boss didn’t get along everyone just cut ties and moved on. The law has changed.

The basic law is the same but now the employment termination may be illegal if it has an illegal motivation. The list of illegal motivations is long and is getting longer. Some of the employment rights are written in the Kansas Statutes, some in the Federal statutes, and now some in the Federal regulations. Most require the claim to be filed in an agency first. It would be too simple if there was just one agency where the claim would be filed. No, there are many government agencies, both State and Federal, which investigate employment termination claims each with a different jurisdiction. Each with its own law, procedures, and deadlines hidden there in the law just waiting for you to trip over and blow up your case.

Like the soldier in the battle field needing an engineer to clear the way, you really need a lawyer to blast a path so you can get through this mine field.

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