What are common reasons that workers sue their employers?

What are common reasons that workers sue their employers?

Dec 17, 2020 | Employment Law


An offer of employment is usually mutually beneficial for the worker and the company. The business expects to generate profits from an employee’s labor that far exceed the wage they offer, while the worker knows that they will receive a steady stream of compensation for their efforts. Everyone benefits for as long as the employment relationship lasts if each party upholds their obligations.

Sadly, sometimes things go wrong between workers and their employers. Unhappy employees might even try to take legal action against your company. Such a lawsuit can cost your company money even if they aren’t expensive. If you understand the top reasons that workers sue their employers, you can potentially avoid many of these issues in the future.

Firing without warning or unfair disciplinary practices

Like most other states, West Virginia is an at-will employment state. Your company can technically fire someone for any reason or no reason at all, provided that you comply with the terms set in your employment contract.

Employees often bring lawsuits against their former employer when they feel that their termination was unfair. If a worker felt discriminated against or didn’t believe the firing came from behavioral or performance issues, they are more likely to fight back.

Workers may also bring claims against their employer for disciplinary action that they believe is unfair or discriminatory. Universal application of your employment rules to all workers without exception can reduce these risks, as can written disciplinary records for each infraction a worker commits. 

Workers sue over contract and law violations as well

If an employee believes that a company violated their civil rights by discriminating against them or allowing harassment in the workplace, they may bring a lawsuit against the company. Proactive responses to claims of discrimination and mistreatment can reduce this risk, as can careful recordkeeping of all internal investigations about such allegation.

Workers may also take action against your company if you don’t uphold the terms in their work contract. Failing to pay overtime or bonuses are frequent causes for worker claims. Updating your employment contract frequently and ensuring that workers understand the language in the contract can reduce these sources of litigation for your business.