The importance of employment laws for small-business employees

Employees in Wisconsin should be aware of employment laws so that they know whether an employer might be taking advantage of them. An employer might be doing so out of an effort to save money or because of ignorance of the law, but an employee may still file a lawsuit against an employer who violates those rights.

An employer cannot call an employee an independent contractor unless certain conditions are fulfilled. In addition, an employer is not allowed to classify an employee as salaried in order to avoid paying overtime. Even salaried employees must meet exempt employee qualifications if they are not going to be paid overtime.

In a small business, things may be more informal than in a large company, and an employer might offer an employee a loan. However, that loan cannot be repaid with payroll deductions. Instead, an employee should sign a promissory note and the loan should be treated like any other loan. Employees are also required to have paid rest breaks. These are usually around five to 20 minutes long.

An employee whose rights are violated in any of these areas may decide to discuss the situation with an employment law attorney. It may be better to try to resolve the situation internally first, but talking to a lawyer might give the employee a sense of his or her rights in the situation and how to proceed. If the employer is not cooperative, then the next step might be to take legal action. If an employee is fired, then it might be possible for him or her to get back lost wages through litigation.

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