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  • Writer's pictureDavid Manes

What Are Some Employment Problems?

Employment problems are as common as employees in the workplace. As long as you work with others, problems will always arise. However, some employment problems are more common than others.

For example, employment discrimination and sexual harassment are two major buzzwords for employment problems. Of course, employment problems can be small, too.

Minor Workplace Problems

  1. Communication issues

  2. Gossip

  3. Low motivation

  4. Poor job fit

While these problems might start out minor, they can also gain momentum and cause bigger employment problems.

What Are Some Employment Problems?

Big employment problems can result in a lawsuit because these situations fail to uphold the law. Employees need to be aware what problems might trigger a legal response. Knowing your employee rights can be the difference between suffering through a bad situation or fighting for your legal rights.


The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) prohibits employment discrimination in the workplace. Basically, these laws protect applicants and employees from discrimination for a legally protected class. If you have a situation that you think breaks the law, reach out to an employment lawyer to discover your legal options.

Overtime Laws

Depending on an employee’s exempt or not exempt status, he or she may be eligible for overtime pay. In the last few years, the Fair Labor Standards Act has moved to raise the salary threshold for exempt employees. But, employers can get in trouble for mislabeling employees as exempt.

Social Media Use

As social media gains more importance in our lives and networking, employers and employees scramble to figure out the appropriate levels of use. In an at-will employment situation, the employment relationship can be severed at any time. Employers must determine their social media policy to ensure that everyone is clear on what’s important.

Employers who mislabel their employees or contractors as something that they’re not face a lawsuit and corrective legal action. For the most part, employees receive many benefits such as worker’s compensation, UC benefits, and PTO. Someone labeled a contractor who is actually an employee misses out on all these benefits.

Medical Marijuana

With the legalization of medical marijuana, employers must figure out how to appropriately handle employees who must use marijuana for medical purposes. This will likely end up with some employment problems that a court may need to settle. Since medical marijuana is used for individuals with health conditions, it will likely fall under the protection of certain disability laws.

FMLA Leave

When the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was enacted, employers learned a new set of rules for unpaid, job-protected leave. Employers tend to interfere or retaliate for FMLA leave use. Clearly, that’s illegal. Eligible employees are entitled to FMLA leave and to return to their job at the end of their leave.

Equal Pay

Equal pay for job experience and position responsibilities is still being corrected throughout the United States. Basically, employees who recognize that they are being paid differently despite similarly situated positions should take steps to resolve the issue within the company. Employers should not pay employees based on gender or race.


Sometimes an employee who seeks to use an employment right such as FMLA leave or reports an issue within the office notices negative employment actions. Maybe a boss begins to reassign projects or changes schedules without informing you. Maybe you get more write ups for behaviors that others don’t get written up for. As a result, this may be retaliation for your use of your employee rights.

Interview Questions

Employment troubles may start even before you receive a job offer. During an interview, the law obligates employers to only ask certain types of questions. Certain phrasings of questions can be illegal. Job applicants should be aware of illegal interview questions.

Lack of Documentation

Without proper documentation in place for each employee, an employer can experience hardship when a question is raised about certain aspects of employment. Paperwork is important. Documentation can be evidence of an illegal act.

Wrongful Termination

Sometimes, an employer fires an employee without a documented reason. When the employee has done no wrong, that employee might have legal options available. Wrongful termination may occur due to discrimination, harassment, retaliation.

Employees and employers face a number of possible employment problems. These problems can turn into legal claims. While this was only a quick overview of possible employment problems, make sure you research your situation more thoroughly and speak with an employment lawyer to determine your legal solutions.

Chat with an employment attorney: (412) 626-5626 or

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