Employment Law in Juneau, AK

Did you hear a jury in Juneau awarded $1.2 million in damages in a 2022 wrongful termination suit?

Any company that makes mistakes regarding employment law may have to pay dearly. However, the path to filing a civil complaint is complex and lengthy. The uninitiated cannot navigate its rough waters without a legal representative at the helm.

Regardless, that reality does not mean that you should not feel prepared. Moreover, you may find some surprising facts that you need to know below.

What Is Employment Law?

Employment law covers the rights, responsibilities, and obligations within the employer-employee relationship. Alaska employment lawyers serve both employees and employers, though they generally focus their practice on serving one or the other. Regardless of who their clients are, their goal is to present a solid case and defend them.

Understanding Employment Law Labor Rights in Juneau, Alaska

Employees have a wide range of rights that employers cannot violate. If employers violate these rights, workers can file a complaint against them. Each state has unique labor laws and some also make provisions for qualifying independent contractors. Below are the most common topics covered in employment law across the country.

Wage and Hour Laws

Laws protect non-exempt employees from being forced to work for low wages and a certain amount of hours without increased pay. These are the wage and hour laws. They outline the minimum wages an employee can earn as well as the maximum amount of hours worked before qualifying employees should get paid overtime.

Alaska, like every other state, has unique wage and hour laws. However, there are federal laws in place that are minimum requirements for all states. For example, the federal minimum wage is $7.25, but most states exceed that amount.

The Fair Labor Standards Act states that non-exempt employees can only work 40 hours per week at their regular wage rates. If they exceed that number, the employer must pay them overtime rates at a minimum of time and a half. Some states also require weekend overtime pay, holiday pay, and overtime for working more than a certain number of hours each day.

Employers in Juneau have to follow the laws enforced by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. For example, they cannot pay less than the $10.34 per hour minimum wage. Additionally, they have to pay one and a half times your regular rate when you work over 40 hours.

Workers’ Compensation

If you’ve been injured on the job in Juneau, AK you might be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. This includes payments for lost wages and past or future medical bills that resulted from your workplace injury.

In order to be eligible for workers’ compensation, you must meet these requirements:

  • You must be an employee.
  • You must have a work-related illness or injury.
  • Your employer must carry workers’ comp insurance.
  • You must meet the deadline for filing workers’ comp claims.

There are, however, exceptions to these requirements that may still make you eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, if your employer is denying you benefits, you should contact a qualified Juneau attorney for assistance with your case.

Termination Rights under Juneau, Alaska Employment Law

If you live in an at-will state, or your employment is “at-will,” meaning you can be terminated from your job without notice and without cause. However, even at-will employees have rights when it comes to termination. A violation of those rights can be wrongful termination.

Here are some reasons your termination might be wrongful even if you are an at-will employee:

  • Written promises or contracts
  • Implied promises
  • Violations of public policy
  • Breaches of good faith and fair dealing
  • Workplace retaliation
  • Discrimination
  • Defamation
  • Fraud
  • Whistleblowing violations

The Alaska Labor Standards and Safety Division asserts you can lose your job anytime for nondiscriminatory reasons. Even if you disagree with the reasons given by your employer in Juneau, your position only exists “at will.”

If you believe your termination was wrongful due to the above circumstances, then contact an experienced Juneau, AK employment law attorney right away. This is because there are time constraints on how long you can wait to file a claim.

Unemployment Benefits

If you’ve lost your job, you can file for unemployment benefits with the state unemployment agency. The agency will either approve or deny your claim. If it’s approved, you’ll receive monthly checks and benefits in the mail after filing weekly claims. Still, these claims can receive a denial for a number of reasons, including:

  • You lost your job due to misconduct.
  • You quit your job voluntarily
  • You do not have enough earnings during the work period.

You can appeal the decision if the government denies your claim. Hiring a qualified Juneau attorney for this process will improve your chances of winning the case.

Paid and Unpaid Time Off

Some states require medical and family leave for employees with paid time off (PTO). More often than not, this combines into one payment amount. Laws can vary state-to-state, but PTO typically accrues over time along with a set amount of days per year.

Additionally, some states have laws that force the employer to pay for unused PTO. This legislation allows you to file a complaint if your employer did not follow state medical or family leave laws.

The State of Alaska allows employers in Juneau to set PTO policies without government oversight. While many companies will offer this benefit, they are under no legal obligation to do so. Nonetheless, they do have to follow through with the policies they present to you.

Child Labor Laws

Child labor laws are significantly more strict than regular labor laws and require employers to be extra careful. Each state has child labor laws that outline the number of hours a minor can work per week. These include how often they should have breaks, how many days in a row they can work, and how late they can work.

Alaska child labor law requires permits for minors between 14 – 16 in Juneau. However, 14 – 15-year-olds have additional restrictions on when they can work. They can only take shifts between 5 – 9 p.m. when school is in session. They also cannot spend more than 23 hours working during this period.

Juneau, Alaska Employment Anti Discrimination Laws

A collection of federal anti-discrimination laws protect workers from employment discrimination. Following are brief descriptions of some of these anti-discrimination acts:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act: Prohibits employers from selecting job applicants and employees based on race, religion, color, sex, and national origin.
  • Age Discrimination Act: Prohibits discrimination based on age for employees over the age of 40 years old.
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act: Prohibits employers from discriminating based on pregnancy, childbirth, or a related condition.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act: Prohibits employers from discriminating against people with disabilities at any time during the application or hiring process or once the person holds the job.
  • Equal Pay Act: Requires employers to give men and women equal pay for equal work.

Sexual Harassment

If a coworker, employer, or client sexually harasses someone, the employee has a set of rights to prevent further harassment. Laws also offer protection from retaliation, such as getting fired for reporting a manager. If you or someone you know experiences sexual harassment, report it immediately to your HR department.

Alaska legislation makes a distinction between harassment in the first and second degree. An example of the latter is when someone from your work in Juneau shares unwanted pictures of genitals. The severity increases to the first degree when physical contact occurs.

Work With an Experienced Employment Lawyer in Juneau,  Alaska

If you have employment law concerns in Juneau, AK, then working with an experienced attorney can help. The hard part is finding the right one. 

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to speak with an experienced lawyer in ! We can even help you connect with an attorney across Alaska state lines.

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