What is employment law?

Employment law is the area of law that covers the rights, obligations, and responsibilities within the relationships of employees and employers. This area of the law covers workplace safety, wage concerns, wrongful termination, and discrimination matters — among others.

You may have heard that Georgia is an employment-at-will state, or a “right to work” state. Essentially, this means that, as an employee, you may leave a position for any reason or no reason. It also means that you may be terminated for any reason or no reason at all. This leaves many people wondering how they could possibly win an employment law case in Georgia. However, while Georgia is an employment-at-will state, this does not mean that employees have no rights. For example, employers may not discriminate against employees on the basis of race or national origin. Likewise, employers are still bound by the FMLA.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires certain employers to hold jobs for certain employees — for up to 12 weeks — while those employees take time away from work for qualified reasons.

A number of reasons might qualify you for a period of leave under the FMLA. Some examples of qualifying reasons could be taking time off to:

  • Recover from a serious medical condition
  • Care for a family member with a serious medical condition
  • Care for a newborn
  • Transition in or out of active military duty (for yourself or a spouse)
  • Adopting or fostering a child

Reasons that do not qualify for FMLA include but are not limited to:

  • Attending a funeral
  • Non-migraine headaches
  • Cold or flu
  • Cosmetic surgical treatments

Per the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment is a form of discrimination, which violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. At its most basic, sexual harassment is a form of discrimination, based on a person’s sex.

Sexual harassment includes any unwelcome physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature. This includes requests for sexual favors, as well as unwelcome sexual advances and other verbal and physical acts. For this conduct to qualify as sexual harassment, it must be unwelcome, and it must create an offensive, hostile, or intimidating environment.

Under federal law, a person is determined to be disabled if they fulfill one of these three qualifications:

  • They have a physical or mental condition that limits one or more major life activities (e.g., hearing, seeing, talking, walking, or learning)
  • They have a history of a qualifying condition, such as cancer that is currently in remission
  • They are a minor with a mental or physical impairment that has lasted or is expected to last for more than six months

Some qualifying medical conditions include but are not limited to:

  • Hearing impairment
  • Vision impairment
  • Acquired brain injury
  • Mental health conditions
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Chronic neurological conditions
  • Locomotor disabilities
  • Speech and language disabilities