Appellate Court
A higher court that reviews the decision of a lower court when a losing party files for an appeal. The appellate court sometimes has discretion on whether or not to hear the matter.

Discrimination is defined as treating one person unfairly over another according to factors unrelated to their ability or potential, such as age, disability, sex, or national origin.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) A federal law that prohibits arbitrary discrimination against workers over the age of 40 in any employment decision, particularly firing the employee. The ADEA also provides that no worker can be forced to retire.

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) A federal law that prohibits discrimination against people with physical or mental disabilities in employment, public services and places of public accommodation, such as restaurants, hotels, office buildings, and hospital.

Civil Rights Act of 1964 Federal legislation designed strengthen the protection of Constitutional rights and to end discrimination based on religion, color, race or national origin.

Employment Law
At will employment The right of employers to fire employees for any reason or for no reason at all. It also gives employees the legal right to quit their jobs at any time for any reason. Employees with contracts stating the terms of their employment are usually not considered to be at will employees. Regardless of an employer's rights to fire at will employees, they cannot fire someone for illegal reasons such as age or race.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Federal agency responsible for workplace discrimination complaints. The Commission was created in 1964 by the Civil Rights Act to administer and enforce prohibitions against discrimination in the workplace.

Severance pay An amount that an employer offers to employees who are laid off.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
Federal law guaranteeing worker's minimum rights, for example: 40-hour workweek, federal minimum wage, and restrictions on child labor.

Words, conduct, or actions directed at a specific person that annoys, alarms, or causes a lot of emotional distress for no legitimate purpose.

Retirement and Pensions
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Pension law passed by the federal government to protect pension rights. The law sets minimum standards for pension plans, guaranteeing that pension rights cannot be unfairly denied to or taken from a worker, provides some protection for workers in the event certain types of pension plans cannot pay the benefits to which workers are entitled, and requires that employers provide full and clear information about employees' pension rights, including the way pension benefits accumulate, how the company invests pension funds, and when and how pension benefits can be collected.

Contribution plan A pension plan where a preset amount is contributed by the employer. The amount of the benefit payment is dependent upon the amount that is in the employee's fund at retirement.

Pension Retirement fund for employees paid for or contributed to by some employers as part of a package of compensation for the employees' work.

Family Leave
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Federal law requiring employers with 50 or more employees to provide each employee with 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a year's time for the birth of a child, family health needs or illness.

Product Liability
A person or company that sells a product in a defective condition that is unreasonably dangerous to the ordinary user may be liable for any resulting property damage or physical injuries.

Supreme Court
The States's highest court. The Supreme Court has the final authority to decide cases involving the interpretation of the State Constitution and state laws.

Sexual Harassment
Any unwelcome sexual advances, jokes, talk, touching, etc. In the workplace, if you don't cooperate, you'll lose your job may be an explicit or subtle threat.

A tort occurs when someone deliberately or through carelessness causes harm or loss to another person or their property.

Toxic Tort definition
A wrong (injury) caused by exposure to a chemical substance; toxic tort cases are generally brought against the manufacturer of the chemical substance.

Workers Compensation
Insurance, paid for by employers, that provides cash benefits and medical care if an employee becomes disabled because of an injury or sickness related to the employee’s job.


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