The Fallacious Five: Employment law misconceptions that trip up employers

Plaintiff's lawyer Donna Ballman and The Evil HR Lady have had good posts recently on common employee misconceptions about employment law, including the "right" to see what is in one's personnel file and the "right" to take a break.*

*Depending on where the employee lives, he may have these rights, but in many states he does not. And the federal Fair Labor Standards Act does not require breaks.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander. So, what are the most common misconceptions about the law by employers? Here are five that I see frequently:

No. 1 - "This is a right-to-work state. We can fire you at any time, and for a good reason, a bad reason or no reason at all." This is wrong on so many levels. First, many states -- particularly in the North and Northeast -- are not right-to-work states. But even assuming the speaker really is in a right-to-work state, he has misunderstood what it means. A right-to-work state is one in which employees cannot be forced to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment. The speaker is confusing "right-to-work" with "employment at will," which brings me to my next misconception . . .

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