Explaining North Dakota Labor and Employment

Both federal and state employment law protects employees throughout the employment process, from hiring to firing. Here are the basic laws that protect employees in North Dakota.

Hiring Rules

It is Illegal to discriminate against job applicants or employees because of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability or genetic information. Employers may not use these factors in job advertisements, interviews and application decisions.

Employers must limit interview questions to those relevant to the position available. Employers are prohibited from asking questions about disability. Questions about race, sex, national origin, age and religion also are irrelevant in determining qualification.

Minimum Wage/Overtime

Federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, and employers must pay at least the federal minimum wage, plus overtime pay of one and a half times the regular rate of pay. Overtime rules cover the majority of employees, but there are occasional exemptions.

States may have their own laws, with additional protection. North Dakota's minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Employers must pay one and a half times the employee's regular rate of pay after 40 hours in the workweek. Overtime pay is due for actual hours worked over 40.

Safe Workplace Conditions

Employees have the right to a safe workplace. Employers must provide working conditions free of known dangers and provide safety training.

Employees have the right to request that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) perform safety inspections. Employers may not retaliate, discriminate or fire employees for pointing out unsafe conditions.

Workers' Compensation Rules

Worker’s Compensation is a disability compensation program that provides recompense to workers, or their dependents, who are injured at work or acquire an occupational disease. Examples of compensation include wage replacement, medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation and other benefits.

Federal compensation covers federal workers. Individuals injured on the job while employed by private companies or state and local government agencies must refer to North Dakota workers' compensation board, which covers almost all employees, including minors, non-citizens and part-time employees. This is regardless of occupation, business size, duration of employment or number of hours worked per day—except for those working around a private home for not more than 26 hours per week.

Time Off

In addition to employer’s time-off programs, some types of time off are required by federal and perhaps state law.

Family and medical leave is the right to take time off for personal and family needs. The time off under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, providing up to 12 weeks a year of unpaid time off and sometimes longer. You have the right to be reinstated after leave with the same or equal position.

Most states allow time off to vote, as does North Dakota.

Harassment Protections

Harassment is a form of employment discrimination, and it is illegal under federal law and includes but is not limited to sexual harassment.

Harassment is any unwelcome conduct related to race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability or genetic information. It is also considered harassment if enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or the conduct creates a hostile intimidating or abusive work environment.

Termination Rights

Almost all states are “employment at will” states, including North Dakota. Private-sector employers and employees have the right to terminate employment at will whenever, without a reason.

Employers may not fire a worker for illegal reasons like: retaliation, discrimination, refusal to take a lie detector test, alien status, OSHA complaint, or if the employee is in violation of public policy such as refusing to break the law, complain about law breaking or exercising a legal right.

North Dakota requires employers to give leaving employees their final paychecks on the next scheduled payday. Any vacation pay that has accrued is required to be paid out in your final paycheck.

After-Employment Rights

The Department of Labor's Unemployment Insurance programs offer unemployment benefits to eligible workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own. Benefits are equal to a percentage of earnings for a maximum of 26 weeks. North Dakota’s benefits amount to about 44.6 percent of weekly wages covered.

COBRA provides eligible former employees, retirees, spouses, former spouses and dependent children the right to temporary continuation of health coverage at group rates for 18 months. This, however, is only available when coverage is lost due to voluntary and involuntary termination not due to gross misconduct, and very small companies under 20 employees are usually excluded.

Getting Help From a Labor and Employment Attorney

Employment law is not simple. If you have questions with questions about your circumstances at work, consult with a North Dakota employment lawyer.

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