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EMPLOYMENT LAW

Meet Employment Law Attorney Kimberly Dodson

Kimberly Dodson

Senior Counsel - Employment Law

I have over 36 years of legal experience.  I worked full-time as a paralegal for 15 years while obtaining my undergraduate degree and master's degree in psychology and a JD.  Prior to obtaining my law degree, I worked as a paralegal from 1986 - 2000 on more than fifty class actions and MDL’s (Amtrak, CSX, Winn Dixie, Cracker Barrel, UFI). From 2000-2001, I clerked at Whatley Drake, LLC, where I worked on the Firestone and Ford roll over class actions. In 2002, I obtained my law degree. In 2004, I established my own firm, Meelheim & Dodson, LLC, and in 2005 changed the name of the firm to the Law Offices of Kimberly R. Dodson, LLC. My firm has been based on helping victims of product defects, unscrupulous fraud, personal injuries, labor/employment and probate issues in state and federal courts. Throughout my career, I have been retained to mediate employment disputes by large plaintiff’s firms and large corporations. I have extensive experience in federal and state court litigation. I have tried over 25 federal jury trials and 16 state jury trials.  I have worked on over 75 class actions (employment, consumer protection, product liability, municipal tax, and ERISA), over 50 of those cases were class actions wherein I obtained class cert (B-2 and B-3). In 2007 and 2009, my firm assisted in a class action against the Jefferson County and Shelby County Tax Collector resulting in the recovery of more than $30 million dollars for the plaintiff classes. In 2011 and 2012, my firm assisted in the Compucredit class action that was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2008, I worked on a consumer protection case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2011 – 2013, I started a Human Resources Management firm. In 2014, after prevailing on a writ of mandamus, I solo tried a two-week trial against the State of Alabama.  The plaintiff class was comprised of 9,787 class members that resulted in a $5,000,000 jury. In 2015 - 2017, I was Lead Federal Litigator for a firm that handled ADA compliance nationally. I argued federal cases in over 17 different districts in a two year period.  In 2021, I worked on FDCPA consumer class actions in the Third, Seventh and Eleventh Circuits. I have been a nationally certified veterans disability lawyer for over 18 years. I am in good standing in the Northern, Middle, Southern Federal Districts in Alabama, Alabama Appellant Court, Alabama Supreme Court, Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and Southern District of Indiana, Eastern District of Michigan and the federal court in Arizona. Primary Focus -- Class actions, Constitutional Law, Student Defense Title IX, Product Liability (asbestos, vaginal mesh sling and Actos litigations), Prisoner Civil Rights, Contract Disputes, Medicaid Statutory Compliance, Title VII, Age Discrimination, Family Medical Leave, Fair Labor Standards, Americans with Disabilities, ERISA, Pregnancy Discrimination, §1983, §1981, Worker’s Compensation, Veteran’s Disability (Nationally Certified), Administrative Personnel Hearings, State and Federal Employee Termination Hearings, Personal Injury and Probate Law.

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Employment Law at K Altman Law

Suffering harassment, unfair treatment, and discrimination in the workplace can be humiliating and shocking. Speaking to a knowledgeable and experienced employment law attorney is one of the best things you can do if you have questions about disputes with your employer. At K Altman Law, we handle many different types of employment law cases as following: 

 

  • Wage disputes

  • Harassment 

  • Retaliation 

  • Discrimination 

  • Wrongful termination.  

 

One of the most common problems reported by employees is wrongful termination. An employer may discriminate against an employee based on the following reasons:  

 

  • Gender identity  

  • Pregnancy status  

  • Marital status  

  • Sexual orientation  

 

  • Age  

 

  • Religion  

 

  • Disability  

 

  • Nationality  

 

  • Race  

 

Federal laws and state laws regulate the conduct of employers. One important agency related to employment law claims is the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Employees may not be terminated for filing discrimination or harassment claims. Also, employees do not have to perform fraudulent or illegal activities during their employment.  

The Categories of Employment Law Cases  

 

Employment law cases can cover a range of different topics and areas of the law. Following are some of the most frequent types of employment law cases in the United States.  

 

  • The Entertainment Industry 

  • Professionals and Corporate Executives 

  • Whistleblower Cases 

  • Wage Disputes 

  • Sexual Harassment 

  • Discrimination 

  • Wrongful Termination 

  • Workers’ Compensation 

The Entertainment Industry  

 

Entertainment industry contracts may be unconscionable, and employees may be discriminated against by entertainment corporations. An employment lawyer can review contracts and assist employees during negotiations with their employers. Employees may also suffer sexual harassment while working in the entertainment industry.  

Professionals and Corporate Executives  

Chief executive officers, chief financial officers, and others who have reached the pinnacle of their careers may have to face complicated issues related to employment law. Salary disputes, shareholder issues, and contract interpretation are legal problems that may face executives and professionals. Being responsible for a team of employees can be stressful. Also, employers often need the assistance of a skilled employment law attorney.  

Whistleblower Cases  

Employees may hesitate to report illegal actions taken by their employers. However, employers are not permitted to retaliate against employees for reporting illegal activities in the workplace. Employers may engage in dangerous conduct that can be a risk to public health or safety. Under these circumstances, federal laws and state laws shield employees from retaliation. An employment law attorney can help employees who may have been wrongfully terminated for reporting their employer to a state or federal agency.  

Wage Disputes  

Employees may not know where to turn if they have wage disputes with their employers. An employee may not have been compensated for overtime hours worked at their place of employment. An employer may classify employees in a manner that violates federal or state laws. Employees may need to seek the wages they are owed by retaining a knowledgeable employment law attorney.  

Sexual Harassment  

Sexual harassment can be psychologically devastating. If an employer sexually harasses an employee, the employee may not know where to turn due to the stress and anxiety caused by the event. Employers may discriminate against employees based on their identity, gender, or sex. Distasteful jokes, offensive sexual comments, and unwanted touching may all constitute sexual harassment in the United States. Being in a hostile work environment can cause employees to experience severe emotional distress. Employees should not be afraid to stop sexual harassment in their place of employment.  

Discrimination  

Discriminatory behavior in the workplace can be subtle. Employees must not be subject to discrimination based on age, religion, disability, sex, or race. Some state laws protect employees from discrimination based on marital status, medical conditions, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Employers cannot discriminate against employees based on these characteristics.  

 

Employers may create a hostile work environment that constitutes discrimination. Also, employers may make decisions that result in employees suffering illegal discrimination. An employment law attorney can help employees understand the discrimination claims they may have against their employers. Decisions regarding promotions, firing, and hiring may all be relevant to an employee discrimination claim.  

Wrongful Termination  

Wrongful termination is one of the most common disputes employees have with their employers. Employers are not permitted to terminate employees for illegal reasons. Employees may be terminated if they report discrimination or harassment. Every wrongful termination case is unique, and speaking with an employment law attorney can help employees learn about the legal options available to them.  

Workers’ Compensation 

All workplaces can be potentially dangerous. Individual employees may be involved in automobile accidents while acting within the course and scope of their employment. No matter the circumstances of the injury, employees have the right to seek financial compensation if they are injured while at work.

 

Workers’ compensation laws vary by jurisdiction. However, you may be entitled to permanent disability payments, temporary disability payments, and medical care. Employers must be insured for accidents that happen at the workplace.  

A workers’ compensation claim arises when employees suffer workplace accidents. The employee must report the injury to their employer. Sometimes, a third party may have caused the accident suffered by the employee. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you learn if you may also have personal injury claims.  

The Common Types of Workplace Accidents  

The following are some of the most common types of workplace accidents in the United States:  

 

  • Toxic exposure accidents 

 

  • Slip and fall accidents  

 

  • Trucking accidents  

 

  • Company vehicle accidents  

 

  • Chemical burns  

 

  • Explosions  

 

  • Fires  

 

  • Heavy equipment accidents  

 

  • Repetitive motion injuries  

 

  • Asbestos exposure  

 

  • Power tool accidents  

 

  • Electricity accidents  

 

Seeking a Workers’ Compensation Attorney  

 

You may have to stand up to insurance companies when you assert a workers’ compensation claim. An experienced workers’ compensation can help employees in many different ways. An injured employee may have had their claim or benefits denied by an insurance company. Also, a settlement offer may not provide sufficient financial compensation to cover lost earnings and medical bills.  

 

An employee may not be able to return to work due to their workplace injuries. Employers may retaliate against employees for bringing workers’ compensation claims. Retaining a knowledgeable workers’ compensation can help employees assert their legal rights if they suffer workplace injuries.  

 

A workers’ compensation lawyer can negotiate on your behalf with insurance companies. If settlement negotiations are not fruitful, a workers’ compensation lawyer at K Altman Law can take your case to court.  

 

Workers’ compensation claims have strict deadlines, and injured employees must report their injuries to their employer within thirty days of the date of injury. The employer must report the injury to their insurance company within ten days of receiving notice of the injury. Different states have unique deadlines that apply to workers’ compensation claims.  

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964  

Employees and those who apply for jobs are protected from sexual harassment and discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If an employer violates an employee's civil rights, the employee can assert a complaint under Title VII.  

 

Employees have the right to not suffer discrimination and harassment at their place of employment. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 states the following: “It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer…to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”  

 

Title VII protects citizens who share characteristics from discrimination and harassment. The following characteristics are relevant to the provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964:  

 

  • Religion  

 

  • Sex, gender, and sexual orientation 

 

  • National origin  

 

  • Race 

 

Title VII also protects employees from retaliatory behavior such as wrongful termination. Employees who assert complaints in the workplace may not be subject to retaliatory behavior by the employer.  

 

Title VII enabled Congress to set up the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC is a federal agency that enforces Title VII. Essentially, Title VII protects employees and those applying for positions from suffering discrimination based on their creed, religion, gender, sex, ethnicity, national origin, color, and race. Employers with a minimum of fifteen employees must adhere to the provisions of Title VII.  

 

Title VII applies to state government employers, federal government employers, employment agencies, and labor unions. Employees are also protected from retaliatory behavior such as demotion and wrongful termination. The following are common types of Title VII violations:  

 

  • Contacting an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agent on a job applicant based on their race 

 

 

  • Transmitting emails containing ethnic jokes to staff members and employees  

 

  • Touching employees in an appropriate manner  

 

  • Displaying sexually offensive behavior repeatedly and creating a hostile work environment  

 

Sexual harassment may be unwanted requests or demands for sex, unprovoked physical touching, and offensive sexual comments. Quid pro quo sexual harassment happens when an employer offers to provide positive benefits to an employee in exchange for sexual contact.  

 

Individual employees may have Title VII claims if the discriminatory conduct occurred at a work-related event outside the regular place of employment. Discriminatory treatment can also occur at remote workplaces if an employee suffers harassment online.  

Section 1981  

 

Section 1981 refers to 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Section 1981 only applies to intentional racial discrimination. Title VII applies to intentional discrimination and disparate impact discrimination on religion, sex, national origin, color, and race. Individuals who suffered racial discrimination at the workplace will allege Section 1981 and Title VII claims simultaneously.  

Section 1983  

Section 1983 civil lawsuits are claims asserting that a state or local official violated an individual’s civil rights under the United States Constitution. Injured parties can bring Section 1983 cases in state or federal court. Victims may seek monetary damages or an injunction to stop the offensive conduct.  

 

Civil rights are important to every citizen of the United States. Civil rights are guaranteed by the United States Constitution and other federal law. Individuals often have their rights deprived in the following circumstances:  

 

  • A state deprives a citizen of welfare benefits  

 

  • A manager or supervisor sexually assaults an employee while the employee is working 

 

  • Police officers use excessive force while making an arrest  

 

Civil rights guaranteed by state constitutions cannot form the basis of a section 1983 civil lawsuit. Section 1983 cases relate to civil rights guaranteed under federal law. Section 1983 provides federal courts with jurisdiction to hear civil rights cases. Section 1983 creates liability for violating federal laws. All section 1983 claims include alleged violations of other laws, such as the following:  

 

  • Social Security Act  

 

  • Fourteenth Amendment  

 

  • Eighth Amendment  

 

  • Fourth Amendment  

 

  • First Amendment  

 

The civil rights violation has to be performed “under color of state law.” Individuals act under color of state law when they act with the apparent authority of the state. For example, while on duty, prison guards and law enforcement officers are acting under color of state law.  

 

Individuals acting under color of state law are the defendants in section 1983 cases. Individuals who work for the government, specific government entities, and others who conspire with government employees can all be sued under section 1983. Some common defendants in section 1983 cases include prison wardens, county sheriffs, police chiefs, prison guards, sheriff’s deputies, and law enforcement officers.  

 

Individuals who bring Section 1983 claims can seek two types of remedies: compensatory damages and injunctive relief. Compensatory damages may help the victim with the following:  

 

  • Pain and suffering  

 

  • Limited earning potential  

 

  • Lost earnings  

 

  • Medical bills  

Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney  

Pregnancy discrimination can occur in many different contexts. Oftentimes, an employer discriminates against a pregnant employee. An employee may face discrimination based on the status of their pregnancy or based on their desire to be pregnant in the future. The following are some common examples of pregnancy discrimination in the United States:  

 

  • An employer attempting to convince a pregnant employee to quit  

 

  • An employer taking away an employee’s promotion  

 

  • An employer reducing the employee’s hours  

 

  • An employer making negative employment decisions due to an employee’s pregnancy  

 

  • An employer not providing a pregnant employee with accommodations during the employee’s pregnancy  

 

  • An employer not permitting a pregnant employee to take leave during a pregnancy disability  

 

  • An employer terminating an employee due to pregnancy  

 

  • An employer not permitting an employee to leave work for medical appointments  

 

  • An employer failing to hire a pregnant individual due to their pregnancy  

 

Pregnancy discrimination is illegal under federal law in the United States. Most cases are regulated by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. The act protects individuals who suffer discrimination based on pregnancy-related medical conditions, childbirth, and pregnancy. 

Family Medical and Leave Act of 1993  

New parents can take unpaid leave for up to twelve weeks. New parents under the Federal Medical and Leave Act of 1993 may be adoptive, foster, or biological. Speaking to a knowledgeable pregnancy discrimination lawyer can help you understand how to protect your legal rights.  

The Fair Labor Standards Act  

The Fair Labor Standards Act is a federal law that regulates overtime pay, minimum wage, and other regulations that affect employees in the United States. Also, employers who violate provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act may be liable to the employee for overtime compensation and minimum wages. The Fair Labor Standards Act covers nearly all employees in the United States.  

 

The Fair Labor Standards Act applies to employers who are engaged in interstate commerce or who have at least $500,000 in annual sales. Any employer that uses telephone lines, the internet, or the mail is engaged in interstate commerce. Some employees may be exempt from the federal minimum wage, including the following:  

 

  • Newspaper delivery employees  

 

  • Federal criminal investigators  

 

  • Seasonal and recreational establishment employees  

 

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Individual jurisdictions also have their own minimum wage laws. If a specific state guarantees employees greater protections, employers must pay those employees the higher wage.  

 

Also, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, non-exempt employees must receive overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of forty hours in a workweek at a rate of not less than one and one-half times their normal pay rate.  

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act  

Individuals who are harassed by debt collectors need to know that those debt collectors may be violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Bill collectors, corporate collections departments, and collections agencies are all debt collects who pursue repayment of debt from individual consumers. The following practices violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act:  

 

  • Misrepresenting one’s identity as a debt collector  

 

  • Calling individuals late in the evening or early in the morning  

 

  • Making threats to garnish an individual’s wages  

 

  • Seeking out individual debtors while they are working  

 

  • Contact family members or friends of the debtor  

 

  • Speaking in a profane or obscene manner to a debtor  

 

  • Threatening legal action  

 

  • Threatening a debtor in a violent manner  

 

Individuals may be able to seek compensation under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Debt collectors may not use deceptive practices, unfair practices, or abusive practices when seeking to collect debts. Individuals can report problems with debt collectors to the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Bureau, and their state attorney general. Individual states have their own debt collection laws distinct from federal debt collection laws.  

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act  

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act is a law protecting individuals from discrimination on the basis of age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act forbids discrimination directed toward individuals forty years of age and older in any aspect of employment.  

 

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects employees who work for an employer with twenty or more employees. Any employee who is treated differently because of their age may have legal claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.  

 

Employers may attempt to treat employees forty years of age and older differently from younger employees. The discrimination may be a denial of pay, adequate working conditions, or benefits. Some employers may deprive older employees of opportunities that the employer makes available to other employees. Also, a younger employee may be paid less than an employee forty years of age or older for doing the same work.  

 

One of the best things you can do if you think you have been subject to age discrimination is to speak to an experienced employment law attorney. At K Altman Law, we help individuals who have suffered age discrimination enforce their legal rights.  

Speak to An Experienced Employment Law Attorney at K Altman Law Today  

Being victimized at work can be humiliating and shocking. Do not rest on your rights. If you are seeking an employment law attorney, contact K Altman Law today at (888) 984-1341 to schedule a free consultation. The knowledgeable employment law attorneys at K Altman Law offer exceptional legal representation. Call us today at (888) 984-1341 if you have questions about a possible legal dispute involving your employer.