A state employee is any person who is hired directly by the state.  This can include educators, clerks, court workers, social workers, persons employed in various state departments, and other types of workers.  These types of employees are usually subject to very specific state protections when it comes to employment laws and employee protections.

For instances, state employees have various rights to be free from discrimination and to enjoy various employee privacy rights.  Some of these protections may extend to candidates for employment with the state, and to certain persons under contract work with the state (though this may depend on the specific contract terms).

What are Some State Employee Legal Issues?

As with any employment arrangement, state employees can sometimes face common legal issues.  These may include:

  • Disputes over wages, hours, and overtime pay as defined by state laws
  • Disputes over promotions, advancements, and access to various benefits
  • Instances of discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, and other violations by the state employer
  • Hiring disputes
  • Violations of employee privacy rights
  • Employee safety and occupational hazards

There may be various other types of legal issues faced by state employees, depending on their line of work and their position within the department.  For instance, hiring staff may face different legal and employment issues than supervisors, and so forth.

How Do State Employees File an Employment Complaint?

In some cases, an employment complaint may be resolved by making a complaint with the department’s human resources (HR) division.  The human resources staff may be able to resolve the dispute and prescribe a remedy for the complaining party.

In more serious instances, it is recommended that the state employee file with the state’s employment or labor department.  This is a specific state-operated department that process claims related to employment discrimination, wage/hour disputes, harassment, and other workplace disputes.  In some cases, there may be a direct filing route specifically for state employees.

Alternatively, the employee may be able to file a federal claim with a department such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).   The ability to file a federal claim for a state employment matter may however be somewhat limited.

As a final resort, the state employee may be able to file a private lawsuit against their employer or against other employees who may be involved in the conflict.  However, most state laws require that the state employee file their complaint at the state department level before they can file a private civil lawsuit.  Remedies for state employee legal issues can involve a variety of options, such as filing for lost wages or recovering lost benefits.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With State Employee Legal Issues?

State employment laws may differ according to state and according to the type of position that the state employee holds.  You may need to hire a qualified workplace lawyer in your area if you believe that you need to file a state employment claim.  Your attorney can help provide you with the guidance and representation needed to succeed on your claim.  It is illegal for employers to fire or retaliate against employees who file a state complaint.