For informational purposes only. Always consult an attorney to obtain competent legal advice.

Employment Law

Unemployment Compensation Benefits:

  • An employee who is discharged from his or her employment "without cause" is entitled to collect benefits for Unemployment Compensation. 

  • Generally, an employer may terminate the employment of any employee as long as the termination is not motivated by discrimination or other reason prohibited by law. Likewise, an employee may quit at any time. 

  • If the reason for termination is improper conduct by the employee, such as theft or excessive absence or tardiness, the employee generally will be denied unemployment compensation benefits.

  • On the other hand, if the reason for termination is to reduce labor costs, or even due to general dissatisfaction with the employee's job performance, the employee is generally allowed to collect unemployment compensation benefits.

  • Following termination, the employee files a claim for unemployment compensation benefits with the Department of Labor & Training, Unemployment Insurance. If the employer contests the claim, a hearing is held in which a referee or hearing officer makes a determination on eligibility of the employee to collect benefits. An appeal to that decision is referred to hearing before the DLT Board of Review. 

  • An further appeal of a determination by the Board of Review is considered an "administrative appeal" and is filed in the District Court.

  • If the employee hires an attorney to represent him or her for hearing before the Board of Review and/or District Court, and if the appeal is successful, attorney fees are generally paid by the DLT, not the employer.

Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) Benefits:

  • Rhode Island requires most employers to deduct Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) premiums from every employee's pay. These funds belong to the employee, not the employer.

  • Temporary Disability Insurance benefits are generally paid to an employee when the disability preventing the employee from working is not job related and therefore not covered by Workers' Compensation Insurance.

  • If the disability becomes permanent or extends beyond the TDI coverage period, Social Security Disability benefits can be applied for from the federal Social Security Administration. (See the "Social Security Claims" link under the Survey of Rhode Island Law page from the main menu.)

  • If TDI benefits are applied for and denied by the hearing officer, an appeal may be filed with the Dept. of Labor (DLT) Board of Review (BOR).

 
 
 
 

Collective Bargaining Agreements: 

  • A Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) or other types of employment contracts are contractual in nature and can give rise to claims for many matters, including pay, overtime pay, minimum staffing, health insurance or other benefits, promotions, layoffs, etc.

  • Ordinarily, CBAs and other employment contracts provide for mandatory arbitration to resolve any disputes. If so, a union or other designated representative ordinarily represents the employee.  

Employment Discrimination

  • An employer may not discriminate in hiring, firing or promotions based upon the race, sex, religion, national origin, physical disability, and age of employees.

  • Also prohibited is any racially motivated retaliation claim in which an employee is retaliated against for filing a complaint of racial-discrimination.

  • A trend is presently underway to extend employment discrimination laws to sexual orientation.

  • Wrongful Discharge: A employee that is discharged from employment due to discrimination may bring a claim requesting reinstatement and damages, including loss wages and benefits, loss of promotion opportunity, and attorney fees.