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Law and Justice

Employee Rights and Labor Laws Every Employer Needs to Know



There will always be horrible bosses. A lot of employees struggle with difficult and sometimes unreasonable employers. Fortunately, there are labor laws and guidelines that protect the rights of employees.

On the other hand, many newbie employers are so focused on getting their businesses off the ground they forget to handle the legal side of things. So, despite being well intentioned, decent employers can still violate labor laws due to ignorance.

That said, here’s a list of the most common labor law claims filed against terrible and ignorant employers alike.

5 labor laws that protect employees

1. Employers cannot discriminate against protected attributes

According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers cannot make any employment decision (such as hiring, rejection, firing, and demotion) based on an employee’s protected attributes. These include race, color, religion, national origin, and sex.

For example, an employer cannot fire an otherwise competent employee solely on the basis of being a woman. Of course, not every instance of firing a female employee can be considered sex discrimination. However, if proven that an employer fired a female employee after hearing she was pregnant, it will be a clear act of discrimination.

Additionally, firing an employee for discriminatory reasons counts as wrongful termination. If successful, former employees might be entitled to economic and non-economic damages.

More importantly, discrimination laws don’t just cover wrongful termination. They encompass all employment decisions, including tolerance or encouragement of harassment, handing out unfair demotions, and unjustified pay cuts. So, for example, if an employer encourages or tolerates harassment, that might also count as discrimination.

Note that discrimination laws and exceptions can vary depending on the state or the size of your business. Make sure to consult with your lawyer to ensure you’re not violating any laws and employee rights.

2. Disabled employees can request reasonable accommodations

Disabled employees are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Other than it’s illegal to make employment decisions based on an employee’s disabled status, it is also an employer’s responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations when the employee needs them.

“Reasonable accommodations” are changes and modifications to a business’s employment system that would help an otherwise competent employee to do their job. These accommodations are dependent on what an employee needs and what an employer can afford.

For example, some employees just need to be given flexible hours, be allowed to take their work home, or be reassigned to a different department. However, some employees might require ergonomic chairs, special equipment, and wheelchair ramps. These are typically decided through discussions and negotiations between the employer and the disabled employee.

The keyword here is “reasonable,” which means that the accommodations shouldn’t be causing the employer undue burden. For example, if the requested accommodation causes significant financial and structural challenges, both parties will need to negotiate something else.

3. Pregnancy is considered a temporary disability

Pregnant employees can suffer from many physical problems, even before they reach the last trimester. Hence, the difficulties associated with pregnancy can be enough cause to request accommodations.

This means pregnant employees can request alternative work hours, reassignments, flexible work responsibilities, and other reasonable accommodations. Employers can provide these accommodations on top of the maternity leave employees will file towards the end of their term.

Again, employees should discuss these accommodations with their employers. These discussions ensure that the employee gets the assistance they need while not causing undue problems to their employers.

4. Whistleblowers are protected

Whistleblower protections are there to protect employees and consumers. To encourage people to report illegal activities, employers are prohibited from taking any adverse action against whistleblowers.

For example, if an employee reports product health hazards to OSHA, it is illegal for their employer to get back at them by termination, pay cuts, suspensions, or demotions. Likewise, if an employee “blows the whistle” on company fraud and security breaches, they cannot be fired or retaliated against.

More importantly, employers cannot take action against employees even if the employee makes a mistake. The Whistleblower Protection Act was established so employees won’t hesitate to report possible illegal activities, and before they cause any real consequences. Additionally, employees who help the government catch illegal activity are heavily compensated for “blowing the whistle.”

Similarly, employees who participate in investigations (i.e., doing an interview or becoming a witness) cannot be retaliated against. It is within their right, and firing them is an act of wrongful termination.

5. Employment retaliation is illegal

As briefly explained in the last section, employers cannot get back at employees maliciously. Essentially, employers cannot make adverse employment actions in response to an employee exercising their rights.

For example, if an employee reports their boss for gender discrimination, the employer cannot fire them, demote them, or cut their salaries. Doing so is an act of retaliation.

Here are other things that employees can do without getting punished or retaliated against:

  • Taking or requesting a sick leave, family leave, or a maternal leave
  • Taking time off work to serve as jury or to vote
  • Reporting an employer for OSHA violations, discrimination, harassment, or retaliation
  • Becoming a whistleblower
  • Giving witness testimonies against their employer
  • Refusing to break the law for the employer or company (i.e., refusing to make false statements to the IRS to save the company)

Some employment actions that might count as retaliation include:

  • Demoting an employee
  • Unjustified pay cuts
  • Refusing to promote an otherwise qualified and deserving employee
  • Deliberately assigning an employee to a site location that’s causing them undue hardship (i.e., assigning them to an area that’s unreasonably far from where they live)
  • Giving the target employee more work as underhanded punishment
  • Encouraging harassment and alienation of the employee at work

Are you a good boss?

You might not be a terrible boss, but there’s a lot of them out there. However, the law knows that some employers hand down “punishments” to employees who are otherwise in the right.

This doesn’t mean that employers can’t penalize employees for bad behavior. Employers are free to demote, cut pay, or suspend, as long as it doesn’t infringe on an employee’s rights or violate one of the labor laws we’ve covered here.

Law and Justice

5-0: Supreme Court restores National Assembly, sets aside deputy speaker’s ruling



The Supreme Court has set aside the ruling issued by the deputy speaker on the no-trust vote against Prime Minister Imran Khan, and restored the National Assembly (NA).

The court ruled that President Dr Arif Alvi’s decision to dissolve the National Assembly was “illegal” and restored PM Imran as well as his cabinet.

The top court also ordered National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser to summon the session on Saturday (April 9) at 10:30 am, saying that the session cannot be adjourned without the conclusion of the no-trust motion.

“If the no-confidence motion against the prime minister succeeds, then the assembly will appoint the new prime minister,” the court order said.

The order further noted that the government cannot interfere in the participation of any lawmaker in the assembly session.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial said that the court’s verdict was “unanimous.”

“The current issues are done away with,” he said.

The top judge remarked that the order will not impact proceedings under Article 63 of the Constitution.

Reacting to the development, Leader of the Opposition in the NA Shehbaz Sharif said that the people of Pakistan have won today.

“Mubarak to all who supported, defended & campaigned for the supremacy of the Constitution. Today, politics of lies, deceit & allegations has been buried,” he said in a Twitter post.

A five-member bench, headed by CJP Bandial, had been hearing the case.

At the start of the hearing, PM Imran’s counsel Imtiaz Siddiqui argued that the scrutiny of parliamentary proceedings was not part of the judiciary’s mandate. “The court should ask parliament to clean up its mess,” he said.

Justice Bandial, in his remarks, said that it was clear that the April 3 ruling of the deputy speaker was erroneous.

“The real question at hand is what happens next,” he said, adding that now Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan would guide the court on how to proceed.

“We have to look at national interest,” he said, adding that the court would issue a verdict today.

Responding to Justice Bandial’s comments, Khan argued that everyone should be loyal to the state, adding that he was not defending the ruling.

“However, I think new elections are the only solution,” he added.

Security beefed up

Meanwhile, in anticipation of the verdict being announced, security was beefed up around the Supreme Court complex.

Wednesday’s proceedings

During the hearing on Wednesday, the chief justice had sought the record of the National Security Council meeting from the government’s legal team.

The top court had also questioned the basis on which the speaker issued the ruling. “Can the speaker announce such a ruling without presenting the facts,” the chief justice asked the government’s legal team, adding that this was the constitutional point on which it had to make a decision.

Barrister Syed Ali Zafar, appearing on behalf of President Dr Arif Alvi, argued that in view of the constitutional crisis, the best and the only solution lies with the ultimate sovereign i.e. which are the people of Pakistan. The only remedy available is election. He submitted that since the appeal has been made to the people of Pakistan and elections are to take place in 90 days then as per the established practice and prudence, the Courts do not and should not interfere at this stage and let the people decide.

The chief justice asked the counsel does he mean to say that the constitutional crisis can be resolved by going to elections? He said if the opposition has any grouse they should go to the people, adding but there is an element of trickery.

He said the dissolution of the Assemblies is an independent act undertaken by the president under Article 48(5) read with Article 58. At the time, no resolution of no confidence was pending against the prime minister and, hence, the dissolution cannot be questioned under Article 48(4).

Ali Zafar said that the petitioners have challenged the ruling of the deputy speaker National Assembly and asked the apex court to examine the validity of the ruling. He said the possible direction to the Speaker to hold the no-confidence vote, in his opinion, will encroach upon the jurisdiction of the Parliament.

Justice Bandial questioned though it is not allowed [examine the parliament proceeding], but then there is constitutional violation, adding in Article 95 the procedure has been prescribed. He said that the limit is crossed when the constitutional provision is violated. The privileges are under the Rules, but there are obligation under the Constitution, if the obligation is violated then the court can look at it.

Ali Zafar argued the concept of trichotomy of powers/separation of powers between legislature, judiciary, and executive is well-enshrined in our Constitution under which each organ has its specific role.

He contended that the Parliament has certain privileges under the procedures – the fundamental and the foremost privileges being that the Parliament is the sole and exclusive judge and master of its own proceedings and business and no decisions or rulings made while conducting parliamentary proceedings/business are justiciable. It is also a part of Parliamentary privileges that no officer, including the deputy speaker, is subject to jurisdiction of Courts in respect of Parliamentary privileges/proceedings.

Ali Zafar cited the judgments of Pakistani Courts, the crux of them is that any decisions taken during and within the parliamentary proceedings/business of Parliament are not justiciable. It is only if a proceeding is outside the scope of proceedings in parliament that the court can examine.

He stated that the vote of confidence is clearly a matter of proceedings in the National Assembly and any ruling passed by the Speaker or Deputy Speaker in respect thereof or during the same are not justiciable.

Justice Bandial remarked that Article 69 is okay but something unprecedented has happened. The resolution for no-confidence vote was likely to be succeeded, which has the backing of the constitutional provision but at the last minute it was scuttled. If today, it is permitted, then what SHCBA President has cited the example of Hitler Nazis party remain in power.

The chief justice questioned whether the Speaker has power to give Ruling on point of order which was not included in the agenda item of that day of Parliamentary proceeding. He said the Deputy Speaker, Qasim Suri, without giving the reasons rejected the resolution. Whether the Speaker can ignore the mandate of Article 95 of the Constitution.

Earlier, Babar Awan, representing chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, informed that three Pakistani diplomats in Washington, including Head of Mission, Deputy Head of the Embassy and Defence Attaché, met with the USA Assistant Secretary. They conveyed the US concern against Pakistan to Foreign Office in Islamabad. The cipher was sent to Foreign Office on March 07, 2022. The cipher was deciphered in FO to know that conspiracy was hatched against Prime Minister Imran Khan to topple his government.

When Babar Awan was giving detail, the attorney general came to the podium and said that the issue related to the PM or the State; therefore, it should not come from the counsel of the party. The counsel then asked the court to constitute an inquiry commission as the PM wanted thorough probe on the letter. Upon that Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel said when the prime minister is unaware who is involved in the conspiracy then how he made important decisions.

The chief justice rejected the perception that the apex court is delaying the judgment on suo motu.

He said: “Unfortunately, yesterday (Tuesday) adverse comments were made that the court is delaying the case. We have to hear all the parties and without hearing the other side can’t pass ex parte judgment,” the CJP added.

Earlier, the top judge during Tuesday’s hearing had questioned whether the speaker can give a ruling on a point of order which was not included in the agenda item of the day of the Parliamentary proceeding.

CJP had remarked that Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri rejected the resolution without giving appropriate reasons.

While adjourning the hearing on Wednesday, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel had said the court will pass a judgment that will be in the interest of the nation and binding on everyone.

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Pakistan Mission Islamabad Celebrates “KASHMIRI SOLIDARITY DAY “



Pakistan’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations today organized a photo exhibition in solidarity with the Kashmiri brothers and sisters, says a press release received here today from New York. The event was held in a virtual and hybrid format in view of COVID-19 restrictions. All the proceedings of the event were broadcasted live on Twitter.

The ceremony began with the recitation of the Holy Qur’an. A message of Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Munir Akram was broadcasted. In his message on the occasion of Solidarity Day, he expressed his unwavering support to the Kashmiri brothers and sisters who have been fighting against the brutal occupation for seven decades. “We salute their unparalleled bravery.” Ambassador Munir Akram said, “The heart of Pakistan is Kashmir. In Pakistan, ‘K’ means towards Kashmir. Pakistan’s dream is incomplete without it.” “The people of Pakistan have always stood firm with their Kashmiri brethren against Indian atrocities and aggression.” The deployment of more than 900,000 Indian troops has made IIOJK one of the most militarized areas in the world, he said.

In his message, Munir Akram said that “Since 05 August 2019, India has turned 8 million Kashmiris into prisoners in their own land through the deployment of over 900,000 occupation troops. History has few precedents of such suffocation and violation of the fundamental rights at this scale. For over 500 days, India has imprisoned all Kashmiri political leaders, illegally detained 13000 Kashmiri youth, tortured many of them, summarily executed young boys, put down protest violently, including the use of pellet guns against peaceful protestors and imposed collective punishment by demolishing homes and burning entire neighbourhood and villages”. “The Permanent Mission of Pakistan remains the voice of the Kashmiris at the UN and other international forums.

We have urged the international community to play its role in ensuring respect for the fundamental human rights and freedoms of the Kashmiri people and averting grave risks to global peace and security posed by India’s belligerent rhetoric and aggressive action. Through these persistence diplomatic efforts and under the guidance of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Kashmir issue is once again re-internationalized”: said the Ambassador. “Kashmir issue is once again re-internationalized. It’s under active consideration of the UN Security Council.

UN Secretary General, the President of the General Assembly, High Commissioner for Human Rights and other high-ranking UN human rights experts and Special Rapporteurs have on numerous occasions expressed grave concerns over India’s massive atrocities and crimes in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. During its recent meeting in Niger, the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers have reaffirmed its unwavering support to the legitimate Kashmiri struggle”: Ambassador Munir Akram said. “The day is not far when the people of Kashmir will be able to free themselves from the yoke of Indian occupation. Unity of purpose and a single-minded determination of the Kashmiris remains the biggest strength of the Kashmiri struggle” he concluded with the note of hope.

Later a documentary on the struggle of Kashmiris was shown at the event. A digital album titled: Kashmir: between resistance and resilience, a collection of photographs featured in international media. The album features photographs and impressions taken by Kashmiri and international reporters and photojournalists based on the struggles of Kashmiris, their plight and their current situation.

Deputy Permanent Representative Mr. Amir Khan expressed his views in his closing remarks. Expressing solidarity with the Kashmiris in his address, Aamir Khan said, “Today is a day to recognize the legitimacy of the Kashmiri freedom struggle in the face of Indian brutality, occupation and state-sponsored terrorism in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir; to express our unstinting solidarity with our Kashmiri brothers and sisters; to underscore India’s consistent and blatant disregard of the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination and its obligations under international law”.

“As members of the Pakistan Mission to the UN, we are at the forefront of the Kashmiri struggle for freedom. The legal and moral case of our brethren pivots around our representation. In line with the directions of our leadership, wishes of the Pakistani people and the aspirations of millions of Kashmiris, we must continue to leave no stone unturned in our efforts to highlight all aspects of the Kashmir dispute. This is not only our national duty but also a prerequisite of our Imaan”: he said. “We reiterate our collective resolve and commitment to extend full moral, political and diplomatic support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir” he concluded. At the end of the ceremony, a special prayer was offered for the liberation of Kashmiris.

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Law and Justice

National Judicial Policy Making Committee (NJPMC) holds Meeting



A meeting of the National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee, (NJPMC), was held under the Chairmanship of Hon’ble Mr. Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Chief Justice of Pakistan/Chairman, NJPMC, in Committee Room, Supreme Court of Pakistan, Islamabad.

On special invitation, the meeting was graced by Hon’ble Mr. Justice Mushir Alam, Senior Puisne Judge, Supreme Court of Pakistan, Hon’ble Mr. Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Judge, Supreme Court of Pakistan, and Hon’ble Mr. Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Judge, Supreme Court of Pakistan. The meeting was attended by the Hon’ble Members of the NJPMC, including Hon’ble Chief Justice, Federal Shariat Court, Mr. Justice Muhammad Noor Meskanzai, Hon’ble Mr. Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh, Chief Justice, High Court of Sindh (participated in the meeting through video linking), Mr. Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, Chief Justice, Peshawar High Court, Mr. Justice Athar Minallah, Chief Justice, Islamabad High Court, Mr. Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Chief Justice, High Court of Balochistan and Mr. Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan, Chief Justice, Lahore High Court.

Dr. Muhammad Raheem Awan, Secretary, National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee (NJPMC) convened the meeting. Furthermore, on special invitation, Dr. Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to Prime Minister for Health and Dr. Khurram Shahzad Akram, Incharge Judges Medical Centre, also attended the meeting.

The Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan/Chairman, NJPMC welcomed the participants and remarked that the prevailing situation on Corona Virus (COVID-19) in the country requires special attention and practical actions. He further remarked that the Supreme Court of Pakistan has already issued instructions regarding preventive measures to minimize the spread of contagion COVID-19. The Hon’ble Chair mentioned that Dr. Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to Prime Minister for Health, has been specially invited for apprising the Committee regarding various measures taken by the Federal Government to curb the Coronavirus in the Country.

The Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan further remarked that we will not compromise on our judicial system and not let it be derailed by getting panicked as people of Pakistan have great deal of confidence on judicial system so we will never disappoint them. The apex judiciary of the country will ensure and take all the necessary preventive measures for health and safety of our judges, court staff, lawyers, litigants and other justice sector stake holders up to the district and tehsil levels.

Hon’ble Chairman, NJPMC, said that detailed instructions have already been issued to all High Courts to take all possible preventive measures by way of case management to ensure that the Court Rooms are not crowded and physical contact between individuals attending Courts is avoided. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has been and will continue to monitor implementation of such measures. The Secretary, NJPMC, briefed the Committee about the prevailing situation on Corona Virus in the country.

The Secretary also apprised the Committee about preventive measures taken by the august Supreme Court of Pakistan to curb the virus, which include avoiding hand shake, regular use of fumigation and disinfectant for cleaning of court premises/offices, cafeterias, Bar rooms, libraries, mosques and committee room, etc. After deliberations, the Committee unanimously resolved that instructions/guidelines issued by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, shall be adopted by the Federal Shariat Court and High Courts upto the District and Tehsil Courts. Besides, the same may also be forwarded to the superior Judiciary of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. The Committee also deliberated upon and directed that the jail inmates (prisoners) shall be protected from being exposed to the risk of coronavirus/infection without denial of their right of family meetings, however, authorities will make sure to adopt precautionary measures and regulate the procedure of meetings. The Committee also deliberated upon likelihood of jail inmates to be exposed to coronavirus coming from outside, therefore, visitors visiting jail premises should be examined and properly screened to avoid any threat of infection of coronavirus to the prisoners, if any of the prisoner found infected he will be quarantined within jail premises without any delay from the premises.

The NJPMC unanimously resolved to adopt all these SoPs issued by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which would be applicable on all the Courts. It is further decided that courts will remain open at all levels by reducing the judicial work load, so that the people working in the courts or visiting shall not be exposed to any risk of getting affected by virus. Therefore, people are urged not to unnecessarily visit court premises unless specifically required by any court. It is further resolved that protocol of health and hygiene would be ensured and adopted.

In this regard like High Courts, District Courts will also reduce the work by hearing urgent matters and discouraging the entry of general public, as well as, assure to conduct screening tests of all persons entering in the Court premises. It is also resolved that no adverse order against any party would be passed in the courts in default i.e. non-prosecution or ex-parte order, etc. The Special Assistant to Prime Minister for Health informed the Committee that the issues like National Health Policy, Coordination, Research and Development, etc., devising guidelines regarding health emergencies and global representations, resides with the Federal Government.

Further informed that in the National Institute of Health, Islamabad, a surveillance unit has been established while there are similar units also operational in the Country and symptoms of Corona Virus are not disease specific. Moreover, the Virus has entered into Country from outside. Whereas, in few days, the Federal Government would import kits which would be made available to the Public Sector Health institution free of cost, moreover, the said free kits will be provided for conducting tests of specified categories of individuals free of cost to the eminent private sector hospitals and diagnostic centers.

The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Health further informed that in the 32nd Meeting of the National Security Committee, dated 13th March, 2020, it was decided that the National Disaster Management Authority would be the lead operational agency of the Federal Government and would coordinate its efforts with the provincial and district authorities for implementation of preventive and curative actions.

He further informed that the Federal Government Hospital, Islamabad, near to the National Institute of Health, Chak Shahzad, Islamabad, is being dedicated to combat Corona Virus. Moreover, the private sector is also coming forward to help the government to combat the Corona Virus. It was further resolved that the Crisis Management Committees would be formed by the respective High Courts to liaison with the concerned authorities for devising mechanism for safe guarding general public, litigants, lawyers, etc., from the spread of Corona Virus in the Federal Shariat Court and respective High Court premises, while for the District Judiciary the Hon’ble Chief Justice, High Courts would devise uniform plan/SoPs after consulting with the respective Administrative Committees, District and Sessions Judges and Bars.

Besides, the High Courts shall decide suitable protocol for type of urgent cases to be fixed for hearing, the number of Judges to hold Court, the duration of their sessions held on rotation and the corresponding number of judges and the staff that shall be on leave during such sessions. Hon’ble Mr. Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan, Judge Supreme Court of Pakistan has been nominated as focal Judge being Chairman of the Supreme Court Health and Safety Committee to ensure the implementation of the directions of the NJPMC. Whereas, the Federal Shariat Court and High Courts would also nominate a Focal Person to maintain the liaison among the Judiciary, Government Departments and relevant authorities.

The Hon’ble Chief Justice of High Courts will take such additional steps including administrative measure in consultation with Provincial health Authorities as may be deemed necessary. In order to ensure uniformity, the Hon’ble Focal Judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan shall be kept in loop before such additional steps and measures are implemented. It was unanimously agreed that these all measures are taken for three weeks after that these will be reviewed according to the prevailing situation of the county.

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