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An employee contributes labor and expertise to an endeavor of an employer and is usually hired to perform specific duties which are packaged into a job. In most modern economies, the term "employee" refers to a specific defined relationship between an individual and a corporation, which differs from those of customer or client. Other types of employment are arrangements such as indenturing which is now highly unusual in developed nations but still happens elsewhere An employer's level of power over its workers is dependent upon numerous factors, the most influential being the nature of the contractual relationship between the two. This relationship is affected by three significant factors: interests, control and motivation. It is generally considered the employers' responsibility to manage and balance these factors in a way that enables a harmonious and productive working relationship. Employer and managerial control within an organization rests at many levels and has important implications for staff and productivity alike, with control forming the fundamental link between desired outcomes and actual processes. Employers must balance interests such as decreasing wage constraints with a maximization of labour productivity in order to achieve a profitable and productive employment relationship In the United States, the standard employment relationship is considered to be at-will, meaning that the employer and employee are both free to terminate the employment at any time and for any cause, or for no cause at all. However, if a termination of employment[3] by the employer is deemed unjust by the employee, there can be legal recourse to challenge such a termination. Unjust termination may include termination due to discrimination because of an individual's race, national origin, sex or gender, pregnancy, age, physical or mental disability, religion, or military status. Additional protections apply in some states, for instance in California unjust termination reasons include marital status, ancestry, sexual orientation or medical condition. Despite whatever agreement an employer makes with an employee for the employee's wages, an employee is entitled to certain minimum wages set by the federal government. The states may set their own minimum wage that is higher than the federal government's to ensure a higher standard of living or living wage for their residents. Under the Equal Pay Act of 1963 an employer may not give different wages based on sex alone.[4] Employees are often contrasted with independent contractors, especially when there is dispute as to the worker's entitlement to have matching taxes paid, workers compensation, and unemployment insurance benefits. However, in September 2009, the court case of Brown v. J. Kaz, Inc. ruled that independent contractors are regarded as employees for the purpose of discrimination laws if they work for the employer on a regular basis, and said employer directs the time, place, and manner of employment.[5] In non-union work environments, in the United States, unjust termination complaints can be brought to the United States Department of Labor. Trade Unions in the United States In unionized work environments in particular, employees who are receiving discipline, up to and including termination of employment can ask for assistance by their shop steward to advocate on behalf of the employee. If an informal negotiation between the shop steward and the company does not resolve the issue, the shop steward may file a grievance, which can result in a resolution within the company, or mediation or arbitration, which are typically funded equally both by the union and the company. In the US, employment law and, in particular, unionized employees terminating employment varies among companies, unions, and states. Some states have right to work vs. employment at will and therefore, ending employment can change from state to state. Secondly, different companies have different rules and processes for ending employment. In certain companies and industries they take the 3-step process: written warning, second written, final written and then termination. In addition, different unions have different steps for ending employment. Something that doesn't change is the stewards and unions protecting their employees with regards to violations of policies. In most all cases, union and stewards will protect their employees even if they feel the employee violated the policy ending to termination.