In the corporate world, issues such as wrongful termination, office politics, bullying, physical harassment and verbal abuse are, unfortunately, quite common. Conflicts between employers and their employees are often the culprits behind these problems. Most of the time, higher authorities using their power for personal and professional create these conflicts, as well. As a result, employees are too fearful to deal with their employers’ illegal actions.
If you are in the same situation, you don’t have to be afraid.
With assistance from a trusted employment lawyer, you can fight for your rights in the workplace. The same holds true for employers who aim to stay on the right side of corporate law.
But before you start Googling “employment lawyers near me,” it’s best to know how an employment law attorney can help your case, when you should hire one and how you can benefit from their legal assistance.
What Can an Employment Lawyer Do?
Generally, employment lawyers advise both employees and employers in all aspects of employment, such as hiring, termination and other workplace issues. Their legal counsel can either be conscientious or non-conscientious. The former involves helping and representing clients to prepare and go through the litigation process. The latter, on the other hand, involves providing daily support to the HR department with drafting, reviewing and advising on the following:
- Employee policies
- Employment contracts
- Benefits policies
Employment law attorneys offer a variety of services to employers and employees, with some of the most common tasks including the following:
Explanation of rights.
An employment attorney can help you make sense of a case by explaining your rights to you. Their employment legal advice includes an explanation of the applicable laws to your case, as well as your available options, which may include mediation, litigation or negotiation. Your lawyer can also explain the pros and cons of each option and offer the best way to proceed with your case. They can also tell you if a lawsuit is worth it or not.
Filing of a complaint.
Most employment law cases require filing a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission before an employee can pursue their case. Your employment lawyer can help you file the complaint with the right agency, as well as explain the limits concerning the claim.
Employment attorneys representing employers have one common task: to help employers comply with state and federal employment laws. This includes compliance with discrimination laws, which involves informing employers and drafting policies that don’t discriminate against employees based on color, race, national origin, disability or religion. Employment lawyers also assist employers in learning their obligations when it comes to environmental regulations and OHSA guidelines.
Legal guidance in employment-related cases.
Employment lawyers represent employees who are filing cases against their employers due to wrongful termination, discrimination, wage and hour claims and denied benefits. It can also work the other way around: they can defend employers against these claims.
Some legal claims that an employment lawyer can help you with are:
- Union lawsuits. Employment attorneys can advise employees of their right to form a union. They may also advise employers on their responsibilities and rights regarding union workers.
- Wage and hour lawsuits. When an employee does not receive compensation for their wages or hours, they may file for a lawsuit. If their employers are asking them to work off the clock or they do not receive overtime pay, employees can consult with employment attorney lawyers for legal counsel.
- Employment class actions. When many employees are affected by a single adverse decision by their employers, such as wage and hour claims or discrimination, they can group to form a class action.
- Third-party lawsuits. In some cases, an employee may file a third-party lawsuit against another party (apart from their employer) for work-related injuries. Employment attorneys can communicate with a legal representative from the other side, help prepare complaints and appear in court on behalf of the employee.
- Discrimination lawsuits. If you were demoted, terminated, reassigned or not hired because of your race, religion or another status, you may file for a discrimination lawsuit (if you are an employee). The sixth title of 1964’s Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on color, race, sex, religion and nationality. On the other hand, the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination based on an employee’s disability whereas the Age Discrimination Act prohibits the discrimination of employees aged 40 years old and beyond.
- Workers’ compensation claims. These claims arise when an employee becomes ill or injured due to their work. An employment attorney can assist the injured or ill employee in filing an appeal or a claim. The attorney may also represent the employer’s interests to settle with the injured or ill employee.
Why Would You Need an Employment Lawyer?
There are two ways to answer this question, depending on if you are an employee of an employer.
Protecting your rights as an employee.
Anytime you start working in any company, it’s important to keep your employer accountable and transparent. Working with employment and labor lawyers ensures that you can do so in that regard.
Here are a few ways in which their service will be useful to you:
- Filing a wrongful termination suit. As mentioned, there are many laws in place that protect your rights in the workplace. These rights are covered under provisions like the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Equal Pay Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. When your employer violates these acts, you’ll need assistance from a credible lawyer to protect your rights.
- Investigations into a toxic work environment. A toxic work environment is a matter of law and physical and mental health issues. Instead of tolerating toxic habits in the corporate workplace, seek assistance from an attorney to get compensation or address the problem.
- Wrongful discipline or unfair treatment. There may be situations where you feel that your employer “has it out” for you or you notice that they treat you differently from other employees. This is difficult to prove, which is why you’ll need a lawyer who can help build your case.
- Claims of sexual harassment and racial discrimination. If your employer even comments on your sexuality or race, it’s time to get a lawyer.
Protecting your rights as an employer.
Employees are not the only ones with rights. If you have people on your payroll, your business can make use of the services of an employment law attorney. Plus, keeping an eye on corporate law enables your business to thrive.
Consider the following ways that an attorney can be useful to you.
- Putting together severance packages. Although layoffs are the unfortunate reality of business, there is still a better way to compensate laid-off employees via severance packages. In line with this, you need to create a severance package that offers one-time payouts and other benefits. Partner with your attorney to create a severance package that will properly compensate laid-off employees.
- Constructing workplace policy. Avoid litigations and workplace conflicts by dealing with everything from sick leave and vacation days to holiday bonuses.
- Doing your due diligence. You’ll need a lawyer to be on the right side of any workers’ compensation case. Your attorney will make sure you’re not overpaying or underpaying your employees.
“Should I Hire an Employment Lawyer?”
You should hire an employment attorney if you are involved in any employment-related conflict or if you want to make sure that your business is abiding by state or federal employment laws. Any legal argument between the employee and their employers require an experienced labor law attorney.
You must always be prepared for what may happen. An employment lawyer shields you from any legal blindsides.
So how much does it cost to hire an employment lawyer? These attorneys often charge between $75 to $250 for an hour’s worth of consultation. Once you schedule your consultation, organize the facts first and be clear about your agenda. An hour should be more than enough to explain your case and get some advice on how you should proceed.
No matter what side of the legal coin you are on, you’ll need access to an experienced and skilled attorney to protect your rights. Hire an employment lawyer you can trust to get quality legal representation.