An employment lawyer is a type of attorney that represents both employees and employers in connection with issues that involve both state employment laws and federal employment laws. Employment lawyers ensure that all employees are treated in fair and consistent manners and that the employer is in compliance with all of the numerous federal, state, and local laws that apply to modern workplaces.
An employment attorney can draft and review an employee handbook and assist with wage law issues. They can also represent both employees and employers before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
These lawyers also provide guidance on employees’ rights if an employee alleges that their rights have been violated. An employment lawyer can handle numerous employment-related legal issues, including:
Many employment attorneys represent employees who are not in a union. They may be essentially powerless in situations where their employer has treated them in a way that violates applicable laws and puts the employee at a disadvantage.
What are Employee Attorney Duties?
An employment law attorney, also called an employee attorney, will handle a wide range of employment law matters. They have various duties related to representing their clients.
In the majority of cases, employee attorneys represent employees who have had certain benefits, employment rights, or property interests violated during the course of their employment. Typically, this involves a lawsuit between the worker and their employer.
Employment law attorney duties may also include:
- Providing a client with legal research on the relevant employment law codes;
- Negotiating with employers regarding benefits for the employee;
- Holding property on behalf of the employee for safekeeping, usually to be used as evidence in an upcoming trial;
- Filing a complaint with a government agency such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is often necessary for some claims, such as discrimination;
- Handling matters related to labor unions and union membership;
- Verifying that an employee is certified to work in the United States.;
- Representing clients in court; and
- Various other duties.
When Should I Hire an Employment Lawyer if I am the Employee?
An employer may commit a wide variety of unlawful actions that place an employee at a disadvantage or violates their rights. An individual should contact an employment attorney if any of the following situations occur:
- The individual has been harassed at work;
- The individual has been treated in a discriminatory manner because of a protected characteristic, for example, pregnancy;
- The employer has retaliated against the individual because they exercised a right such as requesting overtime pay to which they are entitled by law;.
- The individual’s employment has been terminated in violation of an employment contract, express or implied;
- The individual is being forced to sign an agreement waiving rights to which they are entitled;
- The individual’s employer has not given them the benefits to which they are entitled under their employment contract.
If an employee is injured or becomes sick at work, they may be required to file a workers’ compensation claim. An employment lawyer may help an employee file the most effective possible claim or to appeal a denial of their benefits.
If an employee works in a non-unionized workplace and they wish to try to unionize, an employee may also want to consult with an employment lawyer. A lawyer can assist by advising the employee regarding their right to form a union as well as the activities in which they can engage in connection with that effort.
A lawyer can inform employees of their rights, including the right to be free of discrimination based on their protected union activity. An individual should consult with an employment attorney as soon as they become aware of an issue.
If an individual waits too long to contact a lawyer, that delay may prevent them from proving that the conduct was committed by their employer. Therefore, it may prevent them from recovering damages. In addition, there are typically time limits to asserting rights and complaints under the law.
Any delays cause the employee to risk losing the right to file a claim or a complaint.
When Should I Hire an Employment Lawyer if I am the Employer?
In addition to protecting the rights of employees, an employment lawyer can also advise employers regarding their rights and responsibilities related to union workers and efforts of employees to unionize in an employer’s workplace, as well as many other issues. An employment attorney can assist an employer with many issues.
An employment lawyer can educate an employer regarding the state and federal laws that may apply to the employer’s particular workplace. Employment lawyers can also help ensure that an employer is in compliance with any applicable laws.
An employment lawyer can assist employers with learning about their obligations in connection with the guidelines provided by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) as well as environmental regulations. In addition, an employment lawyer can defend an employer before a range of governmental boards and agencies in the event that they are cited for non-compliance.
An employer should contact an employment lawyer if any of the following apply:
- They need representation in collective bargaining negotiations with a union;
- An employee has filed a complaint for harassment or discrimination against the employer;
- When an employee has filed a lawsuit naming the employer as a defendant for an employment related matter; or
- The employer plans to lay off or fire a large number of employees, terminate an employee benefit, or change the current pension plan that it offers.
An employment lawyer can also assist with legal issues other than a dispute between an employee and an employer. An employment lawyer can assist with reviewing or preparing contracts and agreements that the employer uses with their employees, including:
- Employment contracts;
- Severance contracts; or
It is important to note that workplaces may be subject to numerous different types of regulations by a number of different local, state and federal agencies, such as OSHA. Of course, employers may want to be in regular contact with a lawyer who has expertise in the domains of regulation that affect the employer’s particular workplace.
How Do I Find an Employment Law Attorney?
There are numerous different methods an individual may use to locate an employment law attorney, including:
- A phone book;
- Attorney listings;
- State and county bar association groups;
- Word of mouth;
- Advertisements; and
- Online searches.
It may be time consuming and inaccurate to manually search for an attorney. There are more efficient services that an individual may employ, including using LegalMatch.
LegalMatch.com has an extensive online database of pre-screened and licensed employment law attorneys across all 50 states.
What are Some Common Issues in Hiring an Employment Lawyers?
It is good consumer sense for an individual to do several things when they are considering hiring an attorney. This includes consulting with more than one attorney with expertise in the legal area the individual needs before choosing one to hire.
Many attorneys will provide free initial consultations, or first meetings, which would allow the individual to interview multiple lawyers before choosing one. Prior to meeting with an attorney, an individual should prepare themselves to describe their issue with a brief and clear summary.
An individual should inquire as to whether the attorney has experience in the specific issue that they have, what their legal options may be, and what their chances of success are. It is also important to determine what the fees will be to handle the case, who will work on the case, such as the attorney, an associate, or an assistant, and when the issue may be resolved.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Employment Issues?
If you believe you need assistance with any legal claims or legal duties you may have, it may be helpful to hire a workplace lawyer in your area. Your lawyer can provide you with the legal advice, information, and research to help your claim succeed.