Before discussing the role of an employment lawyer, it is helpful to first discuss and understand what employment law covers. Employment law is an umbrella term that is used to describe a wide variety of legal issues associated with employees, employers, and workplace safety conditions. An example of this would be how some employment laws apply to cases involving employment discrimination, while other employment laws are used to guide drafting company policies and employee handbooks.
The overall intention of employment law is to provide rights and protection to all who are part of the workforce. Some examples of this include, but may not be limited to:
- Protecting employees who are involved in disputes with a colleague, an employer, or a company;
- Making sure that businesses do not discriminate against job candidates or current employees during the course of the interviewing, hiring, promoting, or terminating processes;
- Providing specific rights to those who are self-employed, or those who are considered to be independent contractors; and
- Ensuring that those who are considered to be volunteers and interns are protected from sexual harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation in the workplace.
It is important to note that employment laws vary considerably on a state by state basis. Because of this, the rights and protections that are provided by one state may not be provided by another state. Some issues are governed by both state and federal employment laws, such as pregnancy leave.
Employment lawyers may represent either employees and employers with issues involving both state and federal employment law. These attorneys specialize in making sure that all employees are treated in a fair and consistent manner. Employment attorneys also ensure that employers comply with all of the local, state, and federal laws that apply to their specific workplace.
What Types of Services Do Walnut Creek Employment Law Attorneys Provide?
A Walnut Creek labor attorney can help employers draft and review employee handbooks, in order to ensure that they comply with all applicable laws and regulations. As employee handbooks are vital in aiding clear communication between employees and employers, a legally sound employee handbook can reduce the need for future legal consultation associated with workplace conflicts.
Employment attorneys can also assist with wage law issues and violations, and represent either employees or employers before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Another service that Walnut Creek employment law attorneys provide would be guidance regarding employees’ rights, if an employee has alleged that their rights have been violated by their employer.
Some other examples of legal issues that are addressed by employment lawyers include, but may not be limited to:
- Wrongful termination and employment discrimination;
- Sexual harassment in the workplace;
- Employment contract violations;
- Issues associated with employee benefits, such as health insurance and retirement savings plans; and
- Protection for whistleblowers.
What Are Some Common Types of Employment Law Disputes?
One of the most common types of employment law disputes, or workplace disputes, involves how a worker is classified. These classifications are important because they determine a worker’s rights, as well as an employer’s responsibilities to the employee.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) are federal laws that divide workers into two overall categories of employment: employees, and independent contractors. The groups that are categorized within those two categories are then further classified as various types of employment, each with its own rights, protections, and responsibilities.
Another common issue involving employment law has to do with workplace safety violations. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) is responsible for enforcing the various laws and policies that protect employees from both dangerous conditions and unsafe work environments.
Some other examples of when an employee should contact an employment attorney include, but may not be limited to:
- Being harassed at work;
- Being treated in a discriminatory manner, such as belonging to a protected class;
- Experiencing employer retaliation because they exercised their rights, such as requesting overtime pay that they are entitled to;.
- Being terminated in violation of an employment contract;
- Being forced to sign an agreement which would waive any of the rights to which they are entitled; and/or
- They are not receiving the employment benefits to which they are entitled to according to their employment contract.
Some examples of when an employer should contact an employment attorney include, but may not be limited to:
- Requiring representation during collective bargaining negotiations with a worker’s union;
- An employee has filed a complaint for discrimination and/or harassment against them;
- An employee has filed a lawsuit that names them as a defendant for an employment related matter; or
- They plan to lay off or fire a large number of employees, terminate a specific employee benefit, or change the current pension plan that they offer.
How Are Employment Law Disputes Resolved in Walnut Creek?
Employment law disputes in Walnut Creek, CA are generally addressed first with a conversation between the employer and the employee. Prior to bringing your concerns to your employer, review all relevant material associated with the policies and procedures of your company. You should also get everything relevant to the situation in writing before you voice your concerns.
When bringing your complaint to your employer, you should summarize the problem and state the facts. It is also helpful if you present a possible solution or outcome. An example of this would be being moved to a different area of the office or changing shifts. If you are able to suggest a workable solution, there are better chances of quickly resolving the dispute. If you and your employer cannot come to a resolution, you should contact an employment attorney for further guidance.
Employment law disputes involving wages and overtime pay generally involve several legal issues at once. An example of this would be how a wage garnishment case could be associated with another legal issue, such as child support payments. Disability and discrimination wage dispute claims should be filed with the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor.
Employment law disputes may be resolved through internal actions as previously mentioned, or through legal action such as filing a claim with the appropriate agency. In some cases, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit against your employer. Remedies for such lawsuits generally consist of a damages award, which is intended to help you recover for any financial losses experienced from the workplace dispute.
Where Can I Find a Walnut Creek Employment Lawyer? How Much Does a Walnut Creek Employment Lawyer Cost?
Before finding a Walnut Creek employment lawyer, you may want to do some searching to find out specifically what sort of legal issues you are dealing with. An experienced attorney can guide you through the process of filing a claim with the appropriate agency, and help build your case for a potential lawsuit.
Finding an attorney can be done by conducting an internet search using the right search terms. Some examples of such terms could include:
- Employment lawyer Walnut Creek;
- Employment attorney Walnut Creek;
- Employment lawyer Walnut Creek CA;
- Walnut Creek labor attorney; or
- Labor lawyer Walnut Creek.
You may also want to utilize the attorney referral service provided by the Contra Costa County Bar Association. Another especially useful tool would be LegalMatch, which provides attorney referrals based on specific information that you provide about your case. The service is free to use, and will only provide you suggested attorneys that are able to take on your case.
In terms of how much a Walnut Creek employment law attorney will cost, this varies widely. Generally speaking, attorneys near Walnut Creek, CA charge between $100 and $600 per hour. Alternatively, an employment lawyer may take a percentage of the damages award, which varies between 33% and 40%.
Should I Hire a Walnut Creek Employment Law Attorney for My Case?
Whether you are an employer or an employee, if you are experiencing issues related to employment law, you should contact an experienced local Walnut Creek, CA employment lawyer. Because much of employment law is regional, it is advised that you work with an area attorney so that you receive the most relevant legal advice.
A local lawyer can provide you with guidance regarding your best course of legal action, as well as assist you in filing a complaint with the correct agency. Finally, an attorney will also be able to represent you in court, as needed, should you need to file a lawsuit against the other party.