Employment law changes on a regular basis. Both employees and employers may need the professional services of an employment lawyer in the event of a dispute or other type of issue that could become a legal concern. It can be tricky to determine when to hire an Austin law firm for employment law services. Here are some tips on how employment lawyers can help an employee or an employer and what they can do in different types of legal situations.
What Employment Lawyers Do
Employees and employers may be represented by an employment lawyer. These legal professionals handle local, state and national work laws. An employment lawyer ensures that employees are treated consistently and fairly in accordance with the law.
They also make sure that employers are complying with all labor-related and workplace-related laws for their location. An employment lawyer may also review employee handbooks, write employee handbooks, explain an employee’s rights and represent employees or employers in cases related to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is a federal entity.
Types of Employment Cases Handled By Lawyers
Employment lawyers represent employees and employers in a variety of legal situations, such as:
- Wrongful termination
- Workplace discrimination
- ADA compliance
- Employee benefits
- Sexual harassment
- Wage discrepancies, such as not being paid overtime when it’s owed
- Contract violations
- Discriminatory hiring practices
- Whistleblower protection
Who Does an Employment Lawyer Represent?
An employment lawyer may represent an employee who feels that their employer violated their rights. They also represent employees that may have been discriminated against by a company where they applied to work. In most cases, these employees are non-unionized.
Unions typically have their own employment lawyers to uphold the contracts they have with employers. A non-unionized employee is at a distinct power disadvantage if they are mistreated by an employer. An employment lawyer may also represent an employer who has been accused of an employment-related offense.
When Should an Employee Hire an Employment Lawyer?
There are many cases in which an employee should hire an employment lawyer. If a situation is unlawful or violates an employee’s rights, an employment lawyer offers legal advice and may provide representation in negotiations or court cases.
One type of situation in which an employee should hire an employment lawyer is if they were harassed at work. This includes sexual, gender and racial harassment.
Employees should work with an employment lawyer if they’re part of a protected class or have a protected characteristic, and their employer has discriminated against them as a result of that characteristic. For example, a woman who is pregnant and is denied a wage increase as a result of her pregnancy may have a legal case against her employer.
An employee whose employer retaliated against them for exercising their rights should hire a lawyer. For example, if the employee was not paid overtime wages for which they are due, and the employer retaliated against them by not paying and cutting their hours, the employee should seek legal representation.
When an employer terminates an employee, and this termination is in violation of the person’s employment contract, the employee should hire an employment lawyer. This is the case whether the termination is implied or expressed. An example is if an employer terminates an employee just before they become vested in the company’s stock.
If a person is forced to waive rights to which they are given under the law, they need to hire an employment lawyer. Similarly, if the employer has refused to give an employee the benefits they are owed under their employment contract, it’s important to consult with a lawyer.
If an employee experiences an on-the-job injury or work-related illness, an employment lawyer could assist them with filing a workers’ compensation claim. They can also assist an employee whose workers’ compensation claim was denied by the employer.
Employees who work in a non-unionized company may seek the advice of an employment lawyer with expertise in the right to join a union. The lawyer could provide guidance on the activities in which employees may engage at work.
An employee who experiences any of these situations should seek the legal advice and representation of an Austin law firm for employment law issues as soon as possible. Delaying legal representation could make it difficult for an employee to prove their case. There’s also a statute of limitations on most employment-related legal issues.
When Does an Employer Need an Employment Lawyer?
Employers need employment lawyers to provide advice and verify compliance related to all types of employment laws. An employer may also need information about their obligation to comply with the whole of local, state and federal guidelines, regulations and laws related to employment.
For example, if an employer is cited for non-compliance by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration for workplace-related safety issues, they should hire an employment lawyer to represent them.
An employment lawyer may represent an employer in negotiations for collective bargaining with an existing employee union. They also offer legal advice for employers when employees are attempting to start or join a union for the first time.
If an employee filed a complaint for harassment or discrimination against an employer, an employment lawyer may represent the employer. Employees who file a lawsuit that includes the employer as a defendant will also need the services of an employment lawyer.
Employers who plan to lay off or terminate large numbers of employees would benefit from an employment lawyer’s counsel. If an employer has plans to end an employee benefit program or change its pension plan, an employment lawyer can ensure that the information is communicated properly and the changes are in accordance with all laws regarding these employee benefits.
When an employer plans to create a new employment contract, offer a severance package or release an employee from a contract, it’s a good idea for the employer to contract with an employment lawyer. This is especially true in cases involving proprietary information, non-compete clauses or high-compensation employees.
Employers in an industry that requires regular inspections should consider hiring employment lawyers to ensure compliance. For example, the meatpacking and finance industries are highly regulated. An employment lawyer could ensure that the employer is complying with all of the known regulations by conducting routine audits. Employers could avoid fees, penalties and fines by hiring an Austin law firm with experience in employment law.