Do employers need an employment lawyer? It depends. Employment law is complicated and has many details. If you anticipate litigation or are in the process of terminating an employee and there are significant amounts of money involved, it may be advisable to consult with individual counsel specifically experienced in employment law to make sure that all legal obligations are addressed.
Knowing when to contact an employment lawyer is crucial for the success of your business and the well-being of your workforce. This article will explore scenarios where it is appropriate to contact an employment lawyer, such as wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, wage theft, workplace safety violations, union/collective bargaining rights violations, and denial of reasonable accommodation for disabilities.
When to contact an employment lawyer
- Wrongful termination is a common issue in the workplace and one that employers should seek legal advice upon. The first scenario is when an employee is being terminated for no legal reason whatsoever. In some cases, employers terminate employees without presenting any evidence of wrongdoing since they can simply claim that the employee was a “bad fit,” and this is not subject to appeal. To avoid wrongful termination, employers should develop policies clearly outlining what type of behavior by the employee will lead them to be terminated from their position. This way, no employee will be able to claim wrongful termination for reasons outside of the company’s control.
- In another scenario, an employee may be being terminated for medical reasons. In this case, employees are not being terminated for no reason, and the employer must make a concerted effort to fulfill all of their obligations under the Code. Suppose an employer has an implied contract with the employee stipulating that the employee must be compensated for any time missed due to illness or injury. In that case, they should meet these obligations to avoid any potential breach of contract claim from a former employee.
- Harassment in the workplace is also a common issue faced by employers. Harassment can come in many forms, including sexual harassment and harassment over an employee’s personal appearance. For example, if an employer makes demeaning comments about an employee’s body or face, this would be considered harassment. To avoid harassment claims by employees, employers should have a clear anti-harassment policy in place. This will assist in limiting any liability that the company may have if one of its employees decides to initiate legal action against them for sexual or gender-based harassment.
- When it comes to discrimination, there are two main types—direct and indirect—that you should be concerned about as an employer.
- Direct discrimination occurs when an employer engages in unlawful acts based on a protected category (like race, creed, gender, and disability). When an employer hires a candidate for a position, they must ensure that the person meets all requirements for the job. Therefore, if an employer only hires “young males” to fill specific positions but then does not hire anyone under the age of 25, this would fall under direct discrimination.
- Indirect discrimination occurs when an employer treats people of one protected category differently than another because they are considered to be a member of another protected group. For example, it would be regarded as indirect discrimination if an employer doesn’t allow women to join their team until they have children in order to avoid potential maternity leave claims.
- The last scenario involves wage theft. Wage theft occurs when an employer does not pay their employees all of the wages owed. If an employee is being paid less than what they should be receiving or if an employee is working more hours than are reflected on their pay stubs, this would be considered wage theft on the part of the employer.
Advantages of employment lawyers for companies
- Knowledge of Employment Laws and Regulations
Employment lawyers are experienced in defending your company’s interests when dealing with labor disputes, discrimination claims, wage and hour laws, and other workplace violations. You can be at peace knowing that your lawyer is knowledgeable in federal, state, and local employment laws and will provide you with the best representation possible.
- Prevents Costly Lawsuits and Fines
Employment lawyers can help you avoid costly lawsuits, fines, and settlements. They can also help you avoid wrongful termination lawsuits and protect your company against whistleblower claims.
- Better Communication with Employees
Employment lawyers are skilled in educating both employees and managers about their rights and responsibilities in the workplace. They can also help employees understand and utilize the policy manuals, handbooks, company bulletin boards, and other resources available to them.
- Protects Your Company’s Reputation
Having a complaint filed against your company can tarnish its reputation. A Los Angeles employment lawyer will help you avoid such a loss, especially when the claim is frivolous or unfounded.
If you are an employer, it is important that your employees are happy. However, if at any time you feel that you need to consult a specialist in employment law, do not hesitate to do so. Employment lawyers engage both employees and employers to maintain a healthy work environment while resolving disputes through contract law and other legal means.
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