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What to Know Before Hiring A Labor and Employment Attorney

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018
a business attorney can help your company succeed

In today’s legal landscape, labor and employment regulations are shifting. Changes are happening to laws about everything from disputes with work schedules to paid sick leave. As an employer, it’s smart to ask yourself if you need to hire a labor and employment attorney. In most cases, doing this is an important move. A labor and employment attorney is a trusted source that can handle all legal situations. However, before you hire one, there are a few things you should know.

Understand the difference between labor laws and employment laws

In legal terms, there are many differences between labor law and employment law, but most people tend to use the phrases interchangeably. Employers may need to know the difference when seeking the help of an attorney.

Labor laws deal with narrower subject matters that include collective bargaining agreements and union organizing in relationship to union/management good faith negotiations. Few federal and state laws oversee labor issues, as employment laws include everything not related to the workplace. Employment laws deal with things like wages, hours, workers compensation, and wrongful termination lawsuits.

What a labor and employment attorney does

A labor and employment attorney can be hired by either an employer or an employee. These professionals have the skills and knowledge to help both parties. The attorney could work with a labor union representative, a top industry business leader, or a plant manager. The employment attorney’s main job is to help managers, business owners, and others know and enforce all labor and employment laws. Employment attorneys can help with writing employee handbooks, assist in entering into tough contract negotiations, or settle difficult disputes. All these areas are within the strict legal guidelines of labor and employment law.

How much should you expect to pay the attorney?

The cost of hiring a labor and employment attorney will vary and may seem high. However, the cost of settling a lawsuit could be devastating for your business. Some attorneys will bill clients on an hourly basis while others will accept cases on a contingency basis, which means that those attorneys’ services will be paid by receiving a percentage of the settlement awarded. These types of arrangements are usually reserved for employees who hope to receive a settlement from their employer. All clients should ask for a written record of billable hours from their labor and employment attorney.

How do you know if you need an attorney?

A labor and employment attorney should be contacted under many of circumstances. These will vary depending upon whether labor laws or employment laws are in question. Experienced attorneys can typically handle either.

If an employer is facing a possible lawsuit for poor working conditions, unlawful overtime policies, or wrongful termination, an attorney can defend them. If a manager needs help drafting contracts, a labor and employment attorney can provide guidance as well. If there’s a strong chance that your employees might go on strike, an attorney’s knowledge can help prevent that. Finally, if firing a union employee that has shown poor performance is a possibility, you should consult an attorney.

The following are three of the most common times you should have an attorney on your side.

When there is a claim against your business

To protect their rights, employees are allowed to lodge a complaint against their employer with a local government agency. You should educate yourself on all labor and employment laws to help fight any false claims. A labor and employment attorney can help you understand how to protect yourself.

Before you fire an employee

Careful confirmation on all allegations should be done before an employee is fired. You must be able to prove that they took part in gross misconduct with their actions at the workplace. All employers should seek legal advice before choosing to fire a worker. Employment laws can be complex, so hiring an attorney can help you through the process.

A labor and employment attorney will ensure that your business is applying the same penalty to all employees if their actions are the same. Failure to do so could lead to a work discrimination lawsuit. Employees aren’t usually open about whether they will sue their employers after they have been fired. You may not know their actions until you are served with court papers. Be sure to confirm with your attorney if you have the right to fire an employee, even if they have violated their employment contract.

Before laying off employees

It is unfortunate, but sometimes business owners are no longer able to keep employees. When it’s time to lay off workers, you should stick to standard corporate protocol. A labor and employment attorney will help in the proceedings so your rights as a business owner are protected. Consult with them on the types of severance packages to offer employees before making the final decision. The attorney will then prepare legal documents for employees to relinquish their right to sue in return for severance pay.

If you need help navigating the complexities of labor and employment laws, contact Brown & Fortunato P.C. today. Our Labor and Employment Team can keep your business compliant and get you through any litigation issues. Give us a call at (833) 228-6300 or contact us via email for more information about our Practice Areas and how we can help you.