28 Jun Guide When Hiring an Employment Law Attorney
Whether you’re an employer or employee, you must be aware of the applicable employment laws to stay protected. But this is much easier said than done, given all the rules and statutes to remember.
It’s especially challenging in California, known for its complex labor laws. As you go through them, you’ll quickly find that the state regulations have many nuances from the federal law. So if you need help working out the technicalities, consider hiring an Employment Law Attorney to represent you.
Employment attorneys can represent employers or employees in legal matters related to the workplace. To learn more about what they do, check out this guide explaining when and why you should hire one and what to consider along the way.
When to Hire an Employment Law Attorney
An employment law attorney provides legal services for employment-related issues, such as wage and hour lawsuits, wrongful termination, and employment litigation. However, one common question many ask is—how do you know when to hire an employment attorney?
As a rule of thumb, you should do this whenever you’re involved in employer-employee conflicts. Remember—when you become aware of the issue, you should hire a lawyer immediately to take proper action and avoid delays. Check out the information below for more concrete scenarios.
As an employer, it’s generally a good idea to work with an attorney if you’re managing operations in the state or hiring California-based employees for the first time. An employment lawyer can advise you on the laws that apply to your workplace and help you stay compliant. Other than this, here are different scenarios when you should hire a lawyer as an employer:
- You want to learn more about Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines to make your working environment safe and hazard-free.
- You need help reviewing your employee handbook or managing paperwork like employee contracts and severance agreements.
- You’re facing a lawsuit or employment dispute related to employment discrimination or harassment, not receiving good benefits or other issues.
- You’re looking for advice for significant decisions like retrenchments or lay-offs.
- You’re seeking representation for collective bargaining negotiations with a labor union.
On the other hand, if you’re an employee, you should get help from a lawyer if your employer commits unlawful actions that violate your rights. This could be related to your compensation, benefits or privileges, health, or well-being in the company. Specifically, here are some clear signs that it’s time to hire a lawyer:
- You’ve experienced some form of workplace malpractice, such as bullying, physical or sexual harassment, discrimination, and employer retaliation.
- You don’t receive the compensation you’re rightfully entitled to, whether due to working off the clock or not getting overtime pay.
- You need help filing a workers’ compensation claim for getting sick or injured in the workplace.
- You need advice on forming or managing a labor union.
- Your employer retaliated against you for exercising a particular right, such as whistleblowing or asking for your overtime pay.
- Your employment contract was wrongfully terminated without a justifiable reason.
- You don’t receive your employee benefits, as stated in your contract.
Things to Consider Before Hiring an Employment Law Attorney
If you find yourself in need of an employment law attorney, there are several things to think about before hiring one. Employment lawyers vary in experience, skills, and characteristics, so it’s crucial to find the best person to represent you for your case. To help you out, here are some key factors to consider in your decision:
- Client Representation. Does the lawyer typically represent employers or employees? While some employment attorneys can represent clients from either side, most focus on one side for efficiency. Thus, clarifying this from the beginning is vital to ensuring that you choose a lawyer who primarily represents your side.
- Experience. How much experience does the lawyer have? There are many ways to determine this. First, ask how many years they have been in practice and review their track record for their winning rate. Then, you should also check if they have trial experience. While most employment issues don’t reach court, preparing is wise in case your issue does reach court proceedings.
- References. Another good way to gauge a lawyer’s capabilities is to ask them for references. Good employment lawyers should be able to readily give you past clients you can contact to hear more about their experience. If possible, look for references with similar cases to yours to understand better how the lawyer works.
- Legal Fees. Cost should always be a significant consideration when hiring an employment lawyer. Before choosing anyone, ask how much their legal fees are and how they bill their services. Some charge hourly while others work on contingency, which helps you plan your finances and get the best value.
- Communication. Employment lawyers have different communication styles. Some prefer in-person meetings, while others prefer phone calls and emails. Likewise, the frequency they speak with you regarding the case will also vary. Thus, finding a lawyer whose communication style matches yours is essential.
Why Hire an Employment Law Attorney?
If you’re still on the fence about hiring an attorney, here are the top reasons you should hire one. Whether you’re on the employer or employee side, you’ll get valuable benefits from having a professional in employment law assist you.
- Understand Complex Laws. California’s employment laws are understandably complex, so an attorney can help you navigate these rules. They’ll educate you on the laws you must follow to ensure your business stays compliant and doesn’t violate workers’ rights.
- Review Contracts. Employment lawyers can assist you in drafting and reviewing documents like the employment contract. This sounds simple, but contracts are legally binding, so it’s vital to write down all the information correctly. Every detail, such as the job description, compensation, or employee classification, has proper rules. Thus, it helps to have an expert eye check the document before signing them.
- Be Proactive. Another benefit of hiring employment lawyers is they help you stay proactive. For example, your company may have a discriminatory hiring process or work culture without you realizing it. In this case, your lawyer can point it out and guide you in implementing corrective action.
- Get Representation. If an employee sues you or files a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against you, your lawyer will represent you accordingly. Lawsuits can be particularly complex since there are many steps involved in the process, so it’s best to work with a reliable attorney who understands your case inside and out.
- Know Your Rights and Obligations. With the help of an employment lawyer, you can better understand your legal rights and obligations. These may include rules on minimum wage, employee benefits, termination matters, etc. By knowing these, you’ll be aware of when your rights are violated and can act quickly.
- Review Contracts. Employment lawyers can also help employees review employment contracts. But in this case, the purpose is to ensure the contract doesn’t contain questionable clauses that can affect your work or harm your rights. Getting caught up with all the technical jargon written on a contract can be easy, so your lawyer will help you verify the fine print.
- Stay Safe. If you’re ever exposed to an unsafe work environment, you can seek help from an attorney to determine your next steps. Employers may sometimes be negligent and fail to comply with OSHA rules for workplace safety. So in these cases, you can pursue legal action and get proper compensation for injuries or damages.
- Get Representation. Of course, employment lawyers will also represent you if you need to file a lawsuit or complaint against your employer. They’ll take charge of the discovery, negotiations, and other important steps to ensure you get the best possible outcome.
Find a Trusted Employment Law Attorney
For anyone seeking assistance from an Employment Law Attorney, Fernald & Zaffos is here to help you. Our law firm has over 50 years of combined litigation experience, so we have handled multiple cases related to employment issues. You can expect nothing short of professionalism and utmost dedication to representing clients in trials with our lawyers.
So if you’ve recently gotten involved in an employer-employee conflict, you may contact our team at 323-922-5314 to schedule a consultation. We’d be happy to discuss the details and determine the best course of action.