If you are involved in an employment dispute, or need advice about an employment-related matter, you may need to hire an employment lawyer. An effective employment lawyer can help educate you on state and federal laws concerning wrongful termination, wage disputes, defamation, whistleblower protections, and other employment-related matters. Knowing when to contact or hire an employment lawyer can make the difference between satisfactory recovery of lost time, money, and damages, and never getting compensated for your loss.
Below is important information you need to know about hiring an employment lawyer.
Why You Need an Employment Lawyer
Employment-related matters such as workplace discrimination/harassment, wages and benefits, workplace health and safety, wrongful termination, and family and medical leave issues often lead to employment disputes between an employer and employee. For instance, when an employee files a complaint of discrimination, harassment, or some other violation, an employer is often faced with being the subject of a litigation claim.
Similarly, when an employer is faced with reducing the workforce, modifying employee contracts, or addressing employee misbehavior, an employee is often put on the defensive and forced to defend his or her employee rights.
An employment lawyer can not only review the merits of a complaint and advise you on the next logical course of action, including whether to negotiate a settlement or litigate in court -- he or she can help protect you against further employment dispute claims.
While not every employment matter warrants the advice of an employment lawyer, there are some employment issues that are particularly challenging that may require some legal expertise, especially those which affect lost wages, mental state and job security.
Moreover, because employment laws are constantly changing, an experienced employment attorney can advise you on any new changes in the law that might significantly affect your case.
What to Look For in an Employment Lawyer
Employment lawyers handle a wide variety of employment matters affecting the employer/employee relationship, including breach of contract, severance disputes, and confidentiality issues, among other things. When looking for an employment lawyer, you should focus on the lawyer's experience, skill-level, knowledge, and fee structure.
In addition, the employment lawyer should have a method to stay abreast of the current state and federal labor laws and regulations and be familiar with various federal agency rules and organizations such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and several others.
Lastly, a good employment lawyer should explain his or her fee arrangement up front to avoid any misunderstandings with lawyer billing and other costs, and discuss a time-line of when and how resolution might occur.
How to Find an Employment Lawyer
There are numerous ways to find a qualified employment lawyer to handle your case. Referrals from friends, family or other attorney's may be a good start. You can also check with local bar associations or legal aid clinics that often refer people to lawyers who may assist in employment-related matters, sometimes as a free consultation. Finally, you may wish to find a local employment lawyer using one of several quality-assured lawyer directories, such as FindLaw, devoted to connecting you to an experienced employment lawyer in your area.
Questions to Ask an Employment Lawyer
Before selecting an employment lawyer, you should plan on meeting with at least a handful of qualified attorneys who may assess your situation. Below are some of the questions you should ask before hiring an employment lawyer.
What percentages of cases are tried in court as opposed to being settled?
What percentage of your practice is devoted to handling employment matters similar to mine?
What is your procedure for staying updated on the current laws and regulations?
How much of my case will you actually handle, or which matters might you pass on to other associates and/or paralegals?
What is your fee arrangement?
Employment Lawyer Fees
The cost to pursue an employment claim varies from state to state and from attorney to attorney. Most employment law attorneys charge a small consultation fee during the initial interview. Depending on the nature of the claim and other factors, an employment lawyer may offer a variety of fee structures, including hourly rate, contingency basis or, in some states that allow it, a monetary advance. In any case, it's important that you clarify the fee arrangement with your employment lawyer up front to avoid any potential misunderstandings later on.
Contact an Employment Lawyer
If you're feeling overwhelmed with an employee rights issue or wrongful job loss it can be helpful to consult with an experienced lawyer. They can answer questions about your specific situation and discuss how the local laws impact your potential claims. Contact a local attorney to learn how they can help you demand fair treatment at work.