Hiring and working with an attorney can seem overwhelming at first. The matter of cost also is an important consideration, but that always must be weighed against the cost of not hiring legal counsel. When it comes to employment law, a good attorney can help protect your rights if you have been wrongfully terminated, discriminated against, retaliated against for blowing the whistle, or otherwise mistreated. There are two distinct kinds of employment attorneys: those who work on behalf of employers (mostly for compliance) and those who work for employees. This section will help you choose and work with an employment law attorney, with sample forms and information about legal fees.
Do You Need an Employment Lawyer?
Not every legal matter requires counsel, such as agreeing to the terms of a job offer or asking for a raise, but certain disputes and procedures are much more successful with the help of an attorney. More to the point, you probably need an attorney if you're trying to recover lost wages or job security, have a dispute over family and medical leave, or have a discrimination claim. And regardless of the hourly fees and associated costs of hiring a lawyer, many civil attorneys will only charge a fee if they win your case; and most offer a free initial consultation.
Remember: The employer usually will have some kind of legal representation, and large corporations have entire legal teams working on their behalf. If the potential cost of not hiring an employment is more than you can afford -- including, perhaps, the hardship of unemployment -- then the cost of legal representation may be the wiser choice.
How to Choose the Right Employment Lawyer
Employment law involves a relatively wide array of issues that involve the legal relationship between employer and employee. These involve wage and hour law, discrimination and harassment, family and medical leave, and employee benefits. Since employment laws tend to change frequently, often through the courts, you want an attorney who is current with the law. Your attorney also should be familiar with various federal agency rules, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
You can find an attorney through referrals from friends, family, colleagues, or online directories. Make sure you get the attorney's fee arrangement up front, and ask questions if you don't completely understand the terms.
Click on a link below to learn more about working with an employment law attorney when faced with a legal dilemma.