Updated: 2021-01-08 by
It’s not unusual to encounter turbulence at work -- disagreements, confusion, or hard feelings. You can work out most of these situations by talking them through, waiting them out, or choosing to leave. Once in a while, however, trouble may take such a serious turn that it calls for legal action. That’s when an employment lawyer can be a big help.
An experienced employment law attorney should have a solid grasp on the state and federal laws that protect you as an employee. And an employer who has strayed from the law will be more likely to take you seriously if you have a lawyer on your side.An employment lawyer can also be useful if you’re not in a dispute with an employer. You may just want a lawyer to help you understand documents your employer has asked you to sign or to help you negotiate complicated or valuable agreements.
What Does an Employment Law Attorney Do?
Among other things, a qualified employment lawyer can help you:
- Understand complex contracts or agreements, such as an employment contract, and agreement not to complete (a “noncompete”), or an arbitration agreement.
- Determine whether your employer or former employer has violated the law.
- Get your job back or get compensation if your employer has retaliated against you for complaining about the employer’s illegal behavior.
- Get unpaid wages an employer owes you.
- Correct a situation in which an employer has misclassified you -- for example, as an independent contractor when you should be treated as an employee, or as exempt from overtime pay.
- Make a claim if you believe you’ve been subjected to illegal discrimination, sexual harassment, or wrongful termination.
- Get a careless employer’s attention. If you hire a lawyer to press your claim, the employer is likely to take your claim more seriously.
- Negotiate with an employer. This may apply from anything to an employment or severance agreement to damages if an employer has treated you illegally.
- Defend yourself if an employer is threatening to sue you. (If you’ve been accused of a crime, contact a criminal defense lawyer. See Ten Ways a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You.)
- Stay objective. You won’t get the best results if your judgment is clouded by anger, frustration, or fear. A good lawyer can help you stay calm make clear-minded decisions about your situation.
Find a Good Employment Lawyer
Like tax law, bankruptcy law, or family law, employment law is a specialty subject involving complex legal rules with plenty of gray areas. Someone claiming to be an employment lawyer should be able to point to experience and deep knowledge of California and federal employment laws.
For an experienced employment lawyer, many aspects of employment claims are routine. Chances are good that an experienced lawyer has already seen a situation like yours. The lawyer you choose should be able to advise you on the best way to proceed with your employment issue given, the facts of your case and the laws that apply.
If you're going to hire an employment lawyer, make sure you get a good one. Do your homework and comparison shop before you hire someone to represent you.