As an employer, you might want to consult a labor lawyer when: You are afraid that your workers may join a union. You are having trouble keeping up with the laws surrounding minimum wage and overtime pay. Perhaps you need to fire an irritating union worker. You can even sue an employee for discrimination. But the best reason to hire a labor lawyer is to protect your legal rights as an employer.
There are several types of legal protections available to employers. In fact, it is important to learn all of your rights and responsibilities under labor laws in various industries. One type of law that applies to employment is the Federal Employer Liability Act (FELA). This is a must-know law for all employers in the U.S. The FELA makes it easier to prove liability for actions by employees. If you are an employer or business, it is important to understand FELA.
If an employee complains about discrimination, harassment, poor working conditions, or other employment-related issues, he must first be able to prove that discrimination or harassment occurred. After this proof, he must be able to show that the employer has a duty of care. For example, if an employee is suing his employer for not allowing him to work late because it would keep him from making enough money, he will need evidence that the employer has a direct duty of care to allow him to work. This evidence will typically be in the form of written regulations or instructions.
Other types of FELA cases include injuries at work, wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, pregnancy and birth, negligence, separation or unemployment, and other employee rights issues. An experienced labor lawyer can help you decide whether or not you have a case. Labor attorneys also help employers who have been the victim of such civil wrongs as sexual harassment, physical or verbal abuse, negligence, dismissal, or prejudice at the workplace. They also work with employees who feel they were unfairly terminated from their jobs or those who want damages for other injuries they have sustained while working.
In many situations, employers are trying to avoid lawsuits by settling the cases out of court with the help of labor lawyers. Such settlements usually result in hefty fines to the employers and most employees get little, if any, damages. However, these settlements may be illegal if the violations involved take place while the employees were working for the company.
Labor lawyers can help workers file FELA lawsuits and other lawsuits that are related to work conditions, pay, and other employment contracts. In addition, they can help employees negotiate these contracts. For example, if the workers are bound to work in certain conditions, such as long hours, there are labor laws that prevent them from being forced to work outside of that contract. If an employee is able to prove that he has been forced to work in conditions that violate the law, then his lawsuit may force the offending employers to abide by the contract.
Other than labor lawyers, there are also attorneys who specialize in employment law. These employment lawyers can advise employees on issues such as whether or not their employment contract has any legal errors that may affect them. They can also advise the employees on how to go about filing complaints or taking legal action against their employers.
Unions are another source of expertise when it comes to labor lawyers. Unions fight for better wages and working conditions for their members and can help victims of employer negligence as well as provide information on filing FELA lawsuits. Because of the close relationship between the labor lawyer and the union, these lawyers are often helpful to both sides.