Employment laws can be complex and challenging to interpret. Especially when federal, state, and local laws place varying obligations on employers concerning matters like hours of work and wages, notification before layoffs, and workplace discrimination and harassment.
Understanding all these aspects is not only important but necessary if you are to stay compliant and save your business or company from serious lawsuits.
Luckily, you don’t need to toil to understand everything the legal landscape has to offer. All you need to do is hire an employment lawyer who understands all the labor law and issues to do the heavy lifting for you.
To better acknowledge what an employment lawyer does, it’s essential to clarify the broad field of employment law into the two main categories:
● Transactional law: Involves negotiating deals and agreements such as collective bargaining agreement (CBA), drafting legal documents, and other processes that don’t involve court appearances.
● Litigation – Involves representing clients in court through all the judicial processes and proceedings, from civil lawsuits to criminal defense and appeals.
If your organization or small business currently has full-time employees, there are chances you’ll need, at some point, to hire an employment lawyer to handle any or both of the above.
That said, below are the six ways employment lawyers can be of great importance to your company.
1. Developing Employment Policies
Before any company can hire regular employees, employment contracts, workplace regulations, and other rules need to be laid out. An employment lawyer will advise you on the employment and workplace policies and practices to fit into those contracts and guidelines. They can also help review contracts and policies for potential loopholes and advice on any updates based on industry trends and changes in the law.
2. Advising on Employment Benefits
The law doesn’t require employers to set up any particular employee benefits, but most do so to encourage their employees and even boost their talent acquisition and retention efforts. Here, an employment lawyer will advise you when establishing or modifying these benefits to make sure they align with the federal statute.
3. Advocating Employer’s Interest during Negotiations
An employment lawyer will represent your company during the collective bargaining sessions to ensure you comply with the law and that your interests are put into the record.
4. Advising on Massive Layoffs
If your business is going through financial challenges or massive transition, your employment lawyer will help you prepare for mass furloughs, layoffs, or a reduction in force while complying with the law and your contractual obligations.
5. Defending Against Employee Lawsuit or Complaint
Current and former employees can file complaints on unfair termination and even claims of discrimination. Without an employment lawyer to advise you on the right course of action and even represent your company in court proceedings and settlement negotiations, it’s easy to make mistakes that can cost your business. Now more than ever, companies need to work with employment lawyers to navigate the rising employment lawsuits due to the pandemic.
6. Advising on Hiring and Firing Decisions
The employer-employment relationship is complicated, with several obligations tied to major decisions such as firing non-performing employees. While most states have the “at-will employment laws,” which grant them the power to fire any employee for any reason, the law is very clear on the extent to which this can apply. Working with an employment lawyer will ensure you’re not violating the law by firing or failing to promote an employee based on race, religion, sex, or disability.
When it comes to choosing the right employment lawyer to work with, there are several factors you should consider. Besides the attorney’s professionalism and years of experience, you want to keep the following factors in mind:
● Proper communication: a good lawyer should communicate with you where and when necessary. Over-communication can be unnecessary, while a lack of it can jeopardize good understanding and the attorney-client relationship.
● Service areas: services from an experienced attorney in your locality are more convenient and timely. Also, an attorney familiar with your local region and administrative authorities is an added advantage.
● In-depth research: Reviews across the internet can give you a hint on your next attorney; however, you want to get references from their current or past clients. You can ask the attorneys on your “shortlist” to provide a few clients so you can consult.
A majority of the leading law firms have employment attorneys within their firm. In contrast, some like hkm employment lawyers are fully specialized in employment laws, with several attorneys working exclusively in the employment niche. HKM has a vast clientele spanning across major US cities, thanks to decades of experience and an impressive track record.
There’s a lot that an employment lawyer can do to prevent your business or company from committing severe offenses or omitting critical processes that can affect the integrity of your employer-employee relationship. And to ensure the best advice and representation, choosing the right employment attorney is important.