What is an Employee Rights Lawyer?
An employee rights lawyer specializes in laws related to employment. They help protect workers’ rights by advocating for employees who have experienced discrimination and other rights violations in the workplace.
Law firms and attorneys who take on employee rights cases provide advice and explain clients’ rights and the laws that apply in the workplace. They can communicate with employers and insurance companies on behalf of workers and help them file lawsuits when necessary.
Do I Need an Employee Rights Lawyer?
Several laws—federal, state, and local—protect your rights in the workplace. If those rights have been violated, you need an employee rights lawyer to advocate for you. If you are uncertain whether your rights have been violated, you need a lawyer to clarify the situation and answer your questions.
Employment laws cover a wide range of rights. They protect your right not to be discriminated against for certain characteristics, like gender or race. Laws ensure equal pay based on gender and ban discrimination of workers over 40. They require that disabled workers be given reasonable accommodations. They also guarantee employees a reasonably safe workplace.
If you feel any of the laws that protect your rights have been broken, you need an experienced lawyer. Here are just a few examples of situations in which you may want to take legal action or at least seek the advice of a lawyer:
- You found out your male coworker earns more than you, even though you do the same work.
- An employer has subjected you to sexual harassment.
- A coworker assaulted you on the job.
- You didn’t get a job you were qualified for and suspect it was because of your age.
- You filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration over unsafe work conditions and got fired.
- Your boss denied you family leave to take care of your spouse who is seriously ill.
How Will an Employee Rights Lawyer Help Me?
One of the most important things an employee rights lawyer can do for you is to evaluate your case. Most firms offer free evaluations so that you can speak with someone at no risk. If they determine you don’t have a case, you have not wasted legal fees.
An employee rights lawyer can do several things to help you with a valid case of workplace rights violations:
- Clarify your options.
When you meet with an employee rights lawyer, they will use their expertise to determine if you have a case. They can then explain your rights, and the laws broken and give you choices and advice for what to do next.
- Communicate with your employer.
If you have tried to resolve the situation with your employer and failed to get results, a lawyer can help. They can advocate for you and bring legal experience to bear on the issue.
- File a claim.
Depending on the situation, it may be appropriate to file a claim or complaint against your employer or with a government agency. They can help you understand if this is necessary and take you through the process.
- Ensure you act fast.
There are time limits on legal actions for employee rights violations. These limits vary depending on the law that applies and the jurisdiction and may be as short as a few months. Your lawyer will ensure you do not miss the opportunity to take action.
- File a lawsuit.
Many employee issues can be resolved without suing anyone. In some cases, suing is not an option. If your situation comes down to a lawsuit, a lawyer will advocate for you in negotiations and in court if necessary.
- Recover damages.
Some cases of employee rights violations cost you money, such as when you lose a job and your income. A lawyer can help you recover damage from those responsible.
How Do I Find an Employee Rights Lawyer?
You probably know coworkers, friends, or family who have experienced employment issues. Ask around to get a referral for a lawyer someone you know trusts. Employee rights groups may also be able to help with a referral.
Without a referral, search for firms specializing in employment law. These cases can be complicated, so it is essential to have someone representing you with knowledge of the laws and experience helping similar clients.
Questions to Ask Your Lawyer
Even with a trusted referral, it’s important to interview a lawyer and get all your questions answered before hiring someone to represent you. Ask important questions, like:
- What is your experience with employment law?
- Have you handled cases like mine?
- What were the outcomes?
- Can you provide references from past clients?
- Do you think I have a case?
- How long do you think it will take to resolve my case?
- Will it end in a lawsuit?
- What are your fees?
- Who will handle my case?
How to Work with an Employee Rights Lawyer
A lawyer will do much of the work of resolving your situation, but they cannot do it completely alone. Your lawyer needs your cooperation and information to get the best outcome. Provide all the information your lawyer requests and be open and honest about everything that has happened.
Your lawyer will likely need all your employment information, including pay records. They will want to see any documentation of the incident in question and your communications with your employer or human resources. If you suffered any injuries, provide medical records and bills. Provide any incident reports or claims you filed.
Working with an employee rights lawyer is an important step to resolving a difficult work situation. You may be unsure if your rights have been violated, but if it doesn’t feel right, contact a lawyer for more information and expert advice.