Employment attorneys act as the bridge between employers and employees when problems arise in the workplace. In other words, employment lawyers handle different issues, including issues related to wages, workplace safety, discrimination, wrongful termination, dispute resolution, and more.
The employment attorney in southern California can help fix a strained employer-employee relationship by helping both parties understand their rights, duties, expectations, and obligations. But when is the right time to reach out to an employment attorney?
Who Is an Employment Attorney?
Employment attorneys fall into two categories–employment lawyers who focus on employees while the other category focuses on employers. Employment attorneys can also be called:
1. Employment discrimination attorneys;
2. Employment rights attorney;
3. Federal employment attorneys, or;
4. Management attorneys.
What Does an Employment Attorney Do?
Employment attorneys deal with all aspects of employment including issues related to discrimination in the workplace, wage and hour issues, safety issues Occupational Safety and Health issues, and anything else that can strain employment relationships. An employment attorney who specializes in issues affecting employees should help employees learn and understand their rights, know when employee rights have been violated, and know the remedy for such violations.
A good attorney will ensure employees use the necessary internal remedies for resolving arising issues in the workplace, such as following the protocols listed in employee handbooks when reporting discrimination and harassment in the workplace. The employee attorney can help you and your colleagues understand the Fair Labor Standards Act if the issue (problem at work) relates to pay, overtime, or employee misclassification. The attorney should also advise you on the action to take to rectify the situation.
When Should You Seek Help for Employment Challenges?
The best time to seek help is after something wrong happens and they’ve tried to raise their concerns with their employer in vain. Seeking help doesn’t translate to hiring an employment attorney right away. The aggrieved employee can first file their complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the relevant authority in their state.
Employees should seek outside help if the employer or a senior manager is involved because they’ll be able to protect themselves against retaliation. Seeking external help can include reporting your complaint with the EOCC or filing an employment dispute action against your employer. Your attorney or the EOCC will review the facts of your case and determine whether your employer has a case to answer or not. A claim or charge should be drafted if the investigation reveals that the employer is guilty of violating the rights of employees in the workplace.
Employees who believe that they’ve been violated or discriminated against still retain the right to file legal action against their employers even if the EOCC finds insufficient evidence against an employer. The agency should try to help the employee or advise them to seek the services of an employment attorney.
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The last course of action is to consult an employment attorney who will review the facts of your case to determine whether you should keep pursuing legal action for discrimination or violation against your employer. The findings of the EOCC are not binding and sometimes they may not be admissible because most agencies that investigate employment disputes are notorious for not conducting exhaustive investigations. For instance, most investigative agencies interview witnesses but fail to provide depositions.
Investigative agencies like the EOCC conduct investigations without the presence of an employee’s lawyer making their evidence unreliable. The US Department of Justice provides legal aid to suspects who cannot afford legal services. However, only a few cases qualify for legal aid, especially when the government wants to set a precedent or when a big or influential company is involved.
Employees often prevail in lawsuits that the EEOC found no merit and employers also often prevail when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission thinks that they are guilty of discrimination and other wrongdoings in the workplace.
How Can Employees Protect Themselves?
There are certain ways that employees can protect themselves against discrimination, violation of employee rights, and retaliation for exposing malpractices in the workplace. The best protection available to violated employees is recording violation incidences accurately. In other words, recorded incidents should include dates and times, and they should be backed by a witness if possible.
The recorded information can come in handy during an investigation. The investigating agency or employment lawyer will review the facts of your case to determine whether your employer is guilty or innocent. Ensure you have sufficient evidence that can sustain legal action against your employer. Otherwise, you’ll likely expose yourself to more trouble if you lose against your employer.
The right time to seek the help of an employment lawyer is when your employer fails to address genuine concerns raised by employees. Another good time to seek help is when you or your colleagues have sufficient evidence to prove discrimination and abuse of employees’ rights at your workplace.
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