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What does an Employment Lawyer do?

By Erin Oxendine
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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An employment lawyer is a lawyer who specializes in employment issues for either individuals or corporations. The attorney must be licensed to practice law in the state, province or region where the attorney works. In the United States, attorneys need to have a four-year undergraduate degree and a law degree. In addition, the lawyer needs to have a background in employment rules and regulations.

Employment lawyers often handle labor matters, including issues regarding wages and hours worked. An individual may complain he or she was not paid a fair amount for the work performed. In this case, the attorney can verify payroll information from the employer.

An employer may need an attorney for allegations of an unsafe work environment. The attorney can investigate the work area to see if the employer has any safety violations. Another way the attorney can get information would be to interview the person who made the allegation.

In some situations, there may be a contractual issue. The employment lawyer may review the contract to see if it adequately covers the interests of the employee and employer. Contractual disputes are a common occurrence in the workplace.

A person who works as an employment lawyer may handle discrimination cases. A person may allege he or she was denied a position because of race or gender. The attorney will review the evidence to see if any discrimination occurred.

Wrongful termination is another complaint the employment lawyer may have to investigate. An employee can be terminated for any reason. There may have been a reduction in work force or gross misconduct. It is up to the attorney to see if the termination was fair.

Companies often keep an employment lawyer on retainer for advice regarding human resource matters. Human resource managers may need guidance on writing offers of employment to candidates. Employment lawyers can also provide answers regarding workplace safety and injuries.

When an agreement cannot be reached, the attorney may try to mediate the case. Mediation allows both sides to discuss their case with the help of an arbitrator. If the case still does not settle, the employment counselor may need to prepare for trial.

Other job duties the employment attorney may do include preparing employee handbooks, safety manuals, and handling compensation issues. The attorney should be knowledgeable in many aspects of employment law. Clients and corporations may also need help with administrative matters.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By Moldova — On May 20, 2011

@SauteePan - I remember when I used to work for a large grocery store chain based in the South when I was in college and there were many women that were upset with the promotion policies of the company.

They tended to prefer men for executive positions while women were offered positions as full time cashiers. The decrepency between the number of male to female managers within this company caused the female employees to seek labor employment lawyers because of the discrimination charge that these employees were claiming.

The pool of affected employees got so large that they decided to file a class action lawsuit along with filing a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, or the EEOC.

Well, not only did the supermarket have to pay millions of dollars in a judgment, but they also had to change the way that they promoted employees. Now when you go into their stores you see an even distribution of men and women in managerial positions.

By SauteePan — On May 19, 2011

I know that the attorney that represents the company that my husband works for has to be well versed in reading contracts and creating contracts because usually he will develop contracts for hiring employees and for clients entering into a business relationship with the company.

He is usually called in when there are companies that are not complying with the stated contracts or when there are productivity issues in which an employee might be terminated. He usually reviews these cases in detail and partners up with the human resource manager to make sure that the company followed lawful procedures when terminating an employee.

Sometimes if the documentation on the employee is not sufficient enough, they may decide to allow the employee to stay on board until they develop a stronger case. Although our state is an at will state, meaning that you could be fired for any reason, companies are still sensitive to wrongful termination suits which is why they take extra precautions when they terminate someone. No company wants to interact with a employment discrimination lawyer of a terminated employee.

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