Employment lawyers specialize in litigating employment issues for both corporations and individuals. The lawyer has to be licensed to practice in the region where they work, and in the US, they need a four-year undergraduate degree as well as a degree in law. The lawyer should also have an extensive background in the regulations and rules of employment. Employment lawyers commonly deal with labor matters, such as the issues surrounding hourly work and wages. For instance, a worker may file a complaint that they were not properly compensated for their work, and the lawyer simply verifies the employer's payroll information. Employers use these lawyers to handle unsafe workplace allegations; the lawyer investigates the workplace to check for violations, or they interview the person who made the complaint.
In some cases, contractual issues may arise. The employment lawyer will review the contract to see if it is in the best interests of both employer and employee. Employment lawyers also handle discrimination cases, where a person feels as if they've been denied work due to their gender or race. The lawyer looks at all the evidence to see if discrimination actually occurred. Employment lawyers are also asked to investigate complaints of wrongful termination. Employees can be terminated for any reason, such as gross misconduct, and it is the employment lawyer's responsibility to ensure that the termination was fairly done. Corporations often retain an employment lawyer for human resource issues, as HR managers often heed help on writing employment offers. The lawyer can also provide help regarding workplace injuries and safety issues.
When a reasonable agreement cannot be reached, an employment lawyer might try to mediate. That allows both sides to present their evidence to an arbitrator; if the case does not settle, the employment lawyer takes the case to trial. Other job responsibilities include the preparation of employee handbooks and manuals, and to manage pay issues and administrative matters. If an employee is under contract, they can't be terminated unless the employer has a very good reason. If an employer fails to offer a good reason, they will often face a wrongful termination suit from their former employee. Employers and employees hire employment lawyers for many of the same reasons, and there are many organizations that offer free employment law help.
When an employer needs help to establish policies and procedures in compliance with laws, they can ask an employment lawyer for help. For instance, the employer might need help creating an overtime policy that avoids legal traps. If there's a dispute that requires the employer to appear before an administrative board, an employment lawyer can represent them. Often, the lawyer can help the two sides come to a settlement before the case makes it to trial.