male employment lawyer in casual suit smiling and writing in binder

When Should You Hire an Employment Lawyer?

Going to a labor and employment lawyer may feel like a mistake, but some situations may require you to get someone experienced with employment law on your side. These are some of the most common occurrences when someone would hire an employment attorney to handle their case. 

Discrimination or Harassment

Discrimination (or harassment) is when there is misconduct in the workplace due to race, color, gender, national origin, religion, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, or age. If your employer forces you to wear high heels to work because you are a woman, you may have a case of discrimination against your job. You have a right to work in a place free of discrimination and harassment. 

Wages and Benefits

Labor and employment lawyers also handle cases regarding wage violations. Some of the most common damages include not paying the correct minimum wage, paying lower “training” or “youth” minimum wage, not paying overtime, or making employees work off-the-clock. Additionally, some places are guilty of deducting too much for tips or wages paid in goods, such as meals or food. All of these are examples of illegal practices.

Benefits are a little harder to define, but it covers anything an employee receives other than cash wages. These benefits can include time away from work for family or medical leave. It can also include medical, disability, or dental insurance. Benefits are optional because employers aren’t required to provide them, but a company that chooses to provide these benefits must abide by certain federal regulations.  

Workplace Health and Safety

You have a right to work in a place that is free of safety and health hazards that can cause issues now or later in your life. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets regulations and standards that every workplace must abide by no matter the job. If an employee is injured on the job, employers are often responsible for medical costs associated with the injury. Your workplace may also have to pay fines if your accident was caused by a violation of OSHA standards. 

Wrongful Termination

Labor and employment lawyers have experience working with wrongful termination cases. This is when you’ve been laid off or fired recently for an illegal reason such as being fired against discriminatory or sexual harassment laws, labor laws, or as retaliation for filing a complaint against the employer. Federal employment lawyers can help you prepare your case and maybe get a severance package that can help you until you find a new job.  

Family and Medical Leave Issues

Not every employer is required to give days off for family or medical leave, but federal law states that an employer is required to provide eligible employees leave if they work for a state, local, or federal agency or in interstate commerce. Some reasons people take leave are for the birth, adoption, or placement of a child, to care for a spouse of a family member who has a serious health condition, or if a medical condition makes you unable to work.