BLOG / 12.15.16 /Jack Malley
What to Do When You Need a Lawyer as an Employer
Employment law is always changing. Unfortunately, that means that you’re going to have a harder time trying to understand laws on your own. Governments and courts constantly interpret the laws in different ways, so even when you think you have a good grasp of the law there is usually a precedent that has been set that makes everything more difficult. When you start to understand that even a weak case that is made strongly can result in damages awards and potentially bankrupt you, you see why taking legal action and hiring good defensive help is so necessary.
While you don’t necessarily have to talk to a lawyer for the small stuff, you should definitely consult one for the big stuff. So when do you know when a situation calls for a legal consultation and when it doesn’t? That can be a tough call. We’re going to run over the biggest topics that often require you to call an attorney.
Firing An Employee
A lawyer can be helpful when you need advice prior to firing an employee. No matter if there’s a legitimate reason, your lawyer will be able to tell you whether you are able to legally fire the employee and what you can do in order to avoid a suit from that disgruntled employee. If they have a contract that is written or oral, you may not be able to fire them. If they have retirement, stocks, or benefits that are going to vest soon, they may sue.
If they have filed a complaint, recently or otherwise, specifically for harassment or discrimination, they are in a protected class, you are worried about what they might do, they have access to documents, trade secrets, or documents, excessive absence, they deny responsibility, have hired a lawyer, or belong to a classified position, you should likely consult your lawyer. Don’t forget that if you are firing multiple workers, changing pension plans, or firing an employee that will really affect the workforce, consult your lawyer first to avoid making classic mistakes.
If you are currently being sued by an employee, you need to talk to a lawyer as quickly as possible. These suits can not only be difficult, you are going to have the burden of taking action to make sure that you are protected, the business is protected, and you have counter evidence. Why is this so important? Well, there is only so large a window of time to work within. You have to act quickly and file a legal response to a suit within weeks, so consult a lawyer the second you learn you are being sued.
Employees sometimes bring complaints instead of a lawsuit. These too can be tricky. The reasons can vary– harassment or retaliation claims, even discrimination, are common. These complaints will be filed with an employment board or state agency, or even get a hearing. You need to consult a lawyer for these complaints in order to understand what your options are going forward.
Contracts and Agreements
Lawyers need to go over agreements that you have made with employees. This includes all employment contracts as well as any release, severance agreements, or agreements of any kind. They’ll also go over your contract and evaluate everything, checking the legal language and terms to see what might be court enforceable.
At the end of the day, you don’t want to be left defenseless legally. Leaving yourself in the dark can have its own share of complications– it’s best to act quickly, especially when you’re already being sued. Consult a reliable attorney today and get the qualified consultation that you deserve so you are in the know. That’s what they do best, so let an experienced attorney review the information and advise you on how best to move forward. You’ll be glad you did.