26 Feb Do I Need an Employment Attorney? These Telltale Signs Say That You Do
Do you need an employment attorney or should you just go to HR with your complaint?
Workplace conflicts put you in a difficult situation. You should never have to accept unfair treatment in the workplace, but you also might worry about your boss retaliating if you take legal action.
Not all workplace conflicts require a lawyer. Some have no legal basis at all.
There are many other situations, though, which violate your rights as an employee and warrant legal help. Hiring an attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve, whether that’s financial or getting your job back.
Legal action can also force your employer to stop taking illegal actions. That can protect other employees from experiencing the same unfair treatment.
Here are some situations when an employment lawyer is a good option for your workplace conflict.
Retaliation After Whistleblowing
You spoke up about a situation at the workplace, and your employer took action against you. Perhaps they terminated your employment or issued a written infraction notice.
An attorney can help you determine if whistleblower protection laws cover those actions. You might be entitled to compensation for lost wages and other effects of the whistleblowing retaliation.
Discrimination comes down to an employer treating you differently based on certain traits.
Such traits include:
- National origin
Laws under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission cover a variety of situations related to those situations that qualify as discrimination.
If those characteristics affect hiring processes, wages, job assignments, promotions, training, benefits, termination, or other conditions of employment, you could take legal action.
In some cases, a policy that applies to all workers might be considered discrimination in some circumstances.
A policy could be illegal if it meets the following criteria:
- Negatively impacts the employment of people in a protected class
- Isn’t job-related
- Isn’t necessary for the business to operate
Determining if something is discriminatory can be complicated. Consulting with an employment attorney helps you determine if you’ve been discriminated against and have a case.
Workplace harassment can take many forms. It’s your employer’s responsibility to maintain a safe work environment for you. If your boss or coworkers create a hostile work environment due to harassment, your employer could be held liable for not correcting the situation.
Sexual harassment should never be tolerated, whether it’s coming from your boss or coworkers. This includes situations where your boss suggests sexual behaviors could help you advance.
Other employees experience harassment based on gender, race, religion, age, or disabilities.
When harassment happens, you could be entitled to financial compensation for your emotional distress. Working with an employment attorney can also result in penalties for your employer. This can encourage the employer to create a safer environment to prevent harassment in the future.
Wage or Overtime Disputes
Any disputes regarding your wages or overtime pay could require legal action.
Employees are entitled to overtime pay. If your employer refuses to pay you overtime, consult with an employment attorney to see if you have a case.
You might also have a case if you feel your employer isn’t paying you the normal wages you’re entitled to based on the work you perform. This might include situations where your employer forces you to work off the clock.
Employment attorneys can also help you negotiate severance packages. This includes the severance payment you’re owed based on your contract and other money or benefits your employer owes you.
In California, as in most states, employment is at will. That means either the employer or the employee can terminate the employment for any reason by giving notice to the other party.
There are some exceptions, including many public sector employees, union-represented employees, and people with employment contracts that specify there must be a good cause for termination.
Even though your employer can fire you for any reason, there are some reasons that qualify it as wrongful termination. If the termination violates workplace regulations, it could be considered wrongful.
A lawyer can help you if you were terminated under these circumstances:
- Taking protected leave
- Public policy violations
- Worker’s compensation claim
It’s illegal to base termination on those circumstances. Your employer can’t legally fire you as retaliation for whistleblowing. You can’t lose your job because you took protected leave or filed a worker’s compensation claim.
These reasons for termination violate workplace protections.
Some employers might try to disguise the firing for other reasons. But if you feel the true reason violates your rights as an employee, contacting a lawyer helps you determine if you have a case.
Refusal of Reasonable Accommodations
If you have a disability protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act, your employer must make reasonable accommodations for you. That could include modifying your schedule, restructuring your job, making the workplace accessible, and other similar accommodations.
An exception exists. If the employer can prove that the accommodation you’re requesting causes undue hardship to the business, they may not be required to implement it. That would include accommodations that are too costly or too difficult to do.
If you feel your employer is refusing your accommodations and they wouldn’t cause undue hardship, you might have a case that an employment attorney can handle for you.
Why Do I Need an Employment Attorney?
You might feel like you can fight your employer on your own in any of the above situations. You have some courses of action, such as filing a complaint with HR.
But it’s often difficult for an employee to get a favorable outcome.
Many companies have lawyers on retainer who fight these kinds of allegations every day. They know the best strategies to defend an employer and get out of any punishments or financial compensation.
Having your own employment lawyer gives you an advocate who knows how to go up against your employer’s lawyers.
An experienced employment lawyer understands the state and federal laws regulating workplace rights. They can determine if you have a case and how you can best resolve that case.
Find an Employment Attorney
An employment attorney is your biggest ally when you have a workplace dispute. Your attorney will fight to get you fair compensation when you experience unfair treatment at work.
Do you need an employment attorney in Los Angeles? Contact us for a free consultation on your case.