Like many other highly specialized professions, lawyers have to study long and hard to know the laws and regulations in their chosen niche. Divorce lawyers rarely take on corporate clients and liability attorneys don’t handle wills. The employment-labour field is the same way, there are so many different laws and regulations that pertain to just this one specialization that it takes years to become proficient. A labour lawyer will have to know about everything from overtime pay to sexual harassment in the workplace. Let’s take a look at the various duties that you might need this type of representation for.
Sexual Harassment Has Been In The News A Lot Lately
Each year thousands of cases of sexual harassment are reported to the various government commissions. Additionally, it is estimated that more than 80% of all workplace harassment situations go unreported for various reasons. When an employee has been threatened, assaulted, intimidated or fired for reasons related to their sex, refusal of sex, sexual orientation or other protected right, they will usually hire an employment lawyer to handle the case.
This type of lawyer will already know all of the statutes regarding the law, how those laws apply to this particular employer, and whether the actions of the employer or supervisor fit into the law. Since every situation can be different and the laws apply based on what was said or done, then each case will have to be investigated, witnesses interviewed, and decisions made on how to proceed.
Contract Negotiations Are Another Important Sector
There are a lot of labour lawyers that specialize even further and only do contract negotiations between companies and their employees. Then they spend most of their time representing one side or the other to make sure that the contract is followed as agreed.
If management is working people extra hours without pay in some way or another, then a grievance can be filed. If the response to the complaint isn’t seen as being sufficient or following the contract, then an employment lawyer may represent each side in the dispute. Most of the time, once a lawyer is consulted, the law is explained in detail and the dispute is settled without going to court.
There are hundreds of small details that constantly are in negotiation like holiday pay, or choosing vacations according to seniority, whether smoking is allowed on premises, or insisting employees stay on-site for breaks or lunches. These small problems may, or may not, become issues depending on whether one side or the other has a problem.
Health Care Benefits Are Usually A Sore Spot
Due to the rising costs of covering employees with health care, many companies have tried to cut back on the coverage. They do this by finding policies with higher deductibles, more co-pays, and lower overall yearly limits. This is always a problem for some employees and tends to hold up many contract negotiations each time they are up for renewal. This is an excellent time for labour lawyers to help fine tune the process, bring both sides together and finalize the deal.
If you’re having problems at your workplace, nearly everything pertaining to employment would fall under employment law. These are the attorneys that have taken the extra years of courses in order to know and understand all the details. That’s why you should specifically look for the right specialization when ever you need legal help of any kind.
This post is also available in: French