When might your business need the help of an employment lawyer? While it’s a good idea to have one available to answer questions, it’s common for us to be brought in to help with the following types of issues.
Employment Lawyers Help with Discrimination Issues
Unfortunately, discrimination and harassment can happen a lot of different ways. At a high level, discrimination happens when one member of a protected class is treated differently than their peers.
For example, perhaps a woman who is the most qualified person for a promotion keeps getting passed up, while her male counterparts with less experience and qualifications do get the promotion.
Discrimination can take several forms. Here are a few of the biggest “buckets”
- Gender discrimination
- Pregnancy discrimination
- Disability discrimination
- Religious discrimination
- Racial discrimination
- National origin discrimination
- Sexual orientation discrimination
- Age discrimination
An employment lawyer can help you navigate existing claims that have been filed. They can also help protect you from future claims through training managers and human resources on how to avoid discrimination from occuring in the workplace.
Keep in mind that discrimination doesn’t have to be intentional! Someone can show discrimination without trying to. In fact, that happens all the time.
Employment Lawyers Help Avoid Wrongful Termination
Wrongful termination is when someone is fired for reasons that are against the law. Similar to discrimination, sometimes this occurs without the manager or company realizing they’re breaking the law.
For example, let’s say a pair of employees get in trouble at work. They did something that would justify firing both of them. But instead of firing both employees, the woman gets fired while the man is able to stay on with the company. This can be seen as wrongful termination due to gender discrimination.
Wrongful termination doesn’t have to involve discrimination though. If a termination is done in violation of oral and written employment agreements, it can be considered wrongful in the eyes of the law. It’s also against the law if the termination occurred in retaliation of a claim or complaint against the employer.
So what is considered a legal reason to fire an employee? Usually it would fall into one of these areas:
- Poor performance
- Mass layoffs
- Going out of business
- Reduction in force
- An action done by the employee
This isn’t always cut-and-dried, so make sure you consult an attorney if you have any doubts before you let someone go.
Employment Attorneys Help with Family and Medical Leave Issues
This area leans heavily on the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA.) This law gives covered employees the ability to take extended time off work to deal with family or medical issues.
What can qualify for this extended leave? Here are a few common examples:
- Birth or adoption of a child (note that both parents can take family leave)
- To care for a family member (child, spouse or parent) with a serious health condition
- The employee has a medical issue
This may sound simple, but it’s not. It’s a difficult time for employers because they’re caught in a struggle. For example, a woman may take 3 months of maternity leave, then decide not to come back to work. The company would’ve had to hold her position for her that whole time, and now it can feel like a waste since she isn’t coming back.
Employment matters can be messy, which is why we recommend calling a lawyer if you have questions. Give us a call at (714) 456-9118 and we’ll walk you through this situation.