On a day-to-day basis, most companies don’t have the need to retain an employment attorney. If there are policies and procedures in place that address employment practices, there will be little need for legal research. However, when a complaint or allegation by an employee suddenly comes up, business owners should reach out to an employment attorney with alacrity. Here are some of the circumstances under which seeking legal counsel would be advised.
Employees have the right to complain to their employer about unsafe work conditions, suspicions of discrimination or unethical actions being taken in the workplace. They also have the right not to be retaliated against if they do lodge a complaint. Employers who receive such a filing should immediately seek help in putting the issue to rest. Timely action to investigate the claim could be crucial in settling the matter with less disruption and cost.
Age Discrimination Complaints
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits companies from giving preferential treatment to workers younger than 40 at the expense of workers older than 40 if the business employs at least 20 people. Documentation that shows why a younger employee was promoted or given a raise instead of an older person will be key to preventing allegations of age discrimination. If such a complaint arises, the employer should consult an attorney quickly.
Check Hiring Policies
Employers should consider setting rules for the hiring process so that every candidate is treated equally and fairly. These policies and practices should be put in writing and checked by an employment attorney before being made official.
Allegations of Harassment
Workers may allege that they are working in a hostile environment based on the treatment they may be receiving at work. These are serious allegations that should be brought to the attention of an attorney right away. Also, employers should have in place a strict anti-harassment policy that workers read and sign as a condition of employment.
Family and Medical Leave Assistance
The nuances of the Family and Medical Leave Act can be nebulous. Employees who request time off must have worked at the company for 12 months and worked 1,250 hours within the past year in order to qualify for leave. Plus, only certain medical conditions or family circumstances qualify under the act. Any time an employer is uncertain whether to grant leave or whether the requirements are being met, the owner should consult an attorney before making a final decision.
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act governs health care insurance coverage after an employee leaves a company. Any COBRA claims that a former employee raises should be checked out by an attorney.
Checking Pay Equality
Depending on the compensation plan that a business has in place, there may be concerns that a male and female employee are not being paid at the same rate for the same work. Employers should show their compensation and advancement plans to an attorney to make sure they don’t discriminate by gender.
Complaints of Racial Discrimination
These are some of the most serious accusations that come up in the workplace. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, religion or nation of origin. Any time an employee complains he or she is a victim of prejudice in the workplace, employers should take the allegation seriously and consult an attorney right away. Lawsuits concerning workplace discrimination can be disruptive, costly and detrimental to morale throughout the company.Not every issue that comes up in the human resources department requires advice from an attorney. However, in the cases when legal assistance is needed, it is best to seek counsel quickly to make sure problems are handled appropriately and with a sense of urgency.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.