When you begin a business, one of the last things that come to mind is hiring an attorney. But, consulting an employment lawyer should be done early on in this process. Having an employment lawyer represent you and your company can save you future litigation and stress.
There are many situations where business owners would benefit from having a lawyer intervene. That’s why, we’ve outlined some common occurrences that a business may run into, where contacting an employment lawyer is necessary.
1. Company Policies
There is no one better to write your employment handbook, then an attorney. This is because, all those that you hire are essentially being bound by this written contract. If you write a company’s policies and regulations yourself, you are putting your business at future risk. If you are not trained in law, and write the policies, you may have also unknowingly included a clause that violates your regions employment laws.
Not knowing what clauses are illegal may result in a future lawsuit against you. But, a lawyer will make sure that there is nothing missing to protect both you, and your employee’s down the line. Plus, an employment lawyer will be able to educate you about your regions regulations. They can act as a guide, and let you know in what circumstances your company’s policies need to be changed and guide you through doing so.
2. Government Intervention
If a representative from the government, such as the department of labor shows up at your business, it is vital to call a lawyer. This is where having an established relationship with a lawyer can benefit you as you won’t have to hire someone that does not know the business. Plus, thinking you can handle this issue on your own can be a costly, and devastating error.
An employment lawyer will understand the terminology the government uses, and their protocol. Ultimately, they will be better able to navigate the system on your behalf than you alone.
3. Employee Complaints
If an employee, or former employee files a complaint against you, it is best to have an attorney handle this. An attorney will be able to investigate, navigate and give a subjective opinion as to the complaint filed. Further, the attorney will take the stress out of having to establish a case, and fight for your innocence. Not having a lawyer may put yourself, your name, and your company at risk.
4. Firing & Laying Off
Regardless of the circumstances, when you need to let an employee go, it can be difficult. This can be further complicated if you are unsure as to what a legal firing, or lay off is. This is why, it is best to protect yourself and call in a lawyer to discuss the circumstances. Otherwise, you may be acting illegally, and run the risk of future allegations.
A lawyer will be able to review the unique circumstances, and tell you how you are allowed to move forward. When dealing with a lay- off, a lawyer will need to write a release for you and the employee to sign. Not knowing what to include in this release, or including something illegal, can also run you the risk of future charges.
5. Policy Changes
If you, or the government need to change something written into the employment policy book then it is a good idea to call a lawyer. For example, changes can be made to an employee’s pay, vacation time or sick leave. A lawyer will be able to walk you through the legal protocol and advise you how to legally notify employees.