Employment lawyers are important to help manage conflicts between an employee and their employer. This may also include the relationship between an employer and contractors whom an employer has an agreement, contract, or obligation.
The chances are that you are a good employer trying to follow the local and national laws regarding employment law and how it pertains to your employees. Though, even for the most employee-focused companies, employment laws can be complicated. In addition, handling independent employee concerns or investigations can be difficult without fully understanding the laws pertaining to each situation.
An employment lawyer can be used for several things from advice to legal representation, yet one of the most important jobs a lawyer can do for you is to help simplify the legalese of complicated laws so that you can amend your business going forward. Ideally, this will help a business prevent legal issues, but if the unexpected occurs it’s best to have a good employment lawyer on your side to navigate the potential complexities of an employee complaint.
Here are five benefits that an employment lawyer can provide to an employer.
Ensuring the employer is set-up for employment success
Many employers may be under the impression that an employment lawyer would be called upon only after a complaint is filed or a concern is recognised. However, it is important for a business to start out on the right foot when it comes to managing employee rights and ensuring that your business is compliant with local and national employment laws.
Much of employment law is regarding protections for an employee. Those protections may be personal protections as related to discrimination or harassment, hiring processes, employment conditions, and termination laws. In order to protect the company and the employee it is important that an employment lawyer review agreement, contracts, job offers, and other employee/employer documentation to ensure that statements not only support employee protections, but that the employer understands how to implement and follow the law.
An employee has filed a harassment or discrimination case
One of the biggest legal concerns an employer may face is harassment and discrimination cases. Despite what an employer may personally think, it is important that all accusations are taken seriously. While employment law has detailed descriptions of harassment and discrimination and an employer may try to manage these concerns before they occur, it can be difficult for an employer to fully manage all employee activities, including leadership indiscretions.
It is important to realise that without adequate management of harassment and discrimination complaints the employer can be held as responsible or culpable as the offending employee, or potentially the employer.
An employment lawyer can help the employer fully understand the protection laws, how they may have been breached, and help to mediate or litigate the case between the employee or employer. Having an employment lawyer who can advise the employer based on the law, prior experience, and similarly resolved employment cases can be indispensable in saving the employer time, money, and avoiding further harassment or discrimination cases.
The term “at-will” employment is one of the most misunderstood terms in employment. “At will” employment in its broadest sense gives the employer or the employee the right to terminate employment at any time and for any reason. However, there are several caveats to that. The first is that if there is a contractual obligation that offers protections to the employee or defines a termination process, this may supersede “at-will” employment criteria.
Additionally, it is unlawful to terminate employees based on protected criteria such as race, religion, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, age, pregnancy, or medical condition.
A termination can also be deemed wrongful based on how an employee is terminated such as through harassment and in some cases an employee’s inability to counter the accusations for termination. An employment lawyer can help to work with the employer to review termination documents, advise on termination process laws, and help an employer understand the employee’s legal rights for termination.
Decrease in employee benefits
Just like employee’s personal lives, many employers need to make difficult decisions when the times are hard. This often results in cost-cutting which can unfortunately affect employees. When an employer must face the realisation to fire or layoff employees, reduce or eliminate benefits, or change a pension plan, an employment lawyer can save a lot of hassle by ensuring that everything from how these situations are presented to the documentation is in order.
These can be difficult times for employers and employees, so it is not uncommon for lawyers to assist in answering difficult employee and employer questions, as well as handling the difficult cases presented once proceeding with layoffs and changes or reductions of benefits.
Representation for collective bargaining negotiation
It is illegal for an employer to prevent employees from forming a union or preventing employees from negotiating the terms of employment. Collective bargaining negotiations can be difficult for both sides. Employees are looking for higher wages and better benefits while employers may not be able to afford the requests. An employment lawyer is well-practiced in mediation and can help to represent the employer if collective bargaining negotiation begins. Like many aspects of employment law, your lawyer can help you understand the legalities surrounding collective bargaining as well as what you can expect during the process.
A good employment lawyer can save an employer a lot of money by advising on complicated employee rights laws, ensuring documentation is reviewed and follows the law as well as helps employers understand—in simpler terms—the rights that employees have while working for the employer.
By understanding the law better, you, as the employer, are able to lawfully manage your company. However, if a case is brought against the employer, the company needs make difficult employee decisions, or representation is needed during collective bargaining you know that an employment lawyer brings knowledge, experience, and advice to the table.
LGM Advisors is a leading Melbourne law firm, professionals in Employment Law. LGM Advisors have the skills, experience and expertise to ensure that you and your contract matter is consulted upon with the utmost professionalism. Contact LGM Advisors and speak to a contract lawyer today on (03) 9832 0608 or by email at email@example.com.
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