Employment rights attorneys focus on helping people who have been personally or financially injured through unfair working conditions of various types, but most people never need to hire a lawyer to make sure they’re treated fairly at work. The most important thing you can do to protect yourself in the workplace is to know and insist upon your rights as an employee, including fair compensation, safe working conditions, a harassment-free environment and a lack of discrimination. It’s an employer’s responsibility to provide these things, and when you ask for them, you’re not asking for a favor; you’re simply ensuring compliance with the law.
If your workplace rights are being violated, the first thing you should always do is make an official report internally and see if your employer resolves the problem. There are times, however, when you may need legal assistance in order to be treated fairly. Here are a few common situations in which you might end up needing to working with an employment lawyer:
- If Internal Reports Have Been Ignored
If you’ve followed through on all internal resources and a problem still isn’t being fixed, you may have no recourse except working with a lawyer.
- If the Problem is Widespread
If your employer is engaging in widespread worker’s rights violations, you may want to talk to a legal expert as to what the best course of action is. Internal reports should still be filed, since these help to build a case, but many employees within the company may be entitled to compensation if a company has been implementing illegal protocols for an extended period of time.
- If Your Boss Is Harassing You
Your boss is the one responsible for creating a safe working environment free from harassment. If, however, your boss is the one harassing you, outside legal counsel may become necessary.
- If You’ve Been Fired for Filing a Claim
If you experienced injury and filed a claim for worker’s compensation, your boss may not fire you because of your claim. This is a case of wrongful dismissal.
- If You’ve Been Fired for Filing a Report
If you have been fired (or threatened with firing) for blowing the whistle on illegal or unethical company practices, you should contact an employment lawyer. This too may constitute unfair dismissal.
When else might someone need to work with an employment lawyer? Share your experiences in the comments.