When do I need an employment lawyer (and have I left it too late)?

Posted 18 October 2017 Written by Jon P
Category Labour

Employment laws are among the most comprehensive and complex laws in the country. These laws not only enumerate the rights and obligations of both employers and employees, but they also provide means to protect these rights and the steps by which the aggrieved may air his concerns, writes Jon P.

With that said, there is no doubt that being knowledgeable about various employment laws will aid in the growth of the company. Not only will this help avert possible sanctions, but it will also pave the way for better employer-employee relations. Further, it cannot be denied that happy employees are productive employees, thus increasing the number of satisfied clients. The following are the instances when an employment lawyer is needed by both the employer and the employee.   

When Needed by the Employer

The Constitution itself provides each person with the right to fair labor practices. On this premise, the legislature has enacted the Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 1997 and the Labor Relations Act of 1995 to provide employers with more detailed guidelines.  

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act states the minimum conditions which an employer must provide the employees with, such as the appropriate work hours, basic remuneration, and leave benefits. Prohibitions are also discussed under this act, especially that of child and forced labor.  

On the other hand, the Labor Relations Act is supportive of the employees’ freedom of association. It allows for the formation of unions, collective bargaining, and for an open and honest forum by which internal disputes may be resolved. 

However, application of these laws into the day-to-day work scenario can be quite tricky – and that’s when employment lawyers do their work. These lawyers help employers understand what the law contains, and offer concrete advice on how employers can meet these requirements. They make sure that the work environment follows basic employment regulations, while also educating employers of the rights of each employee to guide them in setting up clear boundaries. 

They also orient the employer of their own rights, including that of lock-outs, grounds for legal termination, and of appropriate sanctions against erring employees. 

When Needed by the Employee

There is no doubt that the laws were established to favour the working man. Aside from acts delineating basic work conditions, various statutes were likewise enacted to ensure the protection of the rights of the employee. These acts include the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act of 1993, the Employment Equity Act of 1998, and the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993. 

These laws clearly define certain rights of employees, but are often couched in terms which the lay man cannot easily comprehend. With the help of an employment lawyer, employees become informed of their rights, including that of joining unions, rights against discrimination, having readily available medical treatment, and fair compensation. 

Employment lawyers are likewise mandated to explain the contents of collective bargaining agreements to help them understand the proper means by which their grievances are aired to the management. Prior to filing a case in the Labor Court, employees may opt to avail of conciliation, mediation, arbitration, dispute resolution or holding legal strikes, which takes up less time than a court proceeding. 

With proper guidance from employment lawyers, employees will not only be able to identify their rights, but will also learn to protect and use them to their advantage. 

Is It Too Late?

With all these discussions in mind, there is no doubt that the employment lawyer plays a vital role whenever employer-employee relations are concerned. 

To the employer, it is never too late to hire an employment lawyer for consultation purposes. Although it is best to employ one at the onset of the business, it is not necessarily an absolute requirement. Businesses often start small and with little to no employees, so in these instances, employment lawyers are not always necessary. But as soon as the business starts to grow – and the processes develop into more complicated ones – the services of employment lawyers become necessary. And if you don’t have one yet, it is advised to get one now to help smooth out the processes to make sure working conditions are in accordance with the law. 

To the employee, hiring an employment lawyer is especially necessary in cases of unfair labor practices or unfair dismissal. Often, the dismissed employee does not know that his termination was illegal, so he fails to file a complaint in court. In these instances, it is advised to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible to ensure protection of his rights. Although the Constitution guarantees and protects a person’s employment rights, it may be too late if he ends up sleeping on his rights – nonetheless, these only happen in extreme cases.

Authors bio:

Jon is fond of reading, writing & meeting people. He loves writing about Employment Lawyer Edinburgh. In a former life, Jon worked as a content specialist and has good knowledge about employment policies & law. He can be reached at [email protected]. His website is at http://www.lochlaw.co.uk/

The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Acts Online. Acts Online accepts no responsibility for the accuracy, completeness or fairness of the article, nor does the information contained herein constitute advice, legal or otherwise.