Employment lawyers generally handle disputes and lawsuits that are related to the workplace and affect the employer-employee relationship.
The job has its own unique challenges but it does offer a lot of opportunities for technical and personal growth for the lawyer.
What Employment Lawyers Do?
Employment lawyers advise employers and/or employees in all aspects of employment, from hiring to termination. Their counsel can be conscientious or non-conscientious.
Conscientious advice involves representing and helping clients prepare for and go through the litigation process or even internal processes like disciplinary hearings.
Meanwhile, non-conscientious tasks usually involve providing day-to-day support to the Human Resources departments of companies, such as drafting, reviewing, and advising on employment contracts, employee policies, compensation and benefits policies, etc.
Cases on Employee Law
Employment lawyers advise on a variety of issues and cases that crop up in the workplace setting.
These can include — employee handbook provisions, compensation issues, workplace harassment, workplace discrimination, disciplinary action and termination, human resource practices and policies, reduction or retrenchment programs, restrictive covenants or confidentiality agreements, severance agreements, employee benefits like leaves and retirement plans, workplace investigations, drug and alcohol testing, waivers and releases, etc.
Skills of an Employment Lawyer
Employment law involves knowledge in common law and domestic and statutory legislation. Employer lawyers need excellent analysis, communication, and interpersonal skills since they often serve as mediators for employers and employees. Their job requires them to talk and work directly with people a majority of the time.
Naturally, the job also requires empathy because employment lawyers will have to handle certain cases that involve discomfiting or personal allegations against the client. They must be able to establish and maintain trust and confidence with not only the client but also the other party involved in the case.
Workplace and Employment Prospects
Employment lawyers have a lot of employment options available to them. They can work for a private law firm, practice alone, work in the legal departments of private corporations or non-profit organizations, or work in government or public interest organizations to provide their legal services to employees.
Most large corporations hire and maintain their own in-house employment lawyers, so there is much opportunity in working as a full-time lawyer for a specific company or organization.
Challenges and Benefits
Employment lawyers should be able to easily adapt to the constantly changing and evolving nature of employment law. Legislation related to the workplace is often dependent on the government’s policies and priorities.
Often, old laws are amended, many new laws are passed, and judges have different interpretations of the law and its details. The outcome of cases is always unpredictable. However, the dynamic nature of employment law assures employment lawyers of constantly being intellectually challenged.
What makes the job of employment lawyers intriguing and exciting is the human interest of their practice, which most other kinds of litigation do not have.
Employment cases are all about people and usually involve intriguing scenarios and stories. Cases like discrimination and harassment claims allow lawyers to see the complex relationships between people in the workplace.
Employment lawyers also have the opportunity to work a diverse range of clients – organizations of all trades and industries employ people and require counsel.
Working with different businesses and industries allows lawyers to be better-rounded and more experienced in handling industry-specific situations. The ever-changing scenarios of their cases keep employment lawyers interested in their work even after years of practice. There is always an opportunity for growth.
However, the highly personal nature of their cases can also be disheartening to some employment lawyers. Employment lawyers often have to deal with termination cases.
The litigation or negotiation process can turn out to be difficult and confrontational. Lawyers usually have to impose on the personal lives of their clients and other parties, which can be unpleasant.
Ultimately, a career in employment law can be very exciting and fulfilling. They will certainly encounter many challenges in their line of work, but employment lawyers will never be bored by their cases and their day-to-day tasks. The nature of their work is dynamic and always interesting.