What in the world (or at least the United States and Great Britain) do employment solicitors (also called employment lawyers or employment attorneys) do? Part of their jobs is to specialize in employment issues for either individuals or corporations, usually handling labor matters, including issues regarding wages and hours worked. An employee of a company might complain that he was not paid a fair amount for his work performed, and the solicitor can verify payroll information from the employer.
An employer may also need a solicitor for allegations of an unsafe work environment, which can then be investigated for any safety violations. The lawyer can also interview the person who made the allegation against his employer.
What about contractual issues? Contractual disputes are common in the workplace, and the employment attorney can address that common allegation by reviewing the contract to see if it adequately covers the interests of the employee and employer.
Yet another job for employment solicitors is to handle discrimination cases. The lawyer will look into the allegation and any supporting evidence to determine is any discrimination occurred. But the duties of employment solicitors don’t stop there. They may also be called upon to do any of the following:
Prepare employee handbooks and safety manuals Handle compensation issues Dealing with disputes over the treatment of employees or the validity of a pension plan, retirement systems, occupational safety laws, affirmative action and harassment issues Dealing with employees who have been mistreated on the job or have received unfair retirement offerings
Attorneys should be knowledgeable in many aspects of employment law, and so they have to be licensed to practice law in the state, province or region where they work. A bachelor’s degree as well as law degrees, a background in employment rules and regulations, and maintenance of strict licensures as needed is required.
If an agreement cannot be reached between an employer and employee then the attorney might attempt to mediate the case, allowing both sides to discuss the case from the two different perspectives. If the case still doesn’t settle, the employment solicitor will likely have to prepare to take the case to court.
As you can see, it can be quite handy for a company to have an employment solicitor on retainer for advice regarding personnel department matters. Personnel managers may need guidance on writing offers of employment to candidates, and can get answers regarding workplace safety and injuries.