When it comes to the workplace, it’s often challenging to advocate for yourself. The threat of punitive action always hangs over any employee. However, it’s essential to know that you have rights as an employee, and an employment lawyer can help you understand them and solve any issues you may have in the workplace. In fact, you’d be surprised at how often employee rights are violated — often unbeknownst to the employee.
This article lays out five common workplace situations where hiring an employment lawyer can provide a huge help.
1. Employment contracts
It’s not uncommon to be presented with a contract or agreement when you first get hired at a new job. Typically, an employment contract or agreement outlines the terms of your employment, including your hours, compensation and workplace policies. However, they may hide some surprising things.
When signing a new employment contract, most people focus on compensation and benefits, skipping over large chunks of the contract to get to the good stuff. But, employers can hide clauses that can have huge impacts on your job, such as laying you off without consent or terminating you without compensation. For these reasons, hiring an employment lawyer to review your contract is a good idea. They can identify any areas of concern and help negotiate a better contract.
Many people would be surprised to learn that they can get a much better severance package than they’re offered when they’re let go. This is because companies often include clauses in contracts that limit what they payout to an employee. However, these clauses are often not legitimate and possibly illegal (another reason why having a lawyer review your contract is a good idea).
If you’re laid off, it’s always wise to have an employment lawyer look over your severance package before accepting it. Even if you signed a contract with a limitation on your severance, a good employment lawyer can get you out of it and ensure you’re paid what you deserve.
3. Job/duty changes
Your employer cannot change the terms of your employment contract on a whim. You have to agree to those changes. If your employer wants to alter your job or responsibilities, you have the right to refuse. But if you fail to speak up, that can be considered consent to the changes. This could embolden your employer to make future changes.
You should consult an employment lawyer if your job has or will be changed to something you don’t like.
4. Workplace harassment
A safe and supportive workplace is a right that every employee is entitled to. Therefore, every company should have policies surrounding workplace harassment and a process for how it can be dealt with.
If you’re the subject of harassment or abuse in the workplace, you should report the situation and follow any procedures to resolve the issue. It’s crucial that you clearly state the problem and who is causing it. Your employer then has a legal responsibility to take action.
However, if it’s your employer themselves doing the harassing, or they fail to take action against your harasser, you should contact an employment lawyer. They can help resolve the issue or negotiate a settlement for you.
5. Questions about your employer’s actions
If your employer is doing something that seems questionable, the odds are it is. Whether it’s asking you to perform tasks outside your responsibilities, using inappropriate language, physical touching or more, your employer doesn’t have the right to do what they like.
You have a right to a safe work environment, but it’s not always easy to stand up for yourself. An employment lawyer can help protect you and help resolve any issues. If you’re unsure about your rights as an employee, you should contact an employment lawyer for answers.
Remember: just because you work for someone doesn’t mean they get to treat you however they like. All workers are entitled to rights. At lawbrokr, we’ve made it easier than ever to connect to an employment lawyer who will fight for what’s yours. Visit lawbrokr today to get started.