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What Is Employment Law?

Employers regularly talk to employment attorneys about following the law to defend against lawsuits by employees. Employment law is about the employer-employee relationship, and the employer's responsibility to follow certain state and federal laws. Employees also have lawyers who are experienced in discrimination and wage issue violations.

Terms to Know

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Law that prohibits discrimination against any employee or applicant with a disability.
  • Constructive Discharge: Situation where an employee quits, but the employer is liable because the employee was forced to resign due to intolerable working conditions.
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): A federal agency that handles violations of employment law typically dealing with discrimination based on sex, race, age, or religion.
  • Wage: A payment for labor or services on an hourly, daily, or piecework basis.
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): Law that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees who choose to take time off of work for personal or family medical issues.

How Employment Lawyers Help Businesses

Employment lawyers who work with employers provide guidance about state and federal laws. They also help negotiate contracts and defend against lawsuits for employment discrimination.

Whistleblower cases happen when an employee reports violations within a company or government agency. These violations could be related to employment issues or business practices. Lawyers who represent employers provide legal advice on how to best defend against these allegations. They will help make sure the proper steps are taken and defend the organization in any legal action.

How Employment Lawyers Help Employees

When employees have employment law issues, they also need the right lawyer to figure out the next steps. Often the employee must first file a claim with the EEOC or a state agency before filing a lawsuit. This would include cases of sexual harassment, discrimination, and issues about pay and benefits. Employment contracts and violations of the employee handbook also come up. Employees should look for a good lawyer who has experience handling cases from the employee's perspective.

To learn more about the employment laws in your state, see FindLaw's Required Labor Posters: State GuideFinal Paycheck Laws by State, and State Pay Day Requirements.

If you need to find a lawyer for your employment law issues, many state bar associations have lawyer referral services that can help you. Employment law cases can be complicated, so finding the right attorney for this area of law is important.

For more information on important employment law topics see these FindLaw pages:

Related Practice Areas

No matter which side of an employment law case, a good lawyer can review the case and give you important legal advice. See FindLaw's directory of employment law attorneys to find counsel near you.

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