The area of practice known as employment law covers the rights, obligations, and responsibilities within the employer-employee relationship-from wages and workplace safety to discrimination and wrongful termination. Employment lawyers typically specialize in representing either employers or employees, but rarely both. Those who represent employees might assist unions or work directly with employees to file lawsuits against employers or negotiate settlements for a wide range of grievances.
Terms to Know
Common Causes of Action in Employment Law
Employees and job interviewees have certain rights and protections, such as the right to not be discriminated against; the right to be paid in accordance with the law; and the right to take leave for family and medical reasons. While federal employment laws set the standard, many states have implemented workplace laws that provide additional protection for employees.
Common employee grievances that result in complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and/or lawsuits include:
It is important to note that employers with less than a certain number of employees (depending on the state and law; for example, the Family and Medical Leave Act covers only applies to businesses with 50 or more employees) are not bound by certain employment laws. Also, employees typically have to have worked a certain number of days before obtaining the protection of certain laws.
Related Practice Areas
Check FindLaw's directory of employment law attorneys (representing employees) to find one near you.