When Should You Call An Employment Attorney?

May 1, 2023

The decision of whether or not to call an employment attorney is a major one. On one hand, we all have the desire to do well at work and not “rock the boat.” On the other hand, employees have rights that must be respected, and employers sometimes fail to follow federal and state laws. It is important to understand the differences between an employer who is actually violating the law and one who simply runs a bad, but not illegal, work environment. In this article, we will be addressing the common question: “When should one call an employment attorney?” If you believe you need assistance, then contact our Charlotte office today to speak with a lawyer.

While the need for an employee to contact counsel will vary from situation to situation, there are some instances in which it is most likely advisable that you speak with a lawyer immediately. These instances, which this article addresses, include:

  • When you are being subjected to harassment or discrimination
  • When you are considering “blowing the whistle” on your employer
  • When your employer has retaliated against you
  • When you are being asked to sign legally binding documents

Going through any of these situations without being aware of your rights can result in you being wrongfully terminated without recourse or even liable to your employer for damages. We will now discuss each of these situations in turn.

When Employees Are Subjected to Harassment or Discrimination

It is a violation of state and federal law to harass or discriminate against someone on the basis of race or ethnicity, gender, religion, and other characteristics. Unfortunately, the passage of these types of laws has not removed harassment and discrimination from the workplace. Furthermore, much of the harassment and discrimination which occurs in workplaces go unreported. If you believe you have been terminated, denied a promotion, or have been treated differently at work due to one of these protected traits, then it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. 

Failing to immediately contact counsel can be detrimental to your case for two reasons. First, waiting to report improper conduct can bring your credibility into question out of a belief that if you were wronged, you would have raised the issue sooner. Second, there is a statute of limitations for claims such as wrongful termination and sexual harassment. In short, if you have been harassed or discriminated against you should contact counsel immediately.

When You Are Considering Blowing The Whistle On Your Employer

There are many instances in which an employee may need to report improper conduct which involves their employer. These instances include situations in which the employer is breaking the law. This can come in the form of defrauding customers, defrauding the government, or when labor laws are being violated. Unfortunately, when employees report such conduct, either to an entity within the company or to law enforcement, it is not uncommon for supervisors or employers to seek retribution against employees. This retribution can include civil litigation, termination, and more. Speaking with an employment attorney prior to blowing the whistle can help to ensure that you do not suffer these hardships. This is due to the fact that counsel can take several steps to protect you as you are reporting wrongdoing.

When an Employer Has Retaliated Against You

Unfortunately, there are times when an employer has already taken retaliatory action against an employee. This can include the termination of an employee who reported improper conduct as discussed above. These can also include instances such as an employer who terminates someone who files a worker’s compensation claim after an injury. It is important to understand, however, that “retaliation” can take forms other than terminating an employee. It can be considered retaliation if an employer wrongfully demotes you, changes your work hours to a less convenient time in order to make your life difficult, transfers you to a less convenient work location, etc. An experienced attorney can assist you in determining whether your employer’s actions are retaliatory and counsel will also guide you through the next steps of the process.

When You Are Being Asked To Sign Legally Binding Documents

There are multiple situations in which an employer may ask you to sign an employment contract, a liability release, or some other legally binding document. Signing such documents can place limitations upon you. These can include a restriction against starting a business in the future if that business would compete against your employer, restrictions against you engaging in “freelance” or “side-hustle” activities, and more. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for an employer who knows that they have done something wrong to attempt to gain a release from the employee. Signing such a document may result in you giving up your right to seek the compensation which you deserve. 

It is also not uncommon for an employee to think that they have to sign documents when requested by an employer. This belief, in part, comes from a feeling that one does not have the right to say no. This is not the case. You never have to sign a legally binding document unless you are actually willing to do so. It is strongly suggested that you speak to an employment attorney before signing any legally binding document.

Contact a Charlotte Employment Attorney Today

If you believe that your rights have been violated, or if you have questions about your situation, then it is important that you speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. This is due to the fact that if you need to bring an action against your current or former employer, then you only have a limited amount of time in which you can do so. Furthermore, if you sign a legally binding document, you may very well have given up a right that you cannot get back. The Fuller Law Firm is dedicated to protecting employees and we believe that everyone is entitled to the highest level of representation and respect. Contact us online or by telephone to speak with a Charlotte employment lawyer.