As an employee, you have certain rights, both within the workplace and having to do with your relationship with your employer. Those rights are set in place by federal, state and local laws. Though most people are aware of the existence of these laws and can sense or know outright when they are being taken advantage of, knowing what to do in the face of a workplace legal issue is not always clear. If you feel that your rights have been violated and you’ve been treated unfairly, your best advocate will always be an experienced and qualified attorney who has specific training in the area of law that’s involved in your complaint.

When it comes to the workplace, that brings us to a second issue. A quick search of workplace legal issues will take you to two different types of law practices: labor law and employment law. Though the two are closely related, they address entirely different types of legal issues, and knowing which one is most appropriate for your problem is the first step to resolution and justice. Both labor lawyers and employment lawyers have dedicated themselves to the issue of workplace fairness, but in completely different circumstances. Let’s look a closer look at the difference between the two so that you know which one will serve you best.

Labor law is written to codify the relationships between an employer and an organized group of employees known as a union. Unions are formed to protect a group of workers with shared traits or in a common working environment: they work to achieve common goals such as safety standards, fair compensation, benefits and working conditions. When a contract between a union and an employer needs to be written, negotiated, or interpreted, the attorney best suited to offer representation is a labor lawyer. Labor lawyers have special training and expertise in the laws that relate to the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 and which are regulated by the National Labor Relations Board.

Where unionized employees have the power of their collective strength as well as their appointed representatives, individual employees stand alone against their employers when their rights have been violated. Fortunately, laws do exist for their protection, and employment lawyers are there to represent them as they battle for justice. In most cases, a lawsuit or claim in the area of employment law will have to do with wages and hours, overtime pay, family and disability leave, workplace safety, discrimination, harassment, or an employee needing protections after reporting wrongdoing on the part of the employer. Many of the laws in question will fall under the rules of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or an individual state’s employment laws.

Being treated fairly in the workplace is an essential right that has a direct impact on your quality of life, as well as your ability to support yourself and your family. There are a number of situations that demand immediate action, including:

  • Concerns about whether your termination or layoff was legal
  • Concerns about how you are treated in the workplace
  • Observations of unlawful conduct on the part of your employer
  • Being asked to sign a waiver or “release of claims” by your employer
  • Believing that you are the victim of harassment in the workplace
  • Believing that you are the victim of discrimination in the workplace

At Schorr and Associates, we represent individual employees in employment disputes of all kinds. If you believe that your rights have been violated and you need to speak with an attorney, contact us today.