Employment lawyers can help almost everyone who participates in the workforce. You might think that the only time you need an employment lawyer is when your employer fires you or fails to renew your employment contract without good reason. Likewise, businesses should not wait until a former employee files a lawsuit against them before they contact an employment lawyer. In many cases, it would have been possible to prevent the lawsuit if the employer had contacted a lawyer sooner. The Minneapolis employee counseling lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP can help employers and employees prevent and resolve disputes.
Even the Smallest Businesses Need Legal Advice
In theory, starting a business on your own is easy; if you can manage a Google search, you can find everything you need to know to get your new company started. In practice, it is a lot more complicated, though. For example, the IRS website contains one-paragraph descriptions of each of the types of business structures you can use when incorporating a new business, but choosing a business structure is a major decision that requires much more thought than just reading a website. Likewise, it is cheaper just to download a business contract from the Internet and fill it in, whether you are setting the terms of a worker’s employment or making an agreement with a vendor, than it is to have a business law attorney draft the contract for you. Having a lawyer professionally write your contract, or at least review the draft you have written before you sign it, is much more effective at preventing contract disputes. Trying to do everything on your own, as far as official business documents go, is penny wise and pound foolish.
Money is the main reason that employment relationships exist, and it is also a main source of disputes. It goes without saying that, when hiring an employee or independent contractor, you should sign a contract agreeing to how much you will pay them per hour (or week, month, or year in the case of salaried employees) or in exchange for what tasks. Even if you do this, disputes still often arise about payment, especially payment related to the end of an employee’s time working for the company. For example, a contract may specify that the company must give the employee severance pay if the employer terminates the employment relationship, but the parties may disagree over whether the employee was laid off, and therefore entitled to severance pay, or whether the employee quit or was fired for misconduct, therefore forfeiting the right to the severance pay.
Employment Discrimination Claims
Employment discrimination is also a major cause of legal disputes between employees and their employers. When employers discriminate against employees because of race, gender, disability, or any other protected characteristic, the employer almost always denies that the employee’s protected characteristic was the reason for the employer’s actions which the employee considers discriminatory. Minnesota law recognizes more protected categories than federal law does. In Minnesota, employers are also barred from discriminating against employees on the basis of having received public assistance or having participated in a human rights organization.
Remember that you, as an employee, have a right to make a claim of employment discrimination even if your employer did not fire you. Employment discrimination often feels more like death by a thousand cuts; it can be a series of derogatory remarks about you or the group to which you belong, unfairly critical evaluations of your performance, or just your supervisors and co-workers being so consistently unpleasant to you that you cannot simply chalk it up to working in a profession where people are not known for their excellent interpersonal skills. An employment discrimination lawyer can help you present your case in a way that enables others to see clearly the discrimination that you have experienced.
Breach of Contract Claims
If the employee and the employer signed a written contract prior to the beginning of the work relationship, they are already in a stronger position legally than if there were no written document formalizing the employment agreement. If one party to the contract does not do what they promised to do by signing the contract, the other can sue them for breach of contract. If the work arrangement fell apart, the parties sometimes disagree about which one originally caused the problem. Did the employee intentionally not do the work they promised, or did the employer make it impossible for the employee to do their job? Did the employer unjustly fire the employee, or did the employee walk away from the job in the middle of the contract period? Did the employee stop working because the employer stopped paying them, or was it the other way around? There are two sides to every story, and your Minneapolis employment lawyer can help you tell your side persuasively.
How Employers Can Protect Themselves From Frivolous Complaints by Employees
Employment discrimination and unbearable working conditions are real, but so are baseless complaints by employees. Sometimes disgruntled former employees try to ruin the reputations of the companies that previously employed them by filing frivolous or baseless complaints with regulatory bodies, leading to time-consuming investigations. If this happens to your company, a Minneapolis employment lawyer can help you clear your name as quickly and inexpensively as possible. Likewise, dishonest employees sometimes bring frivolous lawsuits against their employers or file fraudulent workers’ compensation claims for their own financial gain. In these situations, too, your best defense is to hire an employer lawyer from HKM Employment Attorneys LLP.
Contact a Minneapolis Employee Counseling Lawyer
Not every disagreement between an employer and their employee has to result in costly litigation. In fact, many employment disputes can resolve before they even get complicated if you work with an employee counselor from the beginning. From choosing a business structure to employment contracts, and from discrimination leading to a hostile work environment to data breaches, an employment lawyer can help you with all of it. HKM Employment Attorneys LLP has offices in over a dozen American cities and represents employers and employees in many branches of employment law. Contact the Minneapolis employee counseling lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP to set up a consultation.