Suzanne Lucas, who writes under the moniker of the “Evil HR Lady” (and who is anything BUT evil), recently released a post about when an individual should hire an employment attorney.
She cites to another good lawyer/blogger — Chris McKinney — who also posted on the subject from an employee’s perspective.
But suppose you own or work at a small to mid-size business. Odds are you don’t have a lawyer in-house that you can discuss this with. You may have an attorney you call from time to time.
Well, suppose you injured your leg going skiing. Would you have your primary care physician handle things or would you go to a orthopedic specialist?
That, in some ways, is the inquiry that you should be asking yourself.
Is the problem that you have something that any attorney can handle or is there something more to the issue?
There are a few situations that I’ve seen over time when clients seem to be happy about calling an employment attorney.
1. Getting sued is the most obvious one. But many times, the claims from an employee are filed at the agency level first. Those proceedings are the best time to get an attorney involved in drafting and defending your company because what you say there will dictate your defenses at court later on.
2. Getting a letter from an attorney representing an employee is another situation when hiring an employment lawyer may be useful. The desire to “lawyer up” isn’t necessarily a bad one. But an employment lawyer in Connecticut may be familiar with the employee’s attorney and can help defuse an otherwise-heated situation.
3. Getting a phone call from a state or federal agency doing an investigation of your workplace practices is still another situation. This can be a challenge because often times there is little advance notice. But having an employment attorney available for a call, can again save headaches for the employer and level the playing field.
This is, of course, not a complete list. But thinking about these issues before you actually need an attorney can make it much easier when an “emergency” arises.