Q When do I need an employment attorney?
A You should build a relationship with an employment attorney as early in your career as possible, says “CB” Bowman, president and CEO of Career Strategies Inc., a New York job search and career management firm. One of the main reasons is that, “in many states, our legal system favors employers due to `termination at will’ laws, and employees need to ensure a level playing field,” she warns. Outside of litigious matters, employment attorneys can advise you on offer letters, performance reviews, release letters, particularly those containing employee rights waivers, noncompete clauses and confidentiality agreements.
The burden of proof in most discrimination cases lies on the employee. It can be very difficult to prove employer intent without proper guidance. Many employees wait until they are terminated before they look for an employment attorney. Seeking one beforehand can ensure that you’ll learn how to document evidence and keep the appropriate records, notes Bowman. Professional career coaches and personal referrals are two good avenues to finding an employment attorney. You could also contact the American Bar Association headquartered in Chicago, at 312-988-5000.