Labor litigation services cover a wide range of topics involving employment. Disputes between employees and companies are common, and they can develop to the point that lawsuits are required to settle them. Cases can emerge in the form of anything from a single complaint to a full-on class-action suit. Take a look at some of the issues a labor litigation lawyer might be asked to address.
The core concept in most relationships, pay, is also one of the greatest sources of contention. Wage workers may be concerned that they're being shorted on what they're owed, and many cases arise from issues involving overtime pay. Similar problems can appear with salaried workers when they're asked to perform more duties than are outlined in their contracts.
Firing is a topic that can rub both employees and employers the wrong way. Wrongful removal of someone from a job can be challenging for a plaintiff to prove, but it also can expose a company to discovery requests involving internal communications like emails, texts and memos. While most employment in the U.S. occurs on an at-will basis, a company may still have to prove that it didn't unjustly fire someone from a job for unlawful reasons such as injuries, physical disabilities or requests for certain types of leave.
At businesses where workers are represented by unions, an added layer of legal issues can arise from union contracts. In addition to existing legal protections regarding things like pay, termination and discrimination, employees may have grounds to claim that a business made decisions that violated the agreement with the union.
Similar issues can also emerge when an employee, even one not represented by a union, has a contract. The terms of the contract may cover severance, notifications regarding termination, periods of employment, raises and promotions. Pretty much anything that can be put in a contract carries the risk of leading to litigation.
While labor litigation often covers protections for workers, it's notable that companies often seek protections, too. Confidentiality is a source of claims against employees, especially at companies that have privileged information or intellectual property.
These kinds of cases can sometimes overlap with other legal issues. An employee might claim, for example, that they were acting a whistleblower. That can lead to questions about regulatory compliance, workplace safety and labor relations that can be sticky to sort out, especially if there's a contract in place.