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How Should I Settle Work-Related Disputes?
Whether it is an office full of employees or a team of general contractors at a construction site, disagreements are a part of doing business. However, when work-related disputes involve a violation of one or more employment laws, work-related disputes take on an entirely different meaning.
Knowing how to settle work-related disputes starts by contacting an experienced employment law attorney. When a worker files a lawsuit against an employer concerning a workplace issue, the already high degree of tension nears the boiling point. It can be difficult to make the right legal decisions while under a considerable amount of pressure.
An employment lawyer does what professional athletes do when they face incredible pressure. The best attorneys “slow things down” to a manageable pace. They make the right decisions at the right times for their clients. Hiring an employment lawyer can help you navigate the litigation process that includes attending disciplinary hearings and meeting with a representative from your employer’s human resources department.
For more than three decades, the highly-rated employment law attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have helped clients learn how to settle work-related disputes. After meeting with you for a free case evaluation, we will devise a game plan to protect your rights in the workplace and if needed, file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.
What Are the Most Common Types of Work-Related Disputes?
Knowing how to settle work-related disputes requires you to learn about the most common types of disagreements in the workplace. The one factor that ties the following common types of work-related disputes is you guess it: Money.
Unless you signed an employment contract, you most likely work under an at-will relationship. This means you and your employer can end the professional relationship at any time, for almost any reason. The key phrase is “for almost any reason.” Your employer cannot fire you by violating any of the employment laws on the books at the state and federal levels. For example, your employer cannot fire you as retaliation for your role as a whistleblower for the federal government.
If your employer underpays you, state and federal laws grant you the right to file a claim seeking back pay. American workers are entitled to a federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. However, many states have passed legislation that has established higher minimum wages. Some employers try to cheat workers out of income by paying the federal minimum wage when the state requires a higher minimum wage threshold. You also qualify for overtime pay when you work more than 40 hours during a workweek. Some states require employers to pay overtime to workers that put in more than eight hours in a single day.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against workers for several reasons. For example, your employer cannot discriminate against you because of your race, gender, religion, and national origin. The types of discriminatory acts implemented by unethical employers include denying promotions, paying less money, and unwarranted disciplinary actions. You must follow the process created by your state to settle a discrimination claim, as well as if you decide to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
As a common form of discrimination, sexual harassment can cause a wide variety of emotional issues that can lead to a decrease in income. Verbal abuse and unwanted sexual advances put a worker in a difficult position because many cases of sexual harassment come down to the version told by each of the parties. Working with an employment law attorney at Morgan & Morgan helps you gather and organize the evidence you need to prove a sexual harassment claim. We also interview witnesses to boost your credibility.
Some employers offer workers that resign from their positions compensation in exchange for signing a non-compete and/or non-disclosure agreement. Severance agreements often end up in litigation because one party accuses the other party of not following the terms of an agreement. An employment lawyer who specializes in business contract litigation represents the best option for legal counsel when dealing with a severance agreement.
What Are the Most Common Forms of Alternative Dispute Resolutions?
Your case might not require litigation. Maybe your employer agrees to resolve your claim without going to court or your attorney negotiates a favorable settlement. Knowing how to settle work-related disputes also can involve going through the alternative dispute resolution process.
Managed by a neutral third party, mediation relies on the cooperation of both parties to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Both parties make every decision required during the process, while the mediator guides them towards reaching a settlement. Mediators must have a thorough understanding of the needs and interests of each party to provide the strongest support for facilitating an agreement. Hiring an employment law attorney who has experience with mediation can help you avoid a costly and time-consuming legal battle.
Both parties relinquish control over an arbitration hearing. Unlike mediation, arbitration does not involve cooperation between both parties. It is an adversarial process that determines a winner and a loser. A third party reviews the facts of the case before issuing a decision that declares the winner of the arbitration process. Although the rules are less formal than for a civil lawsuit, they are more strict for arbitration than they are for mediation. You might find an arbitrator that wants to give something to both sides, but that is the exception to the general rule.
Negotiations do not involve the participation of a third party. You can approach a negotiation with your employer cooperatively or competitively. Your employment lawyer can recommend which approach works best for your case. Negotiations often result in positional bargaining, which is a legal term that involves each party giving something up to advance the process. You can participate in negotiations on your own, but you have a much better chance of settling your claim with the legal support of a state-licensed employment law attorney.
What Is the Role of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission?
The EEOC offers workers the opportunity to resolve a claim by not filing a lawsuit. You contact the EEOC to request an interview and after the EEOC agrees to review your claim, you then file a signed statement that alleges your employer violated one or more federal employment laws. Every law enforced by the EEOC besides the Equal Pay Act requires you to file a signed statement with the federal agency before you can initiate a civil lawsuit.
You can file your signed statement through the EEOC public portal. The EEOC public portal asks a few questions to confirm the EEOC represents the right federal agency to process your claim. Although the EEOC recommends you participate in an interview at one of the field offices, you might have to participate in an interview over the phone because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Should I Use a Commercial Arbitration Service?
Knowing how to settle work-related disputes requires you to understand how a commercial arbitration service can help expedite your claim. Several commercial arbitration services, such as the American Arbitration Association (AAA), provide different forms of dispute resolution services. Commercial arbitration dispute resolution services establish rules that determine how the organizations select neutral third parties. This can be advantageous for you because it ensures you have an unbiased mediator or arbitrator hearing your case.
Confer with your employment lawyer before deciding whether to turn to a commercial arbitration service.
What Should I Look for in an Employment Law Attorney?
Learning how to settle work-related disputes requires the legal support of an experienced employment lawyer. The question is not should you hire an employment law attorney to settle a work-related dispute. Instead, the question is what qualifications should you look for in the best lawyer.
Experience With Your Type of Case
Yes, it is crucial that you hire legal counsel that specializes in employment law. However, you should ask all lawyers under consideration if they have handled your type of employment law case. For example, if your employer paid you less than what you deserve, you want to hire an attorney who specializes in litigating wage dispute claims.
Knowing how to settle a work-related dispute requires responsive communication between you and your employment law attorney. You can expect your lawyer to have other clients, but you want the attorney to be available to answer questions and address concerns in a timely manner. Your lawyer should return emails and phone calls within 24 hours, as well as keep you updated on any status changes for your case.
Has Your Best Interest in Mind
During the free case evaluation, the lawyer sitting across from you will ask, “What do you want to get out of this?” Maybe you simply want a resolution that minimizes any damage done to the professional relationship you have developed with your employer. On the other hand, maybe you want to file a lawsuit that seeks a considerable amount of monetary damages. Your legal counsel works for you, not the other way around.
Handles Your Case From Start to Finish
Some lawyers claim to handle a case from start to finish, only to delegate some, most, or all of the legal responsibilities to support staff. You want to work with an employment law attorney who supports you from day one. Working with the same legal counsel throughout the entire process helps you build a strong professional relationship, as well as ensures the legal counsel for the other party is familiar with your legal representation.
Contact Morgan & Morgan
Knowing how to settle work-related disputes can save you a considerable amount of time and money, as well as the frustration that often accompanies a high-stress work environment. At Morgan & Morgan, our goal is to get you the results that you want. Whether you want to mediate your case or take it to court, our team of employment lawyers is here to provide you with unwavering legal support.
To settle a work-related dispute, you must act with a sense of urgency to meet every deadline for filing paperwork. Act with a sense of urgency today by scheduling a free case evaluation with Morgan & Morgan.