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How to Find the Best Labor and Employment Lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA
Considered one of the landmark laws enacted by the United States, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against workers based on a large number of factors. An employer cannot discriminate against a worker because of race, gender, religion, and national origin among other demographic factors.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 created the legal foundation for states to pass their own discrimination laws. Like every other state, Pennsylvania has enacted a comprehensive discrimination law that goes well beyond what Title VII covers. The Keystone State has also passed dozens of other employment laws that protect workers against acts such as wage theft and wrongful termination.
If your employer has violated one or more state labor laws, you should consult with a state-licensed attorney who specializes in protecting the rights of workers. With dozens of employment law attorneys near you, how do you find the best labor & employment lawyers in Pittsburgh?
A good place to start is by scheduling a free case evaluation with an employment lawyer at Morgan & Morgan. Since 1988, our team of labor and employment attorneys has worked closely with clients to fight back against employers that have violated state and federal laws. During the hour you spend on a free case evaluation with one of our lawyers, you should have the answer to the question, “How to find the best labor & employment lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA.”
What Does an Employment Lawyer Do?
Employment lawyers provide a wide variety of services for workers that believe they are victims of workplace law violations.
Describe Your Rights
An employment attorney describes the rights given to workers. You should also learn about the different options you have to pursue a legal remedy for your claim of employment law violations. The different options include litigation, mediation, and negotiation. Your labor lawyer should explain the pros and cons of each legal option.
File a Complaint
For matters involving federal employment law, your lawyer files a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). For matters that involve a state labor law, your attorney files a complaint with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry. Legal counsel ensures you file your complaint before the statute of limitations expires, as well as complete the form by submitting accurate information.
The most important role of a labor attorney is to litigate your case in front of a civil court judge. Your lawyer presents evidence, questions witnesses, and makes persuasive arguments on your behalf. If your case reaches the litigation phase of the legal process, your employer will have a team of accomplished attorneys defending the company against all charges. You need to counterbalance the legal clout by hiring an experienced employment law attorney who knows how to win civil lawsuits.
What Are My Rights as an Employee in Pennsylvania?
Federal law requires employers to post information about Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in an area that is easily accessible for workers. However, the same disclosure requirements do not apply to every Pennsylvania employment law. You might be unaware of your rights when it comes to the legal relationship you have with your employer.
Your labor and employment attorney should explain your rights either during the free case evaluation or shortly thereafter.
Access to Personnel Files
Some states do not grant workers the right to review their personnel files. Pennsylvania is not one of those states. In the Keystone State, you have the right to gain access to your personnel file. By reviewing your personnel file, you can discover whether your employer has placed inaccurate or even defamatory information inside of it. You have the right to look at your personnel file one time a year, regardless if you work part-time or full-time.
Pennsylvania has not increased the state’s minimum wage since 2009, which stands at $7.25 per hour. Tipped employees receive just $2.83 an hour as long as the amount of money earned in tips makes up the difference between $2.83 per hour and $7.25 per hour.
Employees that work more than 40 hours a week qualify for overtime pay, which is time and a half what an employee makes per hour. Exemptions to the Pennsylvania overtime statute include executives and administrators.
State law forbids employers from discriminating against workers based on sex, race, religion, disability, and national origin. Employers also cannot discriminate based on age if a worker is more than 40 years old. Discrimination against pregnant women is considered discrimination based on sex. Discrimination is not permitted against workers, as well as job applicants.
Pennsylvania is an at-will employment state, which means both an employer and employee can end the employment arrangement at any time. The exception to the at-will rule involves acts of discrimination. If your employer fired you for a reason that was not based on an act of discrimination, you might have difficulty proving your employer committed an act of wrongful termination.
Knowing how to find the best labor and employment lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA involves asking the right questions. One of the first questions to ask an attorney during a free case evaluation concerns the rights you have under state law.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing an Employment Lawsuit in Pennsylvania?
Another important question to ask during a free case evaluation is how much time do you have to file an employment lawsuit. The deadline for taking action against your employer depends on the type of employment lawsuit that you file.
You have 180 days from the last act of discrimination to file a claim with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC). The EEOC gives you 300 days after the last act of discrimination to file a claim with the federal agency. Your employment lawyer will ensure you meet the deadline for filing a civil lawsuit against your employer.
To get a state or a federal regulator to investigate a complaint, you have 180 days to file a wrongful termination claim against your former employer. If the case involves a breach of an employment contract, then the PHRC will investigate your complaint.
For some employment law cases, it can be unclear as to when the clock starts to tick on the filing of a claim. Wrongful termination claims are easy to determine when the clock starts on the statute of limitations. However, the same cannot be said for cases that involve acts of employer discrimination.
How to Hire the Best Employment Lawyer in Pittsburgh, PA
To win a civil lawsuit against your employer, you need the legal support of a highly-rated employment lawyer. Let’s learn how to hire the best employment lawyer in Pittsburgh, PA
Knowing how to hire the best employment lawyer in Pittsburgh starts at home. Ask the members of your family for a recommendation. If you cannot get a recommendation from a family member, then expand your network to include friends, neighbors, and professional peers. Asking lawyers that you know is an effective networking strategy as well.
Pennsylvania Bar Association
The Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) website features a helpful tool called “Find a Lawyer.” Click the “Get a Lawyer” tab to get started on your search. You should receive a list of attorneys that practice labor law in the state. The PBA “Find a Lawyer” tool also allows you to discover whether any of the lawyers on your shortlist of candidates has received a reprimand for judicial misconduct.
Client reviews can provide you with insight into how effective an attorney is at litigating employment law cases. You should learn how clients view a lawyer’s honesty, integrity, and communication skills. Sites such as Yelp and Google should not be the main source of information that you gather about a lawyer. Client reviews should support the other research you have already conducted.
What Should I Look for in an Employment Attorney?
The first step to take when learning how to find the best labor & employment lawyers in Pittsburgh involves making sure the attorney has earned a license to practice law in Pennsylvania. Then, you follow a few additional steps that should help you discover the best legal counsel for your employment law case.
You want to work with a law firm such as Morgan & Morgan that has established a record of providing superior employment law services for several years. Another part of the experience equation is to find an attorney who has experience litigating employment law cases. Some lawyers claim to be employment attorneys, when in fact they specialize in another area of law. Experience is also about winning claims and lawsuits. It does not matter if a law firm has 20 years of experience if the law firm does a poor job of representing clients.
Represents You the Entire Time
The last thing you want is for an experienced employment law attorney to pass your case on to an inexperienced clerk or paralegal. Some lawyers meet with clients for a free case evaluation, only to disappear once it comes time to address legal issues. Your employment law attorney must be with you every step of the way towards resolving the dispute you have with your employer.
Has Your Best Interests in Mind
Your employment lawyer works for you, not for himself, herself, or a law firm. If you refuse to accept a proposed settlement, your lawyer must honor your wish. If you think you deserve more in monetary damages, your employment lawyer must seek more money in just compensation. An employment law attorney is there to offer you advice and fulfill legal obligations. Your lawyer should never make a decision concerning your case without first consulting you.
Speak With an Employment Law Attorney at Morgan & Morgan
The quest ends for how to find the best labor & employment lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA when you sign a document that hires an attorney. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure the lawyer works on a contingency fee basis. This means your legal counsel takes a percentage of what you earn in monetary damages.
Schedule a free case evaluation today with an experienced employment lawyer at Morgan & Morgan.