LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW
As your legal problem-solvers, Business Law Group can help you resolve a broad array of workplace challenges quickly and easily. These include issues regarding hiring, testing, OSHA compliance, FMLA leave management, affirmative action, wage and other pay practices, anti-harassment training, regulatory assistance, and additional labor and employment matters. We also regularly draft and customize Louisiana employment handbooks and training materials.
With our experience and expertise, your company can avoid legal issues— and maximize your operational efficiency, employee well-being and overall business success. Good employment practices are one of the hallmarks of smart legal leverage.
Does the Business Law Group represent employers and employees during disputes or lawsuits?
We represent both employers and employees in all sorts of employment matters. Representing both sides gives us particular insight into the motivations of each party and helps us get you prompt resolution, if possible. Employment litigation is a last-resort strategy and often only advisable when there's no other recourse available for the employee. The best course of action for both the employer and the employee involved in a workplace dispute is to try to amicably resolve the issue. Litigation is costly and the onus is on the employee—not the employer—to prove discrimination when the employer has provided a legitimate reason for termination.
Our ideal employee clients have experienced demonstrable discrimination by their employers, including pay discrimination, severe and pervasive sexual harassment, retaliation, disability discrimination, and age discrimination. They're honest and realistic about the battle before them—and are ready to help move their case toward an acceptable resolution.
The following summarizes the types of legal claims we pursue on behalf of employees:
- Equal pay discrimination
- Gender discrimination (including a hostile work environment, sexual harassment or pay discrimination)
- Pregnancy discrimination
- Age discrimination
- Disability discrimination
- Overtime pay
- Retaliation for reporting discrimination
- Retaliation for reporting a violation of Louisiana law (also known as a Louisiana whistleblower claim).
Is employment litigation really an uphill battle for me as an employee?
If you're considering suing your Louisiana employer, you need to understand that the court system here doesn't favor your lawsuit. In fact, most courts see these suits as nuisances. Our ideal employee clients understand the following four harsh realities involved in employment litigation:
1. Even if your employee gave you the heave-ho, you probably weren't treated illegally.
We're strong advocates of treating employees respectfully, fairly and with dignity. Unfortunately, the law doesn't require employers to treat their employees like family, or to even be “fair.” Employers can even play favorites, as long as they're not making distinctions based on “protected” categories, like race or sexual orientation. Simply, put there's no “legal right” to a warm, fuzzy workplace.
Here's the bottom line: If you sue your employer, it won't be enough for you to prove that your employer made the wrong decision, or even that your employer was an all-around jerk. If you don't have a valid legal claim against your employer, you'll ultimately lose your case. This can result in your being responsible for your employer's legal fees, if your claims are frivolous.
2. Be forewarned that litigation is long, drawn-out, stressful and expensive. Most attorneys and judges encourage the parties to try to settle before the case goes to trial. Why do you think most courts have mandatory mediation? (If even lawyers don't necessarily like litigation, just think about how much you'll hate it.)
Yes, employers do get sued frequently, and they treat it as “the cost of doing business.” And yes, your lawsuit will be disruptive to your employer, but it'll be more stressful for you, if you're not used to the Louisiana court system or dealing with lawyers. The distraction and stress of a lawsuit may also make it more difficult for you to do well in your new job.
3. You may find out that your co-workers aren't on your side. You feel very strongly that your employer treated you wrong. You found a lawyer willing to take your case, and you've sued. Now, as your legal team starts taking your co-workers' depositions, you learn that the people you thought were your BFFs aren't. They may say, "I liked Maudie (or Joe), but I felt she was out of line, and in my opinion she was treated fairly." Or they spill all the tea you told them in confidence when you were having a bad day.
Most plaintiffs' lawyers will tell you that former co-workers are afraid of retaliation by the company if they don't side with the employer. However, there are some other reasons why your co-workers don't have your back:
Most people consider a lawsuit an “act of war." Your co-workers probably were on your side when you worked together and griped about your boss over margaritas. Now, because you decided to sue, they have to go through depositions and meet with lawyers and even appear in court. They're not thrilled with you right now, especially if things they said are now right in front of the boss (and a lawyer).
Some employees really, sincerely do believe the company was in the right. Is the boss perfect? Of course not. But if he's an overall decent guy who tries to be fair and treat employees right, your co-workers might not side with you.
4. You may be opening your own life up to scrutiny. This is another "painful" part. To get more money, and since you were very upset when you were fired, your lawyer includes a claim for emotional distress in your lawsuit. Now, your company has asked for your medical and psychiatric records dating back 10 years. Unfortunately, your employer has the right to this information, along with your past employment history, your criminal background and so on. Many people don't want this private information becoming public, but it will since you've filed a lawsuit.
Do I need to worry about getting fired or blacklisted if I file a lawsuit against my employer?
In our experience, if you file a lawsuit, it's not likely that your employer (1) will terminate you for filing a lawsuit (if you did it while still employed there) or (2) will blacklist you so you can't get another position within your industry. It's usually illegal for an employer to retaliate against you for filing a lawsuit against them in good faith.
We're not saying that you should never file a lawsuit against an employer, but it should be a last resort. It's a better idea to try resolving your dispute through your company's grievance procedure or open-door policy, or by going to human resources. If you've been terminated, you may be better off negotiating a fair separation package.
If all of those fail, and if you've taken a good, critical look at your own performance and behavior, and still feel strongly that you were mistreated, then by all means we're ready to review your situation and file suit on your behalf, if necessary. However, keep in mind these hidden costs of litigation that you'll face, no matter how strong your case may be.
BEST LAWYER EVER
“Thank you for all your heartfelt words to get me through [this employment case]. All your hard work and dedication studying my case and helping me achieve this victory, not only for me but for all women. Best lawyer ever.”
– Nigil Dowdell
EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT ADVICE
“I'm a physician executive for a large national healthcare company. I had Amanda review my employment agreement in connection with a significant promotion. Amanda gave me a summary of the legal issues to consider in making my decision and provided me a set of responses to negotiate with my employer. She took the time to explain the pros and the cons of the different approaches. I was thrilled with her service and highly recommend her to do a contract review.”
– David Grace
SCHEDULE YOUR CONSULTATION WITH BUSINESS LAW GROUP TODAY
If you're an employer or an employee who's involved in a dispute with an employee or an employer, we know how stressful these situations are—and how quickly they can become contentious. Our goal is to help you resolve your employment matter amicably and as quickly as possible. Litigation is a last resort. Schedule your consultation with us today so we can give you a roadmap for your best course of action forward.