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What Do Labor Lawyers Do?

As a division of employment law, labor lawyers represent both employers and employees in disputes and negotiations. However, labor laws focus specifically on industries with labor unions (teachers, policemen, bus drivers, etc.) and their specialized rules and regulations. Labor lawyers will represent members of labor unions in cases against employers and in strike negotiations, as well as employers in cases against employees.

How Do I Know If I Need a Labor Lawyer?

As an employer, you may want to consult with a labor lawyer if:
  • You're threatened with a lawsuit, usually on the basis of mistreatment, unlawful overtime, discrimination, hazardous work conditions, or wrongful termination
  • You want to fire an unsatisfactory union worker
  • There there is talk of a strike
As an employee, you may want to meet with a labor lawyer if:
  • You wish to file a lawsuit against your employer for any sort of mistreatment
  • You've been terminated without due cause
  • You'd like to negotiate terms during a strike.

How Much Does a Labor Lawyer Cost?

Often labor lawyers charge by the hour, but for some cases, such as lawsuits that look like they can win a lot of money, a lawyer will charge a contingency. On a contingency basis, you don't pay anything up front, and your lawyer will take a percentage only if you win your case. The rate you pay will depend on several factors, including which union you belong to, how complex your case is, and where in the country you live. Be sure to establish a rate up front with your lawyer.

What Should I Expect When Working with a Labor Lawyer?

If your legal matter ends up in court and you're the one suing, either you'll be compensated by the other side, you'll come to agree on a set of terms, or you'll lose the case and end up back where you started. If you're the one being sued, the options are about the same, but you'd be the one paying rather than having the opportunity to win money. There are other options besides going to court, and a labor lawyer will be able to advise you on your best course of action.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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