Employers, When Should You Call a Maryland Employment Attorney?
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Unfortunately, many employers think they only need to hire a lawyer once they have been sued. While you should contact a lawyer if a current or former employee has sued you, a Maryland employment attorney can provide many other value-added services that can help you avoid lawsuits in the future or minimize your exposure if you find yourself in an adversarial situation.
Employment Policies and Employee Handbooks
If you need to create new employee policies or update your employee handbooks, a Maryland employment attorney can draft these documents for you to ensure that they comply with federal and Maryland state law. They can also provide you with valuable guidance concerning best practices in your industry to help you formulate the right policies for your business.
You may think that your current policies or handbook is perfectly adequate. However, employment law is continuously changing. A Maryland employment attorney can quickly review your existing policies and handbook to ensure that they are up to date and provide the protection you need.
A Maryland Employment Attorney Can Review Your Employment Contracts
A Maryland employment attorney can also review your employment contracts as well as the following:
- Severance agreements
- Confidentiality agreements
- Professional services agreements
- Non-compete agreements
Many employers use form agreements that may or may not comply with current federal and Maryland law. Your lawyer can review the forms you currently use to make sure they comply with the law and identify potential problem areas.
Perhaps more importantly, a Maryland employment attorney can also negotiate these agreements with prospective employees, especially if you are filling an executive or management level position.
Contacting a Maryland Employment Attorney for Help with Employment Decisions
A Maryland employment attorney can also help you make important decisions concerning the hiring and termination of employees. These are important decisions that can have significant ramifications both now and in the future. Your lawyer can help you navigate the potential issues and minimize your liability exposure.
When it comes to hiring decisions, a Maryland employment attorney can help you negotiate the employment contract as mentioned above. However, they can also provide guidance concerning the following:
- What questions you can and cannot ask during the interview
- Whether you should conduct background checks and how you should act on that information
- Whether you should require references
- How to handle communications with applicants regarding the hiring process
Many employers ignore the warning signs when it comes to making hiring decisions. With a simple phone call, an experienced Maryland employment attorney can act as a sounding board and help you make the right decision.
Termination of an employee can be an even thornier issue. Unfortunately, many employers contact a lawyer only after the employee has been terminated and is threatening to file a claim or has already done so. Speaking with a Maryland employment attorney before terminating someone can save you time and money down the road.
A Maryland Employment Attorney Can Represent You in Administrative Proceedings
Not every employment dispute results in a lawsuit – disgruntled employees can also file an administrative claim with a government agency such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Many employers think that they don’t need a lawyer in these situations, only to discover that the administrative process can have serious consequences. While the administrative decision may be appealable to a court, it’s important to present your best case at the administrative level. A Maryland employment attorney can help you respond to administrative complaints so that you can resolve the issue as quickly as possible and with a positive outcome.
There are a variety of other issues where a Maryland employment attorney can provide valuable advice:
- Employee classifications
- Questions concerning extended leave
- Issues surrounding layoffs
- Disciplinary issues
- Discontinuation of benefits
Changes that could affect numerous employees can present complex issues. Before making a decision that could cost you thousands of dollars and damage employee morale, you should discuss your plans with an experienced Maryland employment attorney to make sure you avoid any unintended consequences.
Call Maryland Employment Attorney J.W. Stafford
An employment lawyer can offer much more than legal representation once you have been sued. At the Law Firm of J.W. Stafford, we build long-term relationships with our clients so that we can provide guidance concerning your day-to-day employment questions. To schedule a consultation with experienced Maryland employment attorney Jay Stafford, contact us today at 410-514-6099.