For most people, the majority of the time we spend in employment passes without problem – but what happens when you’re faced with an issue at work that doesn’t seem fair or of your doing?
Perhaps you’ve had an accident at work, or maybe you’ve been the subject of what you perceive to be unfair actions or even dismissal. Whatever the reason, if you’re unsure of your rights, it’s a good idea to seek legal advice.
Employment lawyers are highly skilled in dealing with workplace disputes and can offer advice on how best to reconcile issues without confrontation. Having an idea of when you should consider hiring a lawyer can help you decide if you might benefit from professional help. Here are just a few of the more common instances when legal aid might be your best option.
Unjust employer requests
When you started work, you will have signed a contract of employment clearly stating both your – and your employer’s – obligations, responsibilities and rights. However, if you find further down the line that your employer is making unfair requests that don’t fit with your original contractual duties, you might be able to make a challenge with legal aid. For example, an employer may try to insist you work extra hours (with or without overtime payments), which you don’t want to do. Unless this option was clearly stated in your employment contract, it’s likely you could challenge it. Indeed, anything you feel is outside your original agreed terms of work can be contested.
If you’ve been fired from your job and you feel your employer lacks sufficient grounds or evidence, you could challenge their decision with the help of a lawyer. Unfair dismissal cases require in-depth investigation and the gathering of substantial evidence to prove your case so you should seek the advice of an employment law practitioner first. A skilled lawyer will analyze your case and offer guidance on how best to proceed.
Accidents at work
Employers have a duty of care to their employees so if you feel you’ve suffered an accident or injury at work that was the result of negligence on the part of your boss or company, you should speak to a legal advisor. Very often, accidents at work happen as the result of improper training, faulty or aging machinery or a lack of safety provisions. Indeed, the majority of workplace incidents occur through no fault of the employee and many qualify for compensation.
An employer has the right to discipline their staff for a variety of reasons including fair and justifiable problems, misconduct or poor performance – however, they still, have a duty of fairness to their workers. If you feel your boss has overstepped the mark or has disciplined you unfairly, you may qualify for legal assistance to contest their decision. Again, you must seek legal guidance to understand your rights in the eyes of the law.
Employees and employers have obligations and responsibilities to each other, however, it’s not uncommon for these rules to be transgressed by one – or both – parties. The only way to be sure about your legal rights is to consult with a trained legal specialist who will be able to properly assess your circumstances and advise you if you have a case.