Employment law and disputes

October 14, 2016

There are many situations that can give rise to a dispute among employers and employees. When it is necessary to consider legal rights and duties of individuals and organizations, we must look to state and federal law that may apply to each unique situation. In addition, employment agreements and policy manuals may include the terms and provisions of the relationship among employers and employees. When considering taking legal action to enforce legal rights, everyone involved might balance the allegations of harm and the resources necessary to remedy the situation. In many cases the parties to employment disputes are able to settle disputes and are able to move on and preserve reputations and credibility in the process. It may also be necessary to file and litigate a lawsuit.

Sources of applicable employment law

There are both state and federal sources of law establishing the legal rights and duties of employers and employees. The Fair Labor Standards Act, for example, is a collection of federal law that provides protection for employees and their right to meal breaks and overtime hourly pay. In certain cases, a collection of aggrieved employees joins a class action lawsuit against a company, with allegations of violations of the law. Federal discrimination laws may also be the source of rights to a legal action. State laws are a source of law regarding minimum wages and other provisions that can meet and exceed protections guaranteed under federal law.

Contracts can include very detailed rights and duties among employers and employees. An enforceable employment agreement observing current state and federal laws may also provide answers to issues that could arise out of an employment situation. Where a company uses and employee handbook with rules and guidelines for that company and its positions, that company may require an employee to sign an agreement to follow the employee handbook and policies. Even without a signed agreement, an agreement to follow company policy can be implied and enforced.

Employment agreements and enforcement

One of the first questions a lawyer will ask you is whether as the employer or employee, there is an employment agreement covering the employment relationship at issue. The purpose of an employment agreement is to identify the rights, duties and expectations among employers and employees. A well written and enforced employment agreement leads to the outcome of a dispute so the courts do not have to. Notwithstanding, the court acts as the enforcer of the employment agreement when a lawsuit is filed. In many cases, the agreement contains a provision that the parties attempt to settle using alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or binding arbitration.

The subjects covered in employment agreements may include terms of payment, benefits, work hours, work locations, communication directions, privacy and security measures, employee misconduct, employee review and promotions. In addition to daily management of the company and its employees, employment agreements often focus on what happens if an individual leaves the company under a variety of circumstances. When an executive retires, there may be a specific compensation package of salary and benefits as they retire. Where a key employee leaves to work for a competitor, there may be a non-competition agreement term that limits an employee from working for a competitor within a reasonable limitation of time and distance.

Well-written employment agreements may contain liquidated damage clauses limiting the recovery of an employee if they are wronged by the employer. Note however, a contract may be superseded by state or federal law that cannot be avoided by a private agreement. These agreements may also address an employer’s liability for the acts of their employees, when the employee may cause harm to another while engaged in their normal business operation.

The Michael Kim Law Firm, PLLC works with employers and employees in need of legal advice and representation.

Attorneys at The Michael Kim Law Firm, PLLC are experienced in knowing what may occur within the scope of an employer and employee relationship. Drafting a proper employment agreement requires forethought of all that could reasonably go right and wrong. Whether you are an employer seeking to prepare new employment agreements, or you may be an employee subject to an employer agreement, our attorneys can advise and represent you and your legal rights.

About us: The Michael Kim Law Firm, PLLC, in Dallas, Texas, is a full service business transaction and litigation law firm of experienced attorneys serving the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

The Michael Kim Law Firm, PLLC, represents individual clients and organizations with business and commercial law needs. The firm also represents both plaintiffs and defendants in general civil litigation, injury, property, employment and consumer matters.

To speak to an attorney please dial (214) 357-7533. Additional information about our attorneys and practice areas is available on our website.

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