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Anna and her boss, David, got into a big argument. Anna got paid less than her co-worker John for the same job position, causing them to argue. Their gender causes their only difference. The clients utilize an employment lawyer to attempt to resolve this issue. Employment law, a branch of law, focuses on all the rights and obligations that define a business owner’s relationship with his or her employees. This includes, but not limited to; wages, discrimination, medical leave, overtime pay, and other related employment law matters, making it a crucial career in society. For these reasons, employment law stands as a quality career choice based on its substantial history, career paths, and impact on society.
Throughout history, working conditions were horrendous, especially during the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s. As factories expanded, businesses needed an increase in workers. With so many people desperate to work, employers set their wages as low as they wanted. Numerous people worked 14-16 hours a day for six days a week. Most only got paid eight to ten dollars a week putting them, on average, at 10 cents an hour. Women received one-third to one-half that of men’s wages and children received even less. The U.S Department of Labor mentioned that these conditions remained terrible until the federal child labor provision laws were finally ratified to get rid of these unethical circumstances. With more laws came more employment lawyers, needed to keep the workplace ethical and legal.
Over time many different laws were passed to ensure the safety and welfare in the workplace. According to Cornell Law School, some laws passed include the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Nineteenth Century Civil Rights Acts, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and Rehabilitation Act (“Employment Discrimination”). These documents have one major similarity: they limit the control of the federal and state governments to discriminate. Employment lawyers base their decisions and ethics on these documents that shape the workplace.
In order to become a successful employment lawyer, students must follow the law school pathway. High schools offer many rigorous and challenging classes that may prepare students for the difficult law school track. According to College Board’s article “Career: Private Practice Layers,” some of the most popular classes in high school to take in preparation for law school regards the fields of psychology, history, and English. By developing critical reading, writing, and speaking skills in high school, students become ready to cope with the upcoming challenges of law school. Joining the debate team also provides skills beneficial to law school as it helps to get a feel for the courtroom and uses evidence to argue one’s side. Another great opportunity students can take in high school to get to know more about employment lawyers and what they do, comes from volunteering or interning with a law firm. Finally, students should always try their best in all of their classes. Colleges encourage getting good grades and earning a well-rounded academic background as it proves that students are ready for the challenges of law school.
To attend law school, students must major in a specific subject first. Once successfully completing college and earning a bachelor’s degree, students can then enter law school. No specific courses need to be taken before attending law school, however, students must complete a bachelor’s degree. The most popular pre-law majors are philosophy/classics, economics, political science, history, English, and engineering. After successfully earning an undergraduate degree and passing the law school admission test, law school comes next. Law school normally takes three years of full-time study. In their first year, students take many required courses including civil procedure, contracts, property laws, and torts. In their second and third years, students choose more elective-based courses that specialize in employment discrimination, worker compensation, collective bargaining, as well as labor dispute resolution. Finally, students need to take the bar test and upon successfully passing this exam, can officially practice employment law.
Employment law regards a broad branch of law that covers all aspects of employment, referring to everything from contracts to laws that protect against discrimination and unfair dismissal. Many parts of employment law include age discrimination, bullying and harassment, disability, discrimination based on race, religion, sexuality or gender, dismissal and employee grievances, employment contracts, equal pay, minimum wage, parental leave, redundancy, and working hours. Employment lawyers can choose to work for the government or private law firms. Some of the best law firms to work for are Barnes & Thornburg, Buchanan Ingersoll, and Smith & Prophete. Lawyer.Edu.Org estimates that employment lawyers tend to make an average salary of $144,000 but range from $65,000 to $175,000 based on his/her experience as well as the size and location of the firm. Recent graduates, having little experience, tend to receive the lowest salary.
Similar to how the Constitution sets forth the standards of day-to-day life, employment lawyers have a set of laws to help in shaping the legality of the workplace. Harvard Law School states that the three statues are the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the Railway Labor Act, and the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA). The NLRA controls the power by which employers may react to union organizers, participate in collective bargaining, and take part in protests and other forms of collaborative activity in support of their demands. The second major federal statute that concerns the rights of union workers is the Railway Labor Act. This act gives employees of the railway and airline industries a way they can cooperate and participate in collective bargaining while at the same time protecting commerce from damaging work stoppages and delays, both domestically and internationally. The third major aspect of federal legislation regards the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959. This act, popularly known as the Landrum-Griffin Act, addresses union officer elections and financial controls, discovered to enforce basic standards of democracy and revenue responsibility in private sector labor organizations.
Employment lawyers need excellent writing, research and communication skills. They tend to live in an extroverted (interpersonal) lifestyle making self-management skills crucial to assist clients. Employment lawyers tend to possess responsibility and punctilious skills. These skills along with being analytical, creative, and flexible allow employment lawyers to reach their highest potential. Communication plays a big part in this career path. All lawyers, especially employment lawyers, must have strong oral and written communication skills in order to accurately rehearse critical legal information. This skill plays out often in the courtroom, where lawyers must create a strong and convincing argument. To succeed, problem-solving skills also play a huge factor in a lawyer’s defending skills. Judges and juries all bring their own opinions, beliefs, and backgrounds so a lawyer’s argument must have the ability to reach out to all of them and convince accordingly. Finally, employment lawyers must obtain good listening skills. When it comes to detail, lawyers need to have an excellent understanding of everything and anything. They must listen closely to the details presented by their clients and use their problem-solving skills to effectively analyze what their clients need and make decisions from there (Edwards et al).
According to Jason Weintraub, employment lawyer of Taco Bell, the average day in the life of an employment lawyer comes with many challenges. Weintraub’s workday consists of meetings that include Taco Bell’s business partners, clients, and team. In these meetings, Weintraub writes, reads, and negotiates contracts. During this time, he brainstorms new ways to grow the business and who they can partner or collaborate with to increase the growth. Weintraub decides how Taco Bell selects and pays its business partners, to make sure the company profits the most they possibly can. Weintraub’s mainly focuses on influencing companies to engage in a partnership to help Taco Bell’s business expand. Weintraub advices future lawyers to join the debate team in high school, live in the dorms in college, and take a job raising money for the university as a way to learn how to interact and persuade people.
In conclusion, employment lawyers have a huge impact on many people’s lives. Employment lawyers are crucial in resolving serious conflicts between an employer and an employee. It takes many important skills that are attributed to law schools. Employment lawyers deal with a large variety of issues including discrimination and wages. Without employment lawyers, the world would not run as smoothly as it does today. They make sure companies are being ethical and following the law; keeping society functioning properly.
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