Should I Talk to an Attorney Before I Talk with My Employer?
We always recommend that an employee seek legal advice before talking about an issue with his or her employer. It’s important to know what rights you have and what rights you don’t have. Whether you have a legitimate claim, or a non-actionable gripe with your employment may be a fine line.
It’s helpful to be able to get legal advice and consultation from an attorney so you know where you are on the matter, what claims are going to protect you from potential retaliation, or what retaliation might be illegal if you complain about something, and what claims won’t protect you.
There may also be certain situations where an employee goes to complain to an employer but he or she is not complaining in the right way to provide the proper legal protections under the law. For instance, if you’re complaining about a certain issue that falls under the Whistleblower Protection Act, there are certain requirements that you have to fulfill in those complaints to make sure that you’re stating those protections under this act.
Additionally, there might be certain people you should speak to at your company regarding your complaints, in order to give you the legal protections you need. For instance, a supervisor and a manager may be sufficient to complain to in some circumstances, whereas in other situations, your complaint may need to go to the CEO or the City Manager, for instance, to provide you with those sorts of protections. So it’s always important to know what your rights are, what you can expect to get as a result of your complaints, and also what kind of behavior by an employer after you complain may be prohibited and what might not be.
Even if you’re not intending on moving forward with litigation or if you’re not intending on escalating the matter any further, it is still important to protect your right by getting that consultation with an employment attorney so you know the confines of what might be protected and what isn’t under the law.
With all of that being said, it’s important to note that under Florida law, you don’t always have a right to have an attorney with you during the time you’re speaking with an employer. However, it’s still important to get a consultation to know what your rights are and to know if you have the right to have an attorney or a witness present. If, for instance, you refuse to speak with your employer until you have the opportunity to have an attorney present when you don’t in fact have that right, that in and of itself could potentially be grounds for insubordination, even separate from whatever you’re complaining about. If you make this demand to your employer when you don’t have the right, you could be considered insubordinate and it could potentially lead to termination even in the face of a valid complaint.
Therefore, you want to make sure that you’re complaining the right way and that you know your rights about:
- When you can complain
- To whom you can complain
- Or who can be present during the time that you’re speaking with your employer
This is why we always recommend that you seek legal advice before approaching your employer with a dispute. To speak with one of our employment attorneys, fill out the form below or call us today.