An employment law specialist applies and interprets employment laws in a variety of different situations. Often times, employment law specialists advise corporations about how to structure their hiring processes, employee requirements, and wage scales according to what the law requires. Other specialists counsel aggrieved employees, or advise employees of their legal rights. Most employment law specialists are lawyers, but a great number are human resource (HR) specialists, as well.
The primary job of an employment law specialist is to understand how employment laws and regulations affect certain market sectors. Many countries have labor laws that set certain requirements for workplace safety, for instance, and mandate certain minimum wages. There are also usually laws prohibiting certain kinds of discrimination in hiring or internal advancement. An employment law specialist helps companies and employees to understand their rights and obligations under the governing law.
Employment law specialists can have quite a range of different jobs. Some of the most common employment law specialists are human resources professionals. Almost every company has at least a small HR, department.
The role of HR professionals can vary, but most of the time, these professionals are responsible for helping create their corporation’s employee policies. This can include everything from benefits packages to acceptable break times. Since much of how a corporation interacts with its employees is governed by law, HR professionals who are experts in the local employment laws can be a significant asset.
Outside of corporate walls, an employment law specialist is more often than not an attorney. Employment law attorneys are attorneys who dedicate their practice to employment-related cases. Sometimes, employment law lawyers represent employees who think they have been fired improperly. Other times, they represent groups of employees who have been paid too little, or worked too hard. They can also work to defend corporations from these kinds of lawsuits, or work within governments to help craft, amend, and enforce the reigning law.
Most of the time, a lawyer does not need any special training to be an employment law specialist. There are some jurisdictions, however, where lawyers must be specially certified in order to advertise him or herself as an employment law specialist. Certification is controlled at the state, or regional, level. A jurisdiction that has decided to require employment law specialist certification typically has the freedom to set its requirements however it chooses. Most of the time, certification requires some form of exam, but can also be primarily education or service-based.