Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Will my employer know that I am seeking advice from an attorney at The Blackburn Law Firm?
A. All communications between a client and his/her lawyer are confidential. Our law firm often provides discrete coaching and guidance to employees facing any number of workplace issues.
Q. Do I need to have proof that my employer is treating me unfairly before I contact The Blackburn Law Firm?
A. No. In fact, it is best to contact us as soon as you have any sense that you may be suffering from workplace discrimination, retaliation, and/or harassment. Waiting until you have what you believe to be proof may cause you to miss important deadlines and weaken your case.
Q. I am being severely mistreated on my job, and I am considering resigning. Should I talk to The Blackburn Law Firm first?
A. Yes. It is best to seek counsel from an experienced labor and employment attorney before resigning. In many circumstances, leaving your job prematurely can weaken the strength of your case and reduce the amount of any monetary damages you may have been entitled to receive. The Blackburn Law Firm routinely advises and counsels many employees who are enduring hostile working environments. In many instances, our firm is able to help these employees successfully resolve their workplace challenges.
Q. I am a high-level executive who works for a Fortune 500 company. I have been given a severance and release agreement from my employer. I was advised to contact an attorney before I sign it. Would your firm be able to review it and make sure that it is a fair agreement?
A. Yes. Severance agreements are extremely important contracts that may affect you long after your current employment has ended. The Blackburn Law Firm has advised and counseled many employees regarding proposed severance agreements. In some instances, we have successfully negotiated for an increase in severance pay on behalf of our clients.
Q. I am a retired school teacher. I would like to become a consultant for schools and school systems. Should I have a different contract for serving individual schools as opposed to the whole school system?
A. It depends. Our firm is familiar with all types of employment agreements including contracts where the person providing the services is an independent contractor or consultant. In this case, we would need to analyze the particular facts and circumstances surrounding your proposed consultancy in order to recommend and draft the appropriate agreement(s). This would also involve a determination of whether you would need separate contracts with the school system and/or any individual schools that you plan to service.
Q. I own a small company with less than 500 employees. We need the services of an in-house attorney but cannot afford to hire one. Can we hire your firm to handle legal issues as they arise i.e. contract review, handbook review, training sessions, etc. Are your rates competitive?
A. Yes. Compared with hiring a full time general counsel, The Blackburn Law Firm's rates for providing general counsel services are very cost-effective. In fact, small companies have hired our firm, on a flat fee basis, to handle their routine workplace legal issues.
Q. I am a food server at an upscale restaurant. My supervisor makes inappropriate comments about my physical appearance. His remarks are crass and make me very uncomfortable. Am I prevented from bringing a sexual harassment claim because he has not physically touched me inappropriately?
A. No. A number of factors would determine whether you have a viable claim of harassment against your employer. After evaluating the facts and circumstances surrounding your potential claim, our firm would then be in a better position to determine whether we should move forward with bringing any action against your employer.
Q. I am a salaried worker at a mid-sized company. My salary is based on a 40 hour week. One of my co-workers mentioned to me that I may be eligible to receive overtime pay because I often work more than 40 hours a week. Do I have a legitimate claim?
A. It depends. Determining whether an employee is legally entitled to receive overtime can be a complex undertaking involving the evaluation of a number of factors. Our firm is experienced in handling these types of matters and can be an invaluable asset in helping you understand whether you are receiving all of the compensation to which you are legally entitled.
Q. I am a journalist, and I have worked in my present position for 10 years. A month ago, I informed Human Resources about what I believed to be mistreatment from my new supervisor. Recently, I received a demotion that I believe was unfair. Could this be a case of retaliation?
A. Maybe. Your question may describe a potential workplace retaliation claim. The Blackburn Law Firm is experienced in helping employees understand whether they have a viable workplace retaliation claim as well as other options for addressing this type of workplace issue.
Q. I work in the medical field. My employer fired me when I returned to work after taking a few weeks of leave to care for a family member recovering from an illness. I believe I was well within my rights to take the time off to care for my loved one. If I am opposed to the way I have been treated, and I want to fight back, can The Blackburn Law Firm help me?
A. Yes. The Blackburn Law Firm is experienced in handling and evaluating issues related to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. Our firm will analyze the facts, circumstances, and law surrounding your particular issue and provide you with a clear understanding of the strength of your claim and our recommendations. From that point, we work with you to develop and implement a legal strategy tailored to achieve your desired outcome.
Q. I am a middle manager, and I work for a large company. Today, my boss called me in and told me that I will be laid off at the end of the week as part of a company-wide reduction in force. This company has always treated me fairly in the past and I am not aware of anything that suggests that my upcoming layoff is discriminatory. However, my husband has encouraged me to seek advice from your firm. Will you be able to help us?
A. Yes. Sometimes a company's downsizing program may discriminate against certain workers unintentionally. This type of unintentional discrimination still violates the law and your rights. An experienced labor and employment attorney can make sure that you know your rights and are protected from a discriminatory reduction in force at your company. Moreover, depending on your company's size you may be entitled to more than one week's notice of an impending layoff.