Employment and Labor Relations

What can an employment attorney do for me?
They can advise you on your best options; they can advise you if you must go through an internal process at work before bringing a claim, or whether you should pursue your claims through an administrative agency or through a court; they can advise you which agency/ies or court(s) can hear your type of claim; they can advise you if mediation or arbitration are appropriate ways of trying to resolve your dispute; they can help you negotiate a severance agreement; and they can advise you about non-law options, such as working with your Human Resources Department, or working with a recruiter or outplacement agency to help you locate other employment.
My employer discriminated against me in a promotion decision. How do I know if I have a case?
You may have suffered from workplace discrimination if you are considered to be a member of a "protected class"; if you are qualified for the job; if you were terminated, demoted, or held back because you are a member of the protected class; and if you were replaced by someone not in that protected class. However, the employer is entitled to present reasons why it made the decision that it did and it is then up to you and your lawyer to prove that this reason is unlawful.
If I am having a problem at work, can I call an attorney and see if I have a case?
Some attorneys may be willing to discuss a matter by phone. However, given how fact-specific most personnel matters are, it may be more beneficial to make an appointment to meet face to face. You should determine when calling to make the appointment whether this consultation is free or whether there will be a charge. Face-to-face meetings will allow you to determine if this attorney is a good fit for you, whether he or she has experience with situations like yours, and whether additional information is needed before the next step is taken. The risk of having a short phone conversation and perhaps misunderstanding what the attorney said on the phone could cost you a promotion or your job. If you have lost your job and say or do the wrong thing, it could affect your ability to obtain benefits or could keep you from being seriously considered for another job. Problems in the workplace are serious, and should be dealt with promptly rather than to waiting to be passed over for a promotion or fired. Labor law is complicated, and you shouldn’t assume that you know what the law does or does not allow.
Can I sue my former employer who says or writes something untrue about me?
In order to bring an action for defamation in Michigan you must prove absolute damages; see MCL 600.2911. To prove defamation, you’ll have to be able to prove that what was said or written about you was false and that they seriously harmed your reputation. You will not have a case if the statement is true or if you consented to publication of the statement. You may have a case if the statement(s) are so false and shameful that they caused damage to your reputation in a lasting way. Public figures like politicians and celebrities may have a more difficult time of proving libel or slander because of their public position. Statements of opinion without specific false facts or verbal insults are generally not considered libel or slander. A labor and employment attorney who handles workplace libel and slander can assess your claim to see if you have a valid case.