What Does an Employment Attorney Do?

When there is a dispute over the treatment of employees or the validity of a pension plan, employment attorneys discern what's legally appropriate. Learn about education, salary and job outlook below. Schools offering Juris Doctor degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Description

Employment attorneys advise both employees and employers on the legal standards set by local, state or federal government. They help ensure that all employees are treated in a fair and consistent manner. Employment attorneys might write and review employee handbooks, assist with wage law issues and claims, represent employers before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and provide advice on National Labor Relations Board issues. They also work to protect employees' rights by helping employees who have been discriminated against, such as in sexual harassment cases or unfair labor laws.

Important Facts About Employment Attorneys

Common Courses Recommended undergraduate majors include government, economics and English. Three years of graduate school focus on such topics as contracts, legal writing and professional responsibility.
Key Skills Verbal communication, research and problem-solving skills; ability to interpret laws and regulations
Work Environment Most attorneys work full time in private, corporate or government offices. Hours can be long.
Similar Occupations Judges, hearing officers, arbitrators and mediators

Required Education

Employment attorneys are no different than regular attorneys. They hold bachelor's degrees as well as law degrees. Employment attorneys will have more background coursework in their specialization of employment law and are responsible for keeping abreast of new employment laws and regulations.


After completing a law degree, a Juris Doctor (J.D.), employment attorneys, like all attorneys, must pass a state bar examination for the state where they intend to practice.

Occupational Statistics

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that lawyers across all specialties could expect a 10% increase in employment opportunities from 2012-2022, which is close to the national average for all occupations. In 2014, all lawyers earned a median salary of $114,970. (www.bls.gov).

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