Lawyers belong to the broad category of legal professionals and they have the possibility of specializing in one or more areas of law, in particular in labor law. The labor lawyer focuses on issues related to the world of work, and in particular on disputes arising from the employment relationship between the employer and the employee.
When to call a labor lawyer?
The labor lawyer has a defense role before the Labor Court, but he also intervenes to give legal advice outside of any procedure. Very often, the lawyer will be able to inform his client about the chances of success of his case and tell him whether or not it is appropriate to undertake legal proceedings. The labor lawyer can intervene and be useful whenever the relationship between the employer and the employee is concerned.
The lawyer often intervenes following a dismissal, but he can also assist a victim of harassment or discrimination and tell him what steps to take to put an end to the situation. For instance, some women experienced unfair treatment before or after giving birth, this is one of the signs of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, you can look for experts lawyer that specialized in this field to help you understand more about discrimination law protecting pregnant women. He can also advise the employer or the employee when there is a problem concerning the employment contract, and before that, draw up an employment contract. In the context of an amicable breach of contract , the employee may request to be assisted by a lawyer . Finally, the help of a lawyer is sometimes useful for the employer to know the obligations to be respected in the daily life of the company.
The use of a labor lawyer in the context of proceedings before the Labor Court
It is not mandatory to call on a labor lawyer in the first instance at the Conseil de Prud’hommes
Please note: the assistance of a lawyer is compulsory before the Court of Appeal , when the parties appeal against the decision of the Conseil de Prud’hommes.
The labor lawyer is not the only one who can assist or represent the parties
The Law of August 6, 2015 for economic growth, activity and equality and the Decree of May 20, 2016 relating to labor justice and the judicial handling of labor disputes , modified the list of persons entitled to assist or represent the parties during industrial tribunal proceedings. According to article R. 1453-2 of the Labor Code , lawyers as well as union defenders, the spouse or someone from the company are now authorized to assist or represent the parties . While lawyers had a quasi-monopoly in this area, union defenders now have a major role, articles L. 1453-4 and following of the Labor Codespecifying the contours of this new trade union defence.
What are the duties and obligations of a labor lawyer?
The lawyer in labor law or in any other field, has the role of advising and informing his client , but also of defending him and of accomplishing or drafting certain acts on behalf of this client.
The profession of lawyer is regulated at the level of training, but also of its practice. The law of December 31, 1971 reforming certain judicial and legal professions , defines the lawyer as an auxiliary of justice and gives him a monopoly in matters of representation, assistance and defense of the parties before a court . This means in theory that only a lawyer can plead and defend a person in court.
However, there is an exception, insofar as union defenders, who are not lawyers, have the possibility of representing an employee before the Labor Court.
Similarly, article 54 of the law of December 31, 1971 gives a monopoly to lawyers and other legal professionals (lawyers, bailiffs, notaries, etc.) for legal consultations and the drafting of certain deeds .
Rules of ethics
In addition, the lawyer, as soon as he takes the oath, must respect a certain number of rules of ethics, which correspond to the rules and duties imposed by the profession. The lawyer must respect them both in his professional life and in his private life. Among these rules are:
the obligation of independence : the lawyer must not allow his personal interest to influence his work. He must remain neutral and disregard pressure, blackmail, etc.
the obligation of loyalty : the labor lawyer must avoid any conflict of interest . This means that he must not defend several people with different interests in the same case (the employer and the employee at the same time, for example). The lawyer must also refuse a file if he risks having to violate the confidentiality of another client or to favor one client over another.
respect for confidentiality : the lawyer is prohibited from revealing the information communicated by his client, regardless of the type of information or the person concerned. Professional secrecy has no limit in time or space. The labor lawyer is therefore strictly bound to secrecy and may be sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of 15,000 euros if he violates professional secrecy ( article 226-13 of the Penal Code ).
the obligation of diligence, advice and information : the lawyer must be careful when advising and defending his client. He must therefore inform him of the progress of the case, the possibilities of appeal or even the chances of success.
Labor lawyer’s obligation of means
The lawyer only has an obligation of means towards his client. This means that he must do everything possible to help his client resolve his dispute, but he cannot in any way assure his client that the Labor Court will rule in his favor. In other words, the lawyer cannot be held liable if the client loses the case .
However, if it is proven that the lawyer caused harm to his client because he did not do his job properly, did not provide the relevant information for his client and committed fault, then his liability may be incurred and the customer may obtain compensation.