General Employment Law
You may be facing a problem at work and do not know even where to start to find a resolution. Employment law encompasses many different subject matters and covers a broad range of legal issues. You may not know anything about what law applies, but you know that you need help.
In our 30+ years of handling workplace issues, Gardner Employment Law has addressed probably every issue that could arise at work. If you are not sure how to categorize your legal problem, we can help you.
Different Categories of “Law”
There are 3 sources for a law or rule that governs how employers and employees legally can behave at work: (1) statute, federal and state; (2) contract; and (3) common law. The third type, common law, is a huge body of law that has developed over the centuries through written opinions issued by judges. We are required to follow the judges’ opinions if we come under their jurisdiction or power.
Different Levels of Authority
Some opinions carry more weight than others. In the federal context, the United States Supreme Court opinions are the most authoritative. The next level of authority are the opinions written by the Courts of Appeals. Here in Texas we are located within the Fifth Circuit. Therefore, we must follow opinions issued by the judges of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals before we follow, say, the Second Circuit up in New York, even though their opinions might be on the same subject. At the lowest level are opinions written by District Court or the trial judges.
Our judicial system can be compared to several countries all with different laws and all residing together peacefully. The federal judiciary presides over federal laws, of course. Then there are 50 states, each with different laws, many times on the same subject. Sometimes these sovereigns, the federal and the various states, address the same subject but with different requirements and outcomes.
Since we reside in Texas, our State’s laws govern our behavior, along with any federal laws that may apply.
Making Sense of All These Laws
Judges all over the country write about what new statutes mean. They write about how a contract may or may not be enforced. They write about employment at will, or negligence, or slander – which are not based on any statutes.
Lawyers read these court opinions every day to learn what new twist a judge has given to a particular subject matter. This is challenging, yes. But it is what good lawyers do to give you accurate legal advice.
At Gardner Employment Law, we pride ourselves on knowing the law and staying current on changes in the law. If you are not sure what type of legal problem you’re facing at work, give us a call. We can help.