According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for lawyers is $126,930 per year. However, an attorney’s annual salary varies considerably based on many factors. For example, an attorney could earn $35,000 to $40,000 when first beginning their practice. However, many lawyers earn six-digit salaries, with some attorneys earning multi-million-dollar salaries.
An employment lawyer is no exception. Some employment lawyers earn income at the lower end of the pay scale for attorneys. Other employment lawyers may earn much higher salaries. According to Glassdoor, the average base pay for an employment lawyer is $112,444, as of October 2021.
However, according to Salary.com, an employment law attorney (level I) earns between $60,938 and $109,008 per year. The median income for an employment lawyer was $91,250 as of December 2021. An employment law attorney (level IV) earns an average of $181,900, with some lawyers earning more than $230,000.
ZipRecruiter places the average annual salary of an employment attorney at $114,005. The salary range is between $79,000 and $244,000 as of January 1st, 2022.
Factors That Impact Salaries for Employment Lawyers
Many factors impact how much an attorney earns each year.
Some factors that affect wages for employment lawyers include, but are not limited to:
- Where the attorney attended law school, grades earned, and overall education
- The location of the law practice
- Whether the lawyer has any special skills, certifications, awards, or acknowledgments
- If the attorney has published papers, research, or articles
- The attorney’s experience, including trial experience
- The track record for winning cases inside and outside of the courtroom
- The size of the law firm
- The number of attorneys who practice employment law within the same jurisdiction
- The lawyer’s reputation, client reviews, and peer reviews
An attorney’s overall age and health can impact how much they earn. Some attorneys work more hours or handle more prominent cases by choice. Other attorneys are more focused on balancing work and life, so they may be willing to accept a lower salary for fewer hours and less stress.
What is Employment Law?
Employment law refers to a large area of law that covers the employer-employee relationship. It includes numerous federal, state, and local statutes and regulations.
Areas of practice include, but are not limited to:
- Wage and Hour Disputes
- Bonuses & Commissions
- Wrongful Termination
- Vacation & PTO (paid time off)
- Employment Discrimination
- Sexual Harassment
- Leave & Accommodations
- Meal & Rest Breaks
- Compliance Issues
- Employer Retaliation
- Whistleblower Cases
- Benefits, Retirement, and Health Plans
- Employment Agreements
Employment lawyers may focus their practice on representing workers or employers. Almost any dispute between an employer and an employee is covered by one or more employment laws.
When Do I Need to Hire an Employment Lawyer?
California is one of the top employee-friendly states in the country. As a result, California employees enjoy a wide range of protections. State and federal employment laws protect them.
However, that does not stop employers from breaking the law. Employees who believe their rights have been violated should seek legal advice as soon as possible. There could be one or more options for seeking compensation for damages caused by employer wrongdoing.
Some specific instances when an employee should seek legal advice include:
- Signing an employment contract or employment agreements
- Cases involving discrimination or employer retaliation, including cases involving gender, age, sex, disability, pregnancy, religion, and other protected classes
- Wrongful termination or constructive discharge (creating intolerable work conditions or a hostile work environment)
- Disputes related to wages, overtime compensation, benefits, hours, or breaks
- Harassment or sexual harassment
- Whistleblower cases
- Injuries or accidents that occur on the job
- Failing to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnancy or a disability
- Leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act or other state and local laws
An employment law attorney analyzes your situation to determine if your employer violated your rights or broke the law. The attorney explains your rights and options for seeking compensation for damages.
Employment law can be confusing. You may be required to file a complaint with a state or federal agency before you may proceed with a lawsuit in civil court. If you miss deadlines or file incomplete documents, you could lose your right to pursue a claim against your employer.
Employers count on an employee not understanding their rights or the process for filing complaints and claims. When employees are not informed of their rights, the employer often wins.
Do not let your employer win. Instead, make sure you take steps to understand your employment rights. Holding employers accountable for wrongful acts is the best way to prevent them from repeating the conduct in the future.