Ethical Incentives for Employers in Adopting Legal Service Plans to Handle Employment Disputes
Michael Z. Green
Texas A&M University School of Law
Brandeis Law Journal, Vol. 44, p. 395, 2006
Given the difficulties for employees in finding a lawyer to handle an employment dispute and with the growth of ADR, this article asserts that employers should adopt legal service plans as an employee benefit. It might seem counterintuitive for employers to provide their employees with a legal service benefit that may be used against them in employment disputes. However, comprehensive dispute resolution systems employ fair mechanisms that allow employees to resolve their disputes as soon as possible. Having sound legal counsel can become a major component of an employer's dispute resolution system because it offers a distinct human resource advantage for employees to have legal help in resolving disputes.
The greatest benefit for employers, their lawyers and the dispute resolution professionals involved in employment disputes consists of the ethical minefields that they circumvent when an employee has legal counsel. The ethical concerns involved with the unrepresented employee, whether in courts or alternatives to the courts, presents such weighty issues that many dispute resolution professionals avoid disputes where individual employees have no legal counsel. Likewise, lawyers for employers can find themselves in ethical hot water when dealing with an opponent who has no legal counsel.
Accordingly, this article asserts that employers have major ethical and human resource incentives to provide their employees with legal services. It describes in detail one key legal services plan that has become highly publicized over the last decade. The article predicts that more of these legal service plans will become available to employees as employers recognize the significant incentives that warrant adopting them.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 16
Keywords: ethics, human resources, lawyers, dispute resolution, employment, discrimination
JEL Classification: J52, J71, K31, K41, K42, M54
Date posted: February 8, 2006