Brent M. Giddens
Carlton DiSante & Freudenberger LLP

When does a company need to hire a lawyer for employee related issues?

I'm often asked when a company really needs to hire an employment lawyer to go over all their materials and documentation and at least here in California and in any state in which your doing business you should check to see when the anti-discrimination rules apply to your business. Here in California as soon as you've hired your fifth employee, that is after five employees there are a whole variety of laws that kick in here in California that require various types of written documents and such as anti harassment policies and a like that really do need to be reviewed by counsel. However before that point there are many talented and excellent human resource consultants that frankly are far less expensive than lawyers and can provide really excellent and valuable service to you. And so my general rule of thumb would be at least here in California once you've crossed the number of five employees it's time to think about having your documents, your hiring documents, your employee handbook any sort of agreements your asking your employees to sign such as trade secrets or confidentiality agreements reviewed by counsel but until that time a competent HR or Human Resources professional should be able to do an excellent job for you.