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Could something like this happen in your municipality?

Most cities employ a city attorney either on staff or by contract to deal with issues related directly to municipal law. But often a city must call on the expertise of a more focused area of legal practice to deal with specific concerns. Labor law is often one of these areas of concern.

Labor attorneys can help city management mitigate issues that may not appear on the surface to be problematic but could turn out to be costly.

Consider this scenario:

Jane was an educated, professional human resources director. She worked hard to stay up to date on changes in the human resources field, especially those related to employment and labor law. When she was asked to deal with a particularly difficult wage and hour determination, Jane felt that she was well qualified to do so. However, a year later she found herself embroiled in a Department of Labor investigation and faced with the prospect of a settlement and/or litigation that would be a drain on her time and costly to the city.

In this case, Jane may not have been aware of just how difficult wage and hour issues can be. She thought she understood how to interpret the regulations without seeking assistance. Before the issue escalates, a situation like this can possibly be avoided by bringing in an attorney who practices in the area of labor and employment law.

In today's world, navigating the world of employment law can be complicated. Labor attorneys" practice areas include everything from E-Verify and immigration to the Affordable Care Act and discrimination to the Family and Medical Leave Act.

SC Municipal Insurance and Risk Financing Fund members have 10 hours each year of a labor attorney's time available free through the Labor and Employment Hotline. The Hotline helps SCMIRF members eliminate, or at least, mitigate labor and employment claims. Issues covered include, but are not limited to, labor, employment, wage and hour, workplace safety and health, and immigration.

SCMIRF, a risk management program of the Municipal Association of SC, provides all lines of property and casualty coverage including tort liability for its member municipalities. For additional information about the labor hotline, contact Cindy Martellini, claims manager, at cmartellini@masc.sc or 803.933.1235.