10 Employment Law Interview Questions and Answers for Legal Counsel

flat art illustration of a Legal Counsel
If you're preparing for legal counsel interviews, see also our comprehensive interview questions and answers for the following legal counsel specializations:

1. What experience do you have dealing with employment law issues?

I have extensive experience dealing with employment law issues in my current position at XYZ Corporation. In the past year alone, I have successfully defended the company against two separate wrongful termination lawsuits, resulting in both cases being dismissed before trial. Additionally, I have advised HR and management on various issues including wage and hour compliance, employment contracts, and discrimination concerns.

  1. One of my biggest accomplishments in this area was a case involving allegations of sexual harassment. I worked closely with HR to conduct a thorough investigation and found evidence that the accuser had actually fabricated the claims. As a result, we were able to fend off a potential lawsuit and maintain a positive company culture.
  2. Another example was a wage and hour audit that I managed on behalf of the company. I identified several areas of non-compliance and worked with the affected departments to implement corrective action. As a result, our company was able to save over $50,000 in potential fines and avoid a damaging reputation.

Overall, my experience dealing with employment law issues has been diverse and extensive, and I am confident in my ability to advise and defend the company in a legal capacity.

2. Can you provide an example of a difficult employment law problem you recently solved?

One difficult employment law problem I recently faced was a wrongful termination lawsuit against my client. The plaintiff claimed that they were terminated due to their age and that the company had a pattern of discrimination against older employees.

  1. To begin, I carefully reviewed the termination procedures and documentation to ensure they were legally compliant. I also conducted a thorough investigation into the plaintiff's allegations of discrimination by interviewing current and former employees.
  2. Based on my findings, I advised my client to offer a settlement to the plaintiff to avoid the costs and risks associated with going to trial. The settlement agreement included a confidential severance package and a waiver of all claims against the company.
  3. After negotiating with the plaintiff's attorney, we were able to reach a favorable settlement that satisfied both parties. The plaintiff received a substantial severance payment and my client avoided the cost and uncertainty of a trial.

The result was a win-win situation for both parties, as my client was able to avoid a costly and lengthy legal battle, while the plaintiff received fair compensation for their claims. This experience reinforced my ability to navigate complex employment law issues and find pragmatic solutions that protect the interests of my clients.

3. What do you think are the most common mistakes employers make regarding employment law?

One of the most common mistakes employers make regarding employment law is not paying employees the appropriate amount of overtime compensation. According to a survey conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, between 2014 and 2016, workers lost $15 billion in unpaid overtime. Furthermore, employers may misclassify employees as exempt from overtime pay when they should be classified as non-exempt. This not only leads to wage and hour violations but also exposes employers to legal liabilities.

Another common mistake that employers make is failing to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees. In 2019, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 24,238 charges of disability-based discrimination. Employers need to ensure that they have a disability accommodation policy in place and are willing to work with their disabled employees to provide them with reasonable accommodations as required by law.

Lastly, employers often make the mistake of having a weak or inadequate sexual harassment policy, which puts them at risk of lawsuits and creates a hostile work environment for their employees. In 2019, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 7,514 charges of sexual harassment. Employers need to have a robust sexual harassment policy in place, conduct regular training for employees and managers, and address any complaints of sexual harassment promptly and seriously.

  1. Not paying employees appropriate overtime compensation or misclassifying employees as exempt from overtime pay.
  2. Failing to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees.
  3. Having a weak or inadequate sexual harassment policy.

4. What's your experience with advising on employment law issues in multiple countries?

Throughout my career as a Legal Counsel, I have gained significant experience in providing legal guidance on employment law issues in multiple countries. For instance, in my previous position at XYZ Inc, I successfully advised the company on employment laws in 15 different countries across Europe, Asia, and North America.

  1. To achieve this, I kept myself updated with the latest laws and regulations in each country by attending legal conferences, researching online, and building relationships with local lawyers.
  2. I also worked with internal HR teams to provide tailored legal advice that took into account the cultural and language barriers in each country. This allowed us to establish clear communication channels with employees and avoid misunderstandings.
  3. Furthermore, I identified and mitigated potential risks related to employment law that could have had significant financial implications by conducting compliance audits and recommending policy changes.
  4. The results of my advising were a decrease in legal disputes and liability, and an increase in employee satisfaction as they felt respected, supported, and heard.

Overall, my experience advising on employment law issues in multiple countries demonstrates my commitment to providing holistic and tailored legal advice that takes into account cultural, linguistic and legal specificities, while mitigating risks and ensuring compliance.

5. What challenges have you faced when advising on complex employment issues?

During my time as a legal counsel, I have encountered several challenges when advising on complex employment issues. One particular instance that comes to mind is when a client came to me after being accused of discrimination against an employee. The case was especially challenging because it involved a high-profile employee with a large following on social media, making it crucial to handle the situation delicately to avoid reputational damage.

  1. The first challenge was to understand the intricate details of the case while ensuring that I take appropriate actions. I had to consider a vast array of relevant laws, regulations and policies to develop a strategy to defend my client.
  2. The second challenge was deciding the appropriate course of action. The company hierarchy and procedures had to be understood, and I had to convince the management to make necessary changes if any. I also liaised with the HR management and conducted internal investigations to gather evidence, speaking to all those who may have had relevant information.
  3. The third challenge came when presenting findings and recommendations to the management. It was important to maintain transparency and accuracy in the presentation, as the decision taken had the potential to affect the company’s reputation and legal standing. When presenting the findings, I ensured that I engaged with the management by providing viable alternatives and recommendations to assist them in making an informed decision.
  4. Finally, after providing the management with all relevant information, the challenge was negotiating settlements or defending clients in court. In this particular case, we were able to negotiate a settlement that met both the company's and the employee's interests.

Through the challenges faced, I managed to work diligently and responsibly to provide timely and accurate counsel to the client. The final outcome proved successful as the company was able to save its reputation while still meeting the employee's interests.

6. What are the most important things for an effective employment law strategy?

An effective employment law strategy should focus on several key elements:

  1. Compliance: Ensuring that the company is in compliance with all applicable employment laws and regulations is critical. This includes understanding and adhering to minimum wage requirements, overtime regulations, and anti-discrimination laws.
  2. Training: Providing regular training for all employees and managers on employment law topics is key to preventing legal issues. This can include training on harassment prevention, disability accommodations, and family and medical leave laws.
  3. Risk assessment: Conducting regular risk assessments and audits of employment practices is also important. This helps identify any potential issues before they become legal problems. For example, a company may conduct a pay equity audit to identify any gaps in pay between genders or races.
  4. Documentation: Proper documentation of employment decisions and actions is critical. This includes detailed job descriptions, performance evaluations, and disciplinary actions.
  5. Engagement: Creating a positive and engaged work culture can also help prevent legal issues. Employees who feel valued and respected are less likely to file legal claims. One example of this is implementing a diversity and inclusion program to promote a diverse and inclusive workplace.
  6. Responsive communication: It is also important to have clear and responsive communication with employees. This can include a clear process for reporting complaints or concerns, and promptly addressing any issues that arise.

An effective employment law strategy can lead to several benefits for the company, including:

  • Reduced legal risks and potential liability
  • Increased employee morale and retention
  • Improved reputation and employer brand
  • Increased productivity and profitability

7. How do you stay up-to-date on changes to employment law?

As a Legal Counsel, staying up-to-date with changes to employment law is crucial, and I make sure to keep myself informed in various ways. Firstly, I subscribe to email bulletins from various reliable sources, such as Lexology, HRDive, and SHRM, which provide me with regular updates on any new developments in employment law. Additionally, I attend relevant conferences and events, such as the National Employment Law Institute Annual Conference, to learn about new trends and best practices in employment law.

I also make use of various online resources to stay updated, such as legal blogs and forums, where I can interact with other professionals and discuss any changes that might affect our clients. Additionally, I regularly participate in webinars and training sessions offered by reputable organizations like the American Bar Association, which keeps me informed and provides me with continued learning opportunities.

Moreover, I also make sure to conduct regular research to discover new precedents and landmark rulings that could have a potential impact on any of our clients or their industries. By being proactive in this way, I can advise our clients on potential changes in the legal environment and ensure that they are always in compliance with the latest employment laws.

Finally, I keep a record of the cases I have worked on and the specific employment laws applicable to those cases. I monitor these cases to ensure they continue to be relevant, and follow up with industry publications on any changes or updates pertaining to these laws.

  1. Subscribing to email bulletins from reliable sources like Lexology, HRDrive, and SHRM
  2. Attend relevant conferences and events like National Employment Law Institute Annual Conference
  3. Frequent legal forums and blogs for interaction with professionals to discuss changes
  4. Participate in webinars and trainings sessions from reputable organizations like American Bar Association
  5. Conducting research on new precedents and landmark rulings
  6. Maintaining a record of cases worked on and employment laws applicable to the cases
  7. Monitoring precedent cases and following up on changes or updates to the applicable laws

8. What experience do you have with employment law litigation?

Throughout my career as a legal counsel, I have had ample experience with employment law litigation. In my previous role as a legal counsel for XYZ Corp, I successfully handled over 20 employment litigation cases in the span of 5 years.

  1. One of the cases was a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a former employee. I conducted thorough investigations and gathered key evidence to prove that the termination was for just cause. As a result, the lawsuit was dismissed.
  2. In another case, I represented the company against an age discrimination claim filed by a former employee. I successfully argued that the employee was not let go due to age, but rather due to his poor job performance. The court ruled in our favor and the case was dismissed.
  3. Additionally, in a sexual harassment case, I represented the company and provided counsel on the development of employee training programs and policies to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, resulting in a significant decrease in sexual harassment claims.

My extensive experience with employment law litigation has honed my ability to analyze complex legal situations, as well as, to communicate effectively with clients, judges, and opposing counsel. This has been instrumental in delivering favorable outcomes and avoiding costly legal battles for my clients.

9. What are some best practices for employees and managers to avoid common employment law issues?

Employment law issues can cost a company greatly in terms of both finances and reputation. As a legal counsel, I recommend that employees and managers implement the following best practices:

  1. Clearly communicate company policies and expectations: Having written policies in place and providing training to employees on what is expected of them can prevent misunderstandings and misuse of company resources.
  2. Document everything: Keeping detailed records of employee performance, disciplinary actions, and any complaints can be crucial in defending a company against legal claims.
  3. Be consistent: Treating all employees fairly and consistently can help prevent claims of discrimination or favoritism.
  4. Provide regular feedback: Frequent communication and providing feedback to employees can prevent issues from escalating and can help employees correct problematic behaviors before they become more serious.
  5. Accommodate disabilities: Providing reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities is required by law and can help prevent claims of discrimination.
  6. Know the law: Staying up to date on federal and state employment laws can help prevent a company from unintentionally violating them.
  7. Follow proper hiring procedures: Conducting background checks, verifying work eligibility, and ensuring that job requirements are based on business necessity can prevent claims of discrimination or wrongful termination.
  8. Investigate complaints promptly: Taking complaints seriously and investigating them promptly can prevent issues from escalating and can help prevent legal claims.
  9. Maintain confidentiality: Keeping employee information confidential can prevent claims of privacy violations.
  10. Consult with legal counsel: Seek legal advice early on and regularly to ensure compliance with employment laws and to mitigate any risks.

Implementing these best practices can help employees and managers avoid common employment law issues and can protect a company from costly legal claims. For example, according to a study by the law firm Seyfarth Shaw, companies that conduct regular training for managers and employees on issues such as harassment and discrimination have a 50% reduction in employment claims.

10. Have you ever advised a client to forego litigation despite a strong legal position?

Yes, I have advised a client to forego litigation despite having a strong legal position. In one particular case, my client was a large corporation involved in a contract dispute with a smaller company. While our legal team believed that we had a strong argument and could win in court, we also recognized that pursuing the matter in court would be time-consuming and costly. We suggested exploring alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods such as mediation or arbitration, as they could potentially resolve the issue more efficiently and at a lower cost.

  1. First, we conducted a careful analysis of the potential costs and benefits of litigation versus ADR.
  2. We examined the merits of our legal position and the strength of our evidence to determine the likelihood of success in court.
  3. We also considered factors such as potential damages, legal fees, and the costs of discovery and trial.
  4. After weighing all the factors, we provided the client with a detailed analysis of the risks and benefits of each approach.

Ultimately, we convinced the client to pursue ADR, and we were able to resolve the dispute through mediation. The process was much faster and less expensive than litigation, and it allowed both parties to reach a mutually satisfactory outcome.

Overall, I believe that it's important to consider all available options and help clients make informed decisions based on their specific needs and circumstances.


In conclusion, as a legal counsel job seeker, being familiar with employment law is a vital aspect to succeed in an interview. The above interview questions and answers will help you prepare accordingly. Remember to also write a great cover letter (write a great cover letter) and prepare an impressive legal CV (prepare an impressive legal CV) to increase your chances of landing your dream job. Lastly, don't forget to browse through our remote Legal job board if you are seeking new opportunities. Good luck with your job search!

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