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Talk to a labor union.


Why the down votes?

This is a serious suggestion; I don't know the exact situation in America but in Europe all trade unions have trained advisers looking at stuff like this every day.

Going to an union is a much more effective and cheaper solution than every employee talking to an employment lawyer on their own.

I know that labor unions are much more widespread in Europe than they are in the US these days, but that's all I really know about the European situation. Still, are things THAT much different in Europe? Honest question. I just can't imagine that they'd give free legal advice to nonmembers, or that there would be a lot of expertise in this specific area of employment law. Or is that not true? Maybe I've been biased by the labor climate in the US, but that's just not how I thought things worked in (most of) Europe.

I have been in a situation where I needed help as have my sister.

You just call them, explain your situation and hear what they say.

In general they give you a quick evaluation and then say: In order for us to help you, you need to be a member - the price is xxx pr. month - if you sign up now we will work on your case straight away, we also have an insurrance that covers lawsuits and some other benefits.

You're being biased by the climate in the US. A lot of union rep would give free legal advice to nonmembers, especially for small and common things such as clauses in employment contracts.

Would a union rep have a lot of experience with intellectual property agreements and their legal consequences?

I would have guessed that most union reps consult lawyers when they finalize a contract and don't have the law background needed.

They have plenty of lawyers, highly specialised. And if you go to an IT-related union they are very used to dealing with IP issues.

In Denmark there are two unions for IT workers: One for engineers and one for IT workers. Both of this have experience with intellectual property agreements and both gives some free help (like looking over contracts) with the hope that you will sign up for the "premium" membership.

I think the best way to describe danish unions are that they are a mix of us unions (that i don't know that much about) and law firms for worker.

Around here they would ask that you join (which is cheap) and they do have trained lawyers in this - it's one of the main areas where employer-employee conflicts come up (that shouldn't even be surprising).

They do give free legal advice to non-members, at least when I asked for help in Denmark.

In the USA, unions are mostly associated with "blue collar" labor -- typically employees paid by the hour. I'm not aware of any unions that represent programmers, who are typically salaried.

Sometimes they're called professional societies, or sometimes that's something a little different.

Examples: http://www.ukape.org.uk/ https://www.prospect.org.uk/

Don't American doctors and teachers have a union?

Teachers sometimes. Doctors? Never heard of a union representing doctors in the US.

Didn't down vote [edit: upvoted], but it doesn't quite work that way in the US for any of the unions that would cover developers, good info for Europe though.

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