An employment expert witness is typically a person who has extensive experience, usually professional or educational, with workplace laws and rights that may be relevant for a legal proceeding. This type of witness is often called upon by an attorney representing one side of a legal dispute; for employment matters these disputes are often civil issues. While a witness may not necessarily have legal experience, he or she is usually well versed in a variety of issues that could affect a workplace and will typically understand occupational law to some extent. An employment expert witness may also specialize in a particular aspect of employment law, such as discrimination, sexual harassment, or workplace safety.
In general, an employment expert witness will not usually be a licensed attorney, but rather someone with extensive knowledge and experience related to employment. As an expert witness, this person will usually have an understanding of both work environments and the various laws that often govern how employers and employees can behave legally. This type of witness will usually have firsthand experience in the workplace, often as a manager for a number of years before offering his or her knowledge to others as an expert witness.
An employment expert witness is often quite well paid for his or her time, and so the knowledge he or she has is usually the basis for his or her value with regard to legal proceedings. This means a witness who can be easily rebuked or discredited is not likely to last long as an expert witness, since the strength of his or her arguments can potentially make or break a legal case. The background and reputation of an employment expert witness may also be called into question, and so it is often important that he or she have a history of legitimate business practices.
There are a number of potential specializations in which an employment expert witness can choose, though he or she may also have general knowledge of a variety of occupational subjects. Some of the most common areas of focus for these types of witnesses include discrimination law, sexual harassment, hiring and firing policies, workplace safety, and disability accommodations required by law. An employment expert witness with a specialization may be able to charge more for his or her services, since his or her testimony can offer even more substantial weight to a pertinent case. Many expert witnesses work within a single region, and may only be familiar with local laws that are important for their testimonies.