Caution: That Vendor May Be Giving You Unprotected Advice!
Your business resources are limited, so you always want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck, but sometimes a bargain can actually turn out to cause more problems than it solves. There are many vendors who offer employment counseling services, including advice on tricky legal issues, as a lower cost alternative to calling your employment attorney.
Aside from the quality of the advice, there are two major issues with this: 1) non-attorney vendors do not have the ability to keep your communications privileged, which means they are discoverable by third parties if a dispute arises and 2) their advice is not protected by malpractice insurance that can pay for the harm you suffer if the advice they give turns out to be completely wrong.
Additionally, though it is illegal for non-attorneys to provide actual legal advice, many vendors try to skirt around the rule by putting disclaimers on their brochures and letters urging you to consult with an attorney, while on the telephone, their representatives are assuring you that there is no need to get a lawyer involved. The lesson – buyers beware.