Engineering and law are two wholly separate career fields but they often come into contact with each other when engineers and/or engineering firms, companies and contractors get themselves embroiled in lawsuits or other legal matters. Basically, an engineer or engineering firm or contractor can be sued for the following:
1. Breach of Contract
In this very business-oriented world we live in, every business undertaking must involve a contract. The breach of the contract and its inherent terms and conditions could very possibly lead to a lawsuit. If an engineer fails to keep his end of the agreement, performs his job poorly or even deliberately sabotages the job, the client has every right and to and would most likely take him to the law court.
2. Failure to pay taxes
It is the civic duty of every working individual, firm and company to pay tax. Once one starts avoiding this obligation, it won’t be long before the long hand of the law catches up with him.
3. Improper or false certification
The world of engineering has certain standard bodies and organisations authorized to approve and certify engineers, engineering firms and companies. Without this certification, an engineer cannot practise his profession and the firms can’t ply their trade. These bodies and their requirements for certification differ with respect to the country or locality concerned and even the engineering discipline. Offering engineering services to the public without getting certified and registered properly could result in a lawsuit and possible jail time.
4. Failure to pay workers
This particular situation applies to engineering firms and companies. Refusal or inability to pay employees their wages, salaries or allowances could portend doom for such an organization. These workers, backed by trade unions, could sue the firm to court.
5. Unfair treatment of workers
The government and aggrieved clients are not the only ones who can sue engineering firms. Their own employees can also sue them and not only on the basis of non-payment of salaries. If a worker or even a group of workers are being treated unfairly, discriminated or oppressed on reasons of race, skin colour, physical deformities, gender, they are very much within their rights to charge the firm to court based on these charges.
On the positive side, an engineer can become involved in a law case, not because he has been accused of wrongdoing, but because his input, knowledge and expertise is needed for that case. For instance, in a lawsuit involving the state and certain individual(s) on charges relating to the effects of high voltage transmission lines on residents in an area, an engineer of great caliber and a reputed expert in such a field could be called upon to provide insight in the law court.
It is very possible for engineers or engineering firms to stay on the good side of the law, as long as they uphold their part(s) in any contract they are involved in, get certified properly, treat employees rightly and fairly and yes, pay their taxes!