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
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 calibre 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!