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Best 10 Popular Labor Law Issues Done By Organizations – by Stacia W. Abner
The contemporary American workplace is susceptible to numerous federal, state, and local law regulations that impose strict obligations on businesses (e.g., wage and hour law regulations, nondiscrimination laws and regulations, etc.). A lot of companies, especially smaller corporations, don’t completely understand the scope of those obligations and, therefore, frequently (albeit inadvertently) violate what the law states. These violations can cause costly lawsuits, in addition to civil and criminal penalties. In my experience of being a defense attorney in addition to being a plaintiff’s lawyer, the commonest employment law mistakes done by organizations are these (in no particular order):
– Misclassifying staff members as independent contractors. Normally, only workers who operate their unique separate organizations are “independent contractors.” Few workers meet this test; the truth is, most personnel are considered “employees” for the law, meaning these are eligible to the entire selection of workplace protections.
– Misclassifying non-exempt workers as exempt. Generally, all workers are eligible to minimum wage and overtime pay, unless they’re “exempt” under state and federal law. The exemption rules (e.g., for executive, administrative, and professional personnel) only apply in limited circumstances, however; therefore, many workers who’re claimed by businesses to become “exempt” actually have entitlement to minimum wage and/or overtime pay.
– Not complying with state wage payment law regulations. i.e. New York imposes several specific rules regarding how businesses be forced to pay their workers. These rules include providing new workers with written notice of these rate of pay and regular pay date; prohibiting deductions from wages unless for that employee’s benefit and authorized in writing; requiring written contracts for commissioned salespersons; and providing terminated staff members with written notice of the last day’s work, their last day’s benefits, and their right to submit an application for unemployment benefits.
– Not using a laborer handbook. A laborer handbook is a tool for effective employer-employee relations. It notifies personnel of the company’s values, policies, and procedures; promotes compliance with labor and employment laws; so helps create an orderly, efficient, and transparent workplace.
– Not documenting personnel job performance. A well-managed company clearly communicates its employees’ duties and responsibilities (e.g., through written position descriptions), trains and supervises employees to be sure they are meeting these requirements, and gives regular, objective, consistent feedback (e.g., through written evaluations and, where necessary, disciplinary actions). A deficiency of accurate, complete, contemporaneous documentation can cause liability in case of a case by a worker.
– Not training supervisors regarding EEO law regulations. Federal, state, and local equal employment opportunity (EEO) legislation prohibit businesses from taking adverse actions against personnel (e.g., demotion, termination) for reasons not in connection with an employee’s job performance, including those according to an employee’s race, color, sex, age, disability, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, and marital status ( to mention the most frequent “protected characteristics”), plus retaliation for an employee’s good faith complaints of discrimination. It is imperative that supervisors learn the way to manage personnel without violating (or appearing to violate) these laws and regulations.
– Not providing reasonable accommodations for disabled staff members. Most EEO legislation prohibit businesses from taking adverse actions against staff members according to certain protected characteristics, but disability discrimination law regulations also impose an affirmative obligation on businesses to “reasonably accommodate” disabled staff members in an attempt to assist them to perform the fundamental functions of these jobs. Such accommodations can sometimes include restructuring job duties, modifying work schedules, or providing assistive devices. Businesses must give a disabled personnel with needed accommodations unless doing this would cause an “undue hardship” for the business (e.g., very costly, too disruptive).
– Not obtaining releases from terminated workers. When terminating a worker, businesses need to get a release that waives the employee’s potential legal claims against the company. The easiest way to get a release is in exchange for an offer of severance (where appropriate). Normally, companies are not necessary to pay for severance to workers (unless essential to an employment contract or even a collective bargaining agreement). If they opt to achieve this (e.g., associated with layoffs), they must require personnel to sign a release in return for the payment.
– Not protecting confidential business information. Every corporation is dependent upon certain vital, often confidential, details about its business operations, including trade secrets, marketing and advertising practices, and customer and client lists. Access to this information needs to be tied to employees with a “need to know” and may be protected by appropriate non-disclosure, non-compete, and/or non-solicitation agreements (depending on the nature of the information and also the employee’s position).
– Not consulting a professional employment law attorney. Perhaps the one most significant point to take away from this discussion is always that businesses must consult a certified employment lawyer to ensure they are in compliance with all the increasingly numerous and complex law regulations that carpet work just like a minefield. Large corporations most often have attorneys and hr professionals working to aid them in this field. Small- and medium-size organizations often usually do not. Their biggest mistake is attempting to navigate this minefield independently.
And also you? Exactly what are your top ten mistakes made in employment law?
About the writer: Stacia W. Abner writes for labor law training, her personal blog where she writes about her experience as defense attorney to assist workers and corporations cope with the elements of employment law.