No matter the size of your business, having employees means that you have many types of legal exposure. But many smaller businesses are unaware of the legal requirements that must be followed. As a result, they often don’t seek legal advice before an employment situation arises. For example, some initial questions employers must address:
- What employment laws apply to my business?
- Are there any improper questions on the company’s job application?
- What forms do new employees need to fill out?
- What types of employment policies does my business need?
- What systems do I need in place to track employee time, performance and discipline?
- Does the company need to report employee information to any government agencies?
- What type of insurance coverages does the company need?
- Am I properly paying my employees?
I advocate that businesses of any size seek advice from an experienced employment attorney as a preventive measure, which can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. That is why many small to medium sized companies retain me on an “as needed” basis to assist them with human resource issues. Of course, should an employment-related claim be lodged against your business, I am well equipped to assist.
Here are some examples of common issues for which employers often need my legal advice and guidance:
- Is your business completing the proper forms when someone’s employment is termination?
- Are the reasons for termination well documented?
- Does the company have grounds to contest an award of unemployment benefits?
Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Claims
- Has an EEOC Charge been filed against your company?
- Is your business covered by the federal employment laws?
- Do you have the proper policies in place?
- Has an employee complained about discrimination or harassment in the workplace?
- How do you respond to these types of complaints?
- Have you taken an adverse employment action against an employee because they engaged in legally protected activity?
Wage and Hour Issues
- Are you paying overtime in the correct manner?
- Are you appropriately classifying employees for purposes of the FLSA overtime exemption?
- Are you paying proper overtime when a non-exempt employee works more than 40 hours in a workweek?
- Are you maintaining adequate time records?
- When can an employer dock time?
- Can you hold an employee’s paycheck?
- Has an employee filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor or other government agency regarding your company’s pay practices?
Medical and other leave time
- When is an employer required to provide time off?
- Do I have to allow employees to return to their position after taking leave?
- Do I have to provide an employee with leave time as an accommodation for a disability?
- Have any employment agreements been formed?
- Should you pay severance?
- Will your non-compete/non-solicitation agreement be enforced?
- Have you created contracts for payment of commissions or bonuses?
- Are you required to pay unused vacation / paid time off upon termination?
Employee Handbooks, Policies and Procedures
- What types of employment policies and procedures does my business need?
- Are the company’s policies up to date?
- Is the company complying with the laws pertaining to onboarding and terminating employees?
If your business does end up facing a formal complaint or lawsuit, it is critical that you retain an attorney with significant experience in employment claims, as such matters often involve complex issues that don’t arise in other types of cases.
My legal career has been devoted almost exclusively to employment-related matters, and I have handled a variety of cases involving numerous types of contested claims in administrative agencies, as well as state and federal trial and appellate courts.
If you need advice on employee matters, including lawsuits, Department of Labor matters, or EEOC Charges, please REQUEST A CONSULTATION.