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Top 10 Typical Work Law Issues Where Companies May Make Mistakes – Canada, Employment Law, Disabaility Discrimination

March 6th, 2011 · No Comments · About Compromise Agreement Blog, Breach of Confidential Information, Choosing an Independent Legal Advisor to provide Advice on the Terms of your Compromise Agreement, Compromise Agreement Solicitors, Compromise Agreements, Confidentiality Provisions in a Compromise Agreements, Disability Discrimination, Employment Lawyers, Employment Solicitors, Employment Tribunals, Labour Law - Canada, Unfair Dismissal, Your Compromise Agreement is a Binding Contract

 Guest Writer on Employment Law Issues from Canada : Stacia Abner of labor law training

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 laws and regulations, nondiscrimination law regulations, etc.). Many organisations, especially smaller businesses, tend not to completely understand the scope of such obligations and, because of this, frequently (albeit inadvertently) violate what the law states. These violations can result in costly lawsuits, and also civil and criminal penalties.

In my experience as being a defence attorney in addition to being a plaintiff’s lawyer, the commonest employment law mistakes done by businesses are the subsequent (in no particular order):

  • Misclassifying personnel as independent contractors. Normally, only workers who operate their very own separate businesses are “independent contractors.” Few workers meet this test; the truth is, most personnel are considered “employees” for the law, which suggests these are eligible for the entire variety of workplace protections.
  • Misclassifying non-exempt workers as exempt. Generally speaking, all personnel are eligible to minimum wage and overtime pay, unless these are “exempt” under state and federal law. The exemption rules (e.g., for executive, administrative, and professional employees) only apply in limited circumstances, however; because of this, many personnel who’re claimed by businesses to become “exempt” in reality have entitlement to minimum wage and/or overtime pay.
  • Not complying with state wage payment legal guidelines. i.e. New York imposes several specific rules regarding how businesses be forced to pay their personnel. These rules include providing new workers with written notice of the 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 personnel 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 owning a worker handbook. A worker handbook is a crucial tool for effective employer-employee relations. It notifies employees of the company’s values, policies, and procedures; promotes compliance with labor and employment legal guidelines; so it helps create an orderly, efficient, and transparent workplace.
  • Not documenting personnel job performance. A well-managed business clearly communicates its employees’ duties and responsibilities (e.g., through written position descriptions), trains and supervises workers to be sure they are meeting these requirements, and offers regular, objective, consistent feedback (e.g., through written evaluations and, where necessary, disciplinary actions). A not enough accurate, complete, contemporaneous documentation can cause liability in case of a case by a worker.
  • Not training supervisors regarding EEO legal guidelines. Federal, state, and local equal employment opportunity (EEO) law regulations prohibit businesses from taking adverse actions against employees (e.g., demotion, termination) for reasons not associated 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 typical “protected characteristics”), along with retaliation for an employee’s good faith complaints of discrimination. It is imperative that supervisors learn the way to manage workers without violating (or appearing to violate) these legislation.
  • Not providing reasonable accommodations for disabled staff members. Most EEO legislation prohibit businesses from taking adverse actions against employees depending on certain protected characteristics, but disability discrimination legal guidelines also impose an affirmative obligation on businesses to “reasonably accommodate” disabled employees in order to assist them to perform the main functions of the jobs. Such accommodations might include restructuring job duties, modifying work schedules, or providing assistive devices. Businesses must supply a disabled laborer with needed accommodations unless this would cause an “undue hardship” for the company (e.g., not affordable, too disruptive).
  • Not obtaining releases from terminated personnel. When terminating a worker, businesses need to get a release that waives the employee’s potential legal claims against the company. The simplest 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 personnel (unless necessary for an employment contract or possibly a collective bargaining agreement). If they plan to do this (e.g., in association with layoffs), they must require staff members to sign a release in return for the payment.
  • Not protecting confidential business information. Every enterprise depends upon certain vital, often confidential  information regarding its business operations, including trade secrets, marketing and advertising practices, and customer and client lists. Access to this information ought to be limited by staff members with a “need to know” and really should be protected by appropriate non-disclosure, non-compete, and/or non-solicitation agreements (depending on the nature of the information as well as the employee’s position).
  • Not consulting a certified employment law attorney.

Perhaps the one most crucial point to take away from this discussion is businesses must consult a professional employment lawyer to ensure they are in compliance with all the increasingly numerous and complex laws and regulations that carpet work just like a minefield. Large businesses will often have attorneys and recruiting professionals working to aid them in this field. Small- and medium-size businesses often don’t. Their biggest mistake is attempting to navigate this minefield by themselves. And you also? Exactly what are your top mistakes made in employment law?

About the writer: Stacia Abner writes for labor law training , her personal blog where she writes about her experience as defense attorney to aid workers and organizations take care of the facets of employment law.

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