Warning: Cover All Specifics in Employee Disciplinary Memos
Employment Law

Warning: Cover All Specifics in Employee Disciplinary Memos

A key document in an employee’s personnel file is a well-drafted written memo, if you want to strengthen your defense against an employee-initiated action. Most written warnings and disciplinary memos are inadequate because they fail to include several very important elements. Elements to Include Whether you have to defend against an undeserved unemployment insurance claim…

If Disability Hampers Job Performance: What to Do?
Employment Law

If Disability Hampers Job Performance: What to Do?

Question I have an employee who has developed Multiple Sclerosis (MS). What can I do if the employee can no longer perform certain physical job duties? Answer This is an excellent example of the need for written job descriptions. Your job description will include a complete listing of all essential job duties and concrete estimates…

Avoid Risks in Job Applicant Testing
Employment Law

Avoid Risks in Job Applicant Testing

Question A consultant told us that we should be testing applicants. We’re really hesitant about this. We’ve heard testing can get us into legal trouble. What are the pros and cons of testing, and what’s the legal risk? Answer Many human resources consultants are advocates of pre-employment testing and pre-employment screening, by using background, credential…

Handbook Essentials to Protect Your Business
Employment Law

Handbook Essentials to Protect Your Business

Generally, the task of preparing the content of an employee handbook falls to someone who lacks strong writing skills. After all, executives, managers, and supervisors usually aren’t hired because of their professional writing skills. Yet it is important that the content in an employee handbook clearly informs employees of the employer’s intentions. If the content…

Define Employee Types to Avert Questions
Employment Law

Define Employee Types to Avert Questions

How do you define, in your handbook, which employees are entitled to certain benefits? In the past, employers commonly used the concept of “permanent” employee and “probationary” employee. Many employers and their employees still think in those terms. The idea is once a new employee completes so many weeks of satisfactory employment, he or she…

Caution: Some Employee Conduct is Protected
Employment Law

Caution: Some Employee Conduct is Protected

Fire an employee for the wrong reason — or in the wrong situation — and the employee could claim retaliation and file a lawsuit. Several activities by employees are off-limits to retaliatory actions such as firing or disciplinary action. Any retaliation by the employer could spell potential legal trouble, such as a wrongful termination lawsuit….

Can I Settle a Wrongful Discharge Out of Court?
Employment Law

Can I Settle a Wrongful Discharge Out of Court?

“I did nothing wrong! Fight the battle to the end.” That’s the order an angry employer gives lawyers after being served notice of a wrongful discharge suit. But there are good reasons for a less aggressive approach: Settling out of court. Three such reasons are the cost of litigation, the finality of out-of-court settlements, and…

IRS Extends Deadline to Provide 2016 ACA Forms to Recipients
Employment Law

IRS Extends Deadline to Provide 2016 ACA Forms to Recipients

The IRS announced that it is extending one of the deadlines for providing 2016 Affordable Care Act (ACA) information statements to recipients. Specifically, the due date for furnishing to individuals the 2016 Form 1095-B (Health Coverage) and the 2016 Form 1095-C, (Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage) is extended from January 31, 2017, to March…

Risks for References of Former Employees
Employment Law

Risks for References of Former Employees

Legal hassles can arise when you give references for former employees. These former employees might turn around and sue your organization for defamation. Here’s a quick review of the ins and outs of giving references for former employees. First the facts Defamation involves communicating false information. Defamation with malice involves communicating information — even true information…

Thwart Legal Trouble: Prepare Supervisors
Employment Law

Thwart Legal Trouble: Prepare Supervisors

When you discipline or terminate an employee for cause, are you so confident of the correctness of your actions you’d tell disgruntled, parting employees to contact their attorneys? Are you so confident of the actions of all your managers and supervisors who deal with disciplining and firing employees? One way to gain this level of…

Can Employers Discriminate on Appearance? Lookism Law 101
Employment Law

Can Employers Discriminate on Appearance? Lookism Law 101

This article provides tips for employers and managers dealing with the unprofessional appearance of an employee. Common complaints are that an employee is overweight, unkept, ugly, has no style, doesn’t dress professionally, or just doesn’t have the “look” required for the job. Perhaps the problem is affecting the employee’s performance. Perhaps the employee is a…

Does Implementing Employee Handbooks Modify Employment Contracts?
Employment Law

Does Implementing Employee Handbooks Modify Employment Contracts?

Companies of all industries, sizes, and ages would be wise to implement employee handbooks. In addition to setting employment expectations, these handbooks help enforce company policy and formalize processes. However, rolling-out or significantly modifying an employee handbook can raise legal questions. Specifically, does implementation of a new or revised employee handbook constitute a revised contract…

Protect Your Company from Employee Harassment Lawsuits
Employment Law

Protect Your Company from Employee Harassment Lawsuits

If one of the employees at your company approaches a manager complaining about harassment from a co-worker, you need superb interviewing skills to uncover the truth and protect yourself in the event of a lawsuit. By asking the right questions in the right atmosphere, the investigator can maximize the chance of reaching a fair assessment…

Employee Duty of Loyalty to Employer: Customer Solicitation
Employment Law

Employee Duty of Loyalty to Employer: Customer Solicitation

An Employee Solicited Our Clients Before Leaving the Company In many industries when an employee leaves a company, the clients that they interfaced with will follow them. But what if the former employee personally solicited the clients, prior to leaving their original company? Is that considered a breach of their duty of loyalty? When an employer…

Dentist Associate Agreement Checklist: Five Key Areas
Employment Law

Dentist Associate Agreement Checklist: Five Key Areas

You just graduated dental school and are about to join a preexisting practice. You are presented with an associate employment agreement. It is long, complex, and overwhelming. You were trained in school to practice dentistry, not review contracts. Fortunately you do not have to spend endless hours parsing the agreement word for word. Instead focus…

Overtime Rules Change Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
Employment Law

Overtime Rules Change Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Beginning on December 1, 2016, the revised regulations of the FLSA implementing the exemption from overtime pay for executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and computer employee (a.k.a. ‘‘EAP’’ or ‘‘white collar’’ exemptions), will become effective. Here is what you need to know about the Final Rule: Key Provisions The Final Rule updates the salary and…

How to Handle Employee Islamophobia in the Workplace
Employment Law

How to Handle Employee Islamophobia in the Workplace

In the wake of terrorist attacks and divisive political rhetoric, Islamophobia is on the rise. Researchers cite fear as a driving motivator behind many Americans’ unfavorable views towards the religion. This fear manifests itself in various forms ranging from attacks on mosques to discrimination in the workplace. The Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency…

How to Handle Employees' Lewd Sexual Talk in Your Company
Employment Law

How to Handle Employees' Lewd Sexual Talk in Your Company

If you lead a business, you may need to address lewd sexual conversations in your company. Examples include a lewd joke by email or a sexual conversation in the workplace. Employees may defend this as locker-room banter. As a company leader, what are your legal duties? What are best practices? Donald Trump made headlines when the Washington Post published a video of him boasting of…

Can I use criminal & arrest records when making employment decisions?
Employment Law

Can I use criminal & arrest records when making employment decisions?

Need help? Contact a criminal defense attorney. Is it against the law to use criminal and arrest records when making employment decisions? Maybe. An employer’s use of an individual’s criminal history in making employment decisions may, in some instances, violate the prohibition against employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964….

Best Practices: Using Arrest & Conviction Records in Hiring
Employment Law

Best Practices: Using Arrest & Conviction Records in Hiring

Be careful when using an individual’s criminal history to make an employment decision. In some cases this can violate the prohibition against employment discrimination under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. To avoid any potential violations utilize the below best practices to ensure you are compliant with the law: Employer Best…

Salary Clawbacks: Executive Compensation, CEO Wages, & Company Rights
Employment Law

Salary Clawbacks: Executive Compensation, CEO Wages, & Company Rights

In some cases, Minnesota law permits companies to require CEOs and executives to return compensation they have already received. This article explains how companies can reserve the right to claw back certain compensation to CEOs and other executives. Taking Back Wages Already Paid to Employees You may have read in the news where CEO compensation…

How do I use E-Verify? Employer FAQs
Employment Law

How do I use E-Verify? Employer FAQs

E-Verify is an Internet-based system operated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA). E-Verify is free and easy to use. E-Verify provides an automated link to Government records to help employers confirm the employment eligibility of new hires. Why…

How do I complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification?
Employment Law

How do I complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification?

U.S. employers are required by law to verify the identity and employment authorization of each individual they hire after November 6, 1986, for employment in the United States by completing, Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Employers who hire or continue to employ individuals knowing that they are not authorized to be employed in the United…

Churches & Nonprofits – New Overtime Rule & FLSA
Employment Law

Churches & Nonprofits – New Overtime Rule & FLSA

Background On May 18, 2016, President Obama and Secretary Pérez announced the publication of the Department of Labor’s final rule updating the overtime regulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which will automatically extend overtime pay protections for millions of workers within the first year of implementation. Under the new rule, anybody making a…

Defend Trade Secrets Act – Employer Tips
Employment Law

Defend Trade Secrets Act – Employer Tips

Introduction In May 2016, President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) into law. Prior to enactment, trade secret law had been left to the states, most of which have adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. The DTSA allows for a federal cause of action for misappropriation of trade secrets, available in conjunction with…

Does a change in an employee’s job duties void the employee’s non-compete agreement?
Employment Law

Does a change in an employee’s job duties void the employee’s non-compete agreement?

Does a material change in an employee’s job duties void the employee’s non-compete agreement? The material change doctrine is a legal theory that developed in Massachusetts.[1] Under Massachusetts law, each time an employee’s employment relationship with the employer changes materially such that they have entered into a new employment relationship a new restrictive covenant must…