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Avoiding Legal Land Mines
 

Avoiding Legal Land Mines

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Presentation Prepared By 1st Step HR / Safety Business Consultants, LLC

Presentation Prepared By 1st Step HR / Safety Business Consultants, LLC

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    Avoiding Legal Land Mines Avoiding Legal Land Mines Presentation Transcript

    • HR / Safety Issues "Legal Landmines" 06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron 1 st Step HR / Safety Business Consultants, LLC Presentation
    • Introduction
      • How to avoid Legal Lawsuits in today's stiff economy.
      • This presentation will allow companies to take a better in-depth review of where they currently stand regarding compliance with State and Federal Laws. NC/SC have similar statues.
      • Companies as a whole would like to avoid any legal action and see a bigger return on our net profit.
      06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron
    • Facts
      • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to organizations with 15 or more employees. It prohibits discrimination based on race, sex, color, national origin, and religion.
      • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 applies to organizations with 20 or more employees. Prohibits discrimination against people age 40 or older .
      06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron
    • Facts
      • Americans with Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act of 1973 applies to organizations with 15 or more employees. Prohibits discrimination against disabled workers or those perceived as disabled.
      • Family Medical Leave Act applies to organizations with 50 or more employees. It provides leave for employees in certain situations.
      06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron
    • Facts
      • Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination against pregnant employees.
      • The Fair Labor Standards Act applies to nearly every employer. It governs wage, hour, and overtime responsibilities.
      06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron
    • Defense Is The Best Position
      • Employers in the Courtroom.
      • What is this going to cost me?
      • Victory, but at what cost? While every case is different, fees in an average case can easily amount to $50,000 to $200,000 plus.
      06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron
    • Number of Charges Filed with the EEOC Fiscal Year 2001 06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron
    • 2001 EEOC Litigations Monetary Benefits Paid 06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron
    • Facts
      • When you lose, you lose. Your attorney then insists on telling you what can happen if you lose the lawsuit. He reminds you that even though you know you haven’t done anything wrong, it’s still up to a judge or jury to decide that answer.
      06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron
    • Facts
      • Compensatory damages. Many employment discrimination statutes allow the recovery of compensatory damages. These damages can include sums for mental and emotional distress. Sometimes the amounts are subject to a cap; other times they aren’t. Employees will often seek medical treatment following a termination and use it to support a claim for emotional distress.
      06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron
    • Facts
      • Punitive or liquidated damages. Some discrimination statutes allow the recovery of damages designed to punish the employer and deter it from future bad behavior. Others will allow for liquidated damages pegged at two to three times the back pay damages awarded.
      06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron
    • Facts
      • Back pay. This is the pay the employee would have earned in your employment if not for the unlawful firing. In employment cases, there may be a time lag of three to four years between the firing and jury verdict. Thus, an employee who was earning $30k a year may be entitled to a back pay award of $90 to $120K. It’s up to you to show the employee made other income to off set this amount to be issued.
      06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron
    • Facts
      • Front pay. Most employment statutes allow for the possibility of the court ordering the employee be reinstated to (s)he former job. Often, this isn’t a possibility because of bad blood between both parties. The court has discretion and can award front pay designed to compensate the employee for, in some cases, from one to three years.
      06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron
    • Facts
      • Attorneys’ fees. It might not seem logical, but if the employee wins, you may have to pay his or her attorneys’ fees and costs. This is usually true even if the employee doesn’t win on all the claims he filed in the lawsuit. Attorneys’ fee awards can range from $50k and more.
      06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron
    • Facts
      • Pre and post judgment interest . Once a jury has made its award, the employee may be awarded interest from the time of the alleged firing until you pay the judgment.
      • Appeal costs. If you lose and decide to appeal, you’ll continue to incur legal fees as the appeal process is pursued.
      06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron
    • What’s a good employer to do?
      • Now that you’re thoroughly depressed about the prospects of having to pay for an employment lawsuit, what can you do to avoid these costs?
      • There are a number of steps that you can take to help limit the potential for litigation and the accompanying costs.
      06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron
    • How to Avoid Employee Lawsuits.
      • Explore the use of alternative dispute resolutions. The use of mandatory arbitration or other alternative dispute measures doesn’t work for everybody. But for those of you to whom it makes sense, arbitration can be a cheaper and quicker alternative to the traditional litigation system.
      06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron
    • How to Avoid Employee Lawsuits.
      • The increased importance of highly trained HR and Safety Personnel is a must.
      • The importance of highly trained Supervisors, Managers and Owners.
      • During terminations always have a witness present and seek advise from your HR Professional prior to this.
      06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron
    • How to Avoid Employee Lawsuits.
      • Ensure that your HR and Safety Representatives regularly attend law lectures annually for updating their skills and job knowledge. They are without a doubt are your first line of defense when it comes to the law and litigation. They may be indirect labor, but they can save companies thousands of dollars each year, and do so!
      06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron
    • Steps to prevention?
      • Be cautious of the reporting structure for these two positions.
      • Both of these positions should report to top management personnel. Reporting to anyone else could be a conflict of interest and hinder their performance and investigations.
      • Since HR and Safety are so intertwined and share so much information with respect to job requirements, the two positions should be considered to be placed within the same department.
      06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron
    • Steps to prevention?
      • Supervisor and Manager Training.
      • Training helps prevent employment law issues from getting out of control. In cases in which a supervisor has acted in contradiction to training that was given to them, it can also serve as a defense to claims for punitive damages.
      06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron
    • Steps to prevention?
      • Correct your mistakes. Sometimes, even the best managed companies can make mistakes. If you realize you’ve made a mistake, fixing it sooner rather than later is usually the less expensive route.
      • Ensure that your company has employment liability insurance
      06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron
    • Stop Employee Lawsuits
      • In most cases, expensive employee lawsuits could have been avoided, if only the manager or supervisor had not:
      • Said the wrong things
      • Asked the wrong questions
      • Treated employees unfairly
      • Humiliated, harassed, or retaliated against
      • Failed to act when action was required
      06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron
    • Tips For Avoiding Litigation
      • DOCUMENT - Keep well-organized records and notes. Whenever an employee contests his or her termination, employment records become the backbone of your defense.
      • Set objective standards, job descriptions and employment standards in writing and make available to every employee.
      • Ensure company expectations are conveyed to all employees.
      06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron
    • Summary
      • Bottom Line. Unfortunately, the cost of litigation now seems to be the cost of doing business in this day and time. But you can take the above steps to limit that cost and control your risk.
      • DOCUMENT! DOCUMENT! DOCUMENT!
      • Remember To Cover Your Six At All Times!
      06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron
    • Where to Get More Information
      • Local HR and Safety Committees
      • HR Business Consultants
      • Various Training Sessions
      • Books, Articles, Web Sight Sources
      • HR & Safety Software Programs
      • Local Law Offices
      06/07/09 Presentation Created By Jim Cambron