59 Employment Law Tips

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Popular employment law presentation for business owners and managers. Includes tips on job descriptions, hiring, new hire documents, harassment, employee handbooks, performance evaluations, employee discipline & employee termination.

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59 Employment Law Tips

  1. 1. 59 Employment Law Tips 59 in Minutes 2002-10 © Alan J. Thayer, Jr. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. Presented as an educational service by
  3. 3. Oregon Business Attorney Alan Thayer
  4. 4. Could you survive a costly employee lawsuit?
  5. 5. 53 % of businesses have been sued by employees - Jackson Lewis/SHRM Survey (2003)
  6. 6. Right Now 150,000 U.S. businesses are being sued by their employees - USA Today (2002)
  7. 7. 450 Employee lawsuits filed each day - Nations Business (Feb 1, 1998)
  8. 8. Employees win 63 % of all employment cases - Jury Verdict Research
  9. 9. Employees win 72 % of all race discrimination cases - Jury Verdict Research
  10. 10. Employees win 74 % of all sex discrimination cases - Jury Verdict Research
  11. 11. $553,761 Average employment case verdict - Jury Verdict Research
  12. 12. $671,668 Average whistle blower verdict - Jury Verdict Research
  13. 13. $839,212 Average verdict against manufacturers - Jury Verdict Research
  14. 14. Employee lawsuits are the greatest litigation risk. - U.S. Corporate Litigation Trends Survey Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. 2004
  15. 15. 59 Employment Law Tips
  16. 16. 1 Assume a current, former or potential employee will sue you.
  17. 17. 2 You can not predict which employee will sue you.
  18. 18. Job Descriptions
  19. 19. Always provide 3 applicants & candidates for advancement with a written job description.
  20. 20. Use your job 4 description when an injured worker seeks to return to work too soon.
  21. 21. Hiring
  22. 22. 5 Always, always, always have applicants SIGN your form of employment application.
  23. 23. 6 Have applicants certify the information they provide is accurate.
  24. 24. 7 Have applicants promise to follow all of your rules, regulations & policies.
  25. 25. Have applicants acknowledge that you 8 may not have any job openings.
  26. 26. 9 Have applicants agree that you may investigate their backgrounds.
  27. 27. 10 Have applicants authorize schools & prior employers to talk to you.
  28. 28. 11 Have applicants acknowledge you are an at-will employer.
  29. 29. 12 Have applicants authorize deductions from their final paychecks.
  30. 30. 13 Have applicants acknowledge that their application is valid for only 30 days.
  31. 31. 14 Have applicants agree that any disputes will be resolved by arbitration.
  32. 32. 15 Return all unsolicited resumes.
  33. 33. 16 Use separate release forms for each reference, school & prior employer.
  34. 34. New Hire Documents
  35. 35. 17 Have new hires sign dispute resolution agreements.
  36. 36. 18 Have new hires sign noncompetition agreements when appropriate.
  37. 37. 19 Have new hires sign separate confidentiality agreements.
  38. 38. 20 Have new hires sign separate nonsolicitation agreements.
  39. 39. 21 Save your employees’ I-9 forms in a separate I-9 file.
  40. 40. 22 Safeguard key documents signed by employees.
  41. 41. Harassment
  42. 42. 23 Have EVERY employee sign an UP-TO-DATE harassment policy.
  43. 43. 24 Remind your employees of your harassment policy regularly.
  44. 44. Employee Handbooks
  45. 45. 25 Use an employee handbook to communicate your expectations to your employees & to document your policies.
  46. 46. 26 Draft a customized handbook - one size does not fit all employers.
  47. 47. 27 Do not limit your ability to deal with employee problems on a case-by- case basis.
  48. 48. 28 Update your handbook EVERY YEAR.
  49. 49. 29 DO NOT copy the handbook of another employer.
  50. 50. 30 Review your handbook before taking disciplinary action against an employee.
  51. 51. Make it easy for 31 employees to express complaints & concerns.
  52. 52. 32 Make it easy to request accommodations for disabilities & religious observances.
  53. 53. Performance Evaluations
  54. 54. 33 DO NOT promise to give performance evaluations on any particular schedule.
  55. 55. Give honest, accurate & constructive 34 performance evaluations in writing.
  56. 56. 35 Base evaluations on the employee’s job duties (use job description).
  57. 57. 36 Objective evaluations minimize unfairness & manager bias.
  58. 58. 37 State any corrective action required & consequences for failure to improve.
  59. 59. 38 Have managers review all evaluations with another manager before giving the evaluation to the employee.
  60. 60. 39 Give employees an opportunity to discuss the evaluation with their manager.
  61. 61. 40 Give employees an opportunity to note any comments on the evaluation before signing.
  62. 62. 41 Periodically review evaluations to ensure they are consistently applied by each manager.
  63. 63. 42 Counsel any managers whose reviews appear to be inconsistent.
  64. 64. Employee Discipline
  65. 65. 43 Your warnings for misconduct should contain two vital elements.
  66. 66. 1. Describe what the employee is doing wrong.
  67. 67. 2. State the consequences if the behavior continues.
  68. 68. 44 ALWAYS document a verbal warning in writing immediately after it is given.
  69. 69. 45 Always deliver written warnings in person & document what was said in writing immediately after the meeting.
  70. 70. 46 Conduct an impartial investigation of complaints against an employee before making a discipline decision.
  71. 71. 47 Interview the accused employee, tell them of the complaint & allow them to tell their side of the story.
  72. 72. 48 Allow employees (union or non-union) to have a representative present during their interview if requested.
  73. 73. 49 Interview other witnesses that may have knowledge of events relating to the complaint.
  74. 74. 50 Have all statements contradicting the employee documented in writing & signed by the witnesses.
  75. 75. 51 Consider having legal counsel conduct the investigation & interviews.
  76. 76. 52 If the investigation concludes that disciplinary action is required, review the employee’s disciplinary record.
  77. 77. Review the discipline imposed in 53 similar situations in the past.
  78. 78. 54 Balance the seriousness of the conduct with the employee’s overall record to determine the appropriate discipline.
  79. 79. 55 Document the results of your investigation & the reasons for any disciplinary actions.
  80. 80. Employee Termination
  81. 81. 56 Avoid summary terminations - take time to investigate & document the reasons for termination.
  82. 82. 57 DO NOT wait until Friday to terminate an employee.
  83. 83. 58 Tell the truth about the termination.
  84. 84. 59 Have terminated employees sign a written Severance Agreement releasing you from liability.
  85. 85. Employer Strategies 1 TakeCharge! Supervisor Guide 2 TakeCharge! Employment Forms 3 TakeCharge! Employee Handbook 4 Update Continually
  86. 86. Legal compliance can become a competitive advantage for you.
  87. 87. Oregon Business Attorney Alan Thayer welcomes your questions and comments 541-345-2325 • www.thinkILG.com • alan@thinkILG.com

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