In the region where we practice, the borders of three states converge. This can create unique legal dynamics. For example, if an employer in one state hires a worker from one of the others, determining applicable employment laws may become complicated.
There are those who argue that relationships between employers and employees today are more like marriages than the cash-for-labor construct that has dominated the labor market since the start of the industrial age. Indeed, some economists suggest that in the past 20 years, employer benefits have emphasized supporting employee emotional needs over wages.
With such a wide variety of potential employment law issues, it can be tempting simply to advise supervisors to notify human resources whenever one arises. That may be a smart policy, as HR professionals generally have a broad understanding of how labor and employment issues are regulated. However, a misstatement or misunderstanding by a supervisor could result in unnecessary liability for your company.
Many organizations require some or all of their employees to sign noncompete or nondisclosure agreements as a condition of employment. How are such agreements enforced? Often, the injured organization goes to court in pursuit of an injunction barring the offending employee from breaching the agreement.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling that is one of the most important in recent history for employers and workers. The court heard three consolidated cases regarding employee contracts and mandated individual arbitration for wage and hour disputes. It ruled 5 to 4 that employees may not collectively arbitrate labor issues if they have signed contracts that mandate individual arbitration.
If your company hires summer workers, it is important to realize that their lack of experience and low position in the company hierarchy may make them especially vulnerable to discrimination and harassment. Interns and students may also be treated less formally than other employees, which may encourage some people to feel they are fair game for romantic relationships and casual friendships.
It can be frustrating to settle a discrimination complaint. Most business owners would prefer to be vindicated. There are many good business reasons for settlement, however, such as limiting the lost time, cost and disruption a lawsuit can involve.
When an employee leaves your company, it's quite possible that they will already be connected with their former coworkers and even your clients on social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. They may even announce their job change on those social networks. Could that violate the customer and employee non-solicitation agreements they have with you?
Employment restrictions such as noncompete and nondisclosure agreements are popular with many employers. While they can limit the loss of important data, proprietary information, and key personnel, however, they do have downsides.
Unnecessary unemployment insurance claims hurt your bottom line. If you believe one of your former workers should be disqualified from receiving UI benefits, you should file a protest with the Division of Unemployment Insurance. If you don't file a protest, your reserve account will be charged.