Downtown West Palm Beach
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Suite 600
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Phone: (561) 659-3300
Fax: (561) 659-1911
 
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April 30 , 2007
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Employment Law Compliance Checkup

 

Your car receives tune ups, your computer has virus protection, and you see your doctor for an annual checkup.

But when is the last time your workplace had a checkup?

  • Does your harassment and anti-discrimination policy reflect the current changes in the law?
  • Does your definition of "retaliation" meet the standard recently adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court?
  • Is your arbitration agreement covering employee disputes enforceable – or do you even have one?
  • Are you familiar with “Intersectional Discrimination”? The EEOC is.
 

It’s Not Just Chatter.  The recent tempest involving Don Imus’s recent remarks has sparked massive awareness throughout our country for the need for sensitivity in general and especially in the workplace. For employers, it has also heightened the need to establish policies, provide training and implement procedures to ensure employees and their diversity are respected and the business itself is protected. What some may view as mere water cooler chatter, others may view as offensive and actionable, which may provide the basis for liability against an unwary employer.

 

Step Into The Driver’s Seat.  As an employer, you have the ability to be pro-active, control costs and contain exposure. But it does not happen automatically. Courts regularly allow cases to proceed to a jury and deny an otherwise valid defense because an employer’s policies were deficient and/or it failed to provide simple, basic harassment training to employees. Having an existing policy just doesn’t cut it anymore. Punitive damages have been awarded where the employer did not have an “active mechanism for renewing employees’ awareness of the policies through . . . specific education programs.” The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that damages may be avoided where the employer has made “good-faith” efforts to prevent harassment and discrimination including educating its personnel. An employer's exposure can be minimized with proper policies, training and follow up.

 

Consider the following Employment Law Compliance Checklist to help examine some of the simple steps you can take to protect against unnecessary risks to your business.Is Your Business Due To Be Immunized?

 

Training:

  • Annual harassment and discrimination training:
    • Supervisors/management
    • Subordinates
  • FLSA compliance training for management
  • Record keeping and document retention training:
    • Human resource-related requirements
    • Requirements for employees responsible for litigation
  • Labor relations requirements (if applicable - in unionized setting)
 

Policies and Procedures/Employee Handbook:

  • Harassment and discrimination (including all protected characteristics) and complaint procedures – Does it address all categories contained in the new EEOC Compliance Manual?
  • Retaliation – Does it cover the new Policy regarding the Family and Medical Leave Act – How is your leave calculated?
  • Policy regarding payment of overtime compensation/time records – How do you control when overtime is allowed?
  • Drug and alcohol use – Do you need to be concerned about its interaction with the Americans With Disabilities Act?
  • Workplace Safety and Weapons – What do you allow to be kept in an employee’s vehicle?
  • Progressive Discipline – Do you need such a policy and can it hurt you more than it helps?
  • Information Technology (including computer, internet and e-mail, voice mail, telephone and other electronic systems) – Who’s information is it and how is it protected?
  • Record keeping, document and electronic data retention – Will you be able to comply with the new Federal Rules?
  • Non-disclosure and confidentiality – What steps have you taken to make sure what you think is safe remains that way.
 

Pre-hire:

  • Proper forms and procedures for background checks
  • Proper forms and procedures for drug and alcohol testing
  • Pre-employment verification forms
  • Proper employment application
  • Proper job description
  • Affirmative action plan (if applicable)
  • Department Of Transportation requirements met (if applicable)
 

On-the-Job:

  • Annual review of employees/positions classified properly as exempt or non-exempt
  • Personnel files in order
  • Proper forms and procedures for benefits
  • Time records in order
  • Governmental agency requirements
  • Federal contractor requirements met (OFCCP)
  • Non-compete/non-solicitation agreements up-to-date
  • Employment agreements up-to-date
  • Do you have Employment Practices Liability Insurance (“EPLI”)?
 
The Schwarzberg & Associates Employment Law Compliance and Defense Practice Group is here to help you defend unemployment claims, develop policies, procedures, and proactive responsive measures to these and other employment related issues.  We also provide our clients with our employment law “hotline” which allows our clients, for a flat fee, to ask our employment attorneys general questions to assist in their compliance efforts.  Please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Schwarzberg & Associates Employment Law Group: Steve Schwarzberg, Carrie Cherveny, Kristin Ahr, or Grace Murillo at 561-659-3300 to obtain more information about our firm and its various employment law compliance and defense services.
 

This checklist is not meant to be an all-inclusive self-evaluation, but merely a compilation of examples of areas which frequently are overlooked or not updated timely. Further, this list does not replace advice of counsel nor does it constitute legal advice.

 
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