Downtown West Palm Beach
625 N. Flagler Drive
Suite 600
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Phone: (561) 659-3300
Fax: (561) 659-1911
 
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May 19, 2009
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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. When was the last time you checked the overall health of your workplace?

In these challenging times, when large numbers of employees are being terminated, it’s more important than ever for employers to have their workplaces in order. A flurry of recent laws and court decisions has heightened the need for employers to ensure that they are in compliance with a wide array of federal, state and local employment law requirements.

Benjamin Franklin’s lesson that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is more true than ever. It’s critical to establish policies, provide training and implement procedures to ensure that employers are in compliance and are not exposed to lawsuits and possible “bet-the-company” lawsuits. As an employer, you have the ability to be pro-active, control costs and contain exposure; but it does not happen automatically.
 
Courts regularly deny an otherwise valid defense and allow cases to proceed to a jury trial simply because an employer’s policies were deficient and/or the employer failed to provide simple, basic harassment training to employees. In some instances, even 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 we can help you take to protect against unnecessary risks to your business.


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 (NLRA) requirements of both union and non-union employers.
Policies and Procedures/Employee Handbook:
  • Updated harassment and discrimination (including all protected characteristics) and complaint procedures – Does it address all categories contained in the new EEOC Compliance Manual?
  • Retaliation – Do your Policies address the newly revised Family and Medical Leave Act and the ADA Amendments 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 ADA Amendments Act?
  • Workplace Safety and Weapons – What do you allow to be kept in an employee’s vehicle? Has your policy been updated to reflect the Florida guns in the workplace law?
  • Progressive Discipline – Do you need such a policy? Does it hurt you more than it helps?
  • Information Technology (including computer, internet and e-mail, voice mail, telephone and other electronic systems) and employee privacy rights – 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 protect your organization's Trade Secrets and other confidential/proprietary information?
Pre-hire:
  • Proper forms and procedures for background checks - compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • Proper forms and procedures for drug and alcohol testing - are you subject to DOT or Florida DFWP provisions?
  • 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 FLSA audit 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”)?
 
This checklist is not intended to be complete; we work with our clients to customize the checklist to meet their needs (See below).
 

The Employment Law Group of Schwarzberg & Associates dedicates its practice to providing proactive and efficient solutions for employers. Our lawyers are experienced at providing efficient and cost-effective solutions to the issues you face in your workplace including a review of your policies, procedures and handbooks and conducting diversity and sensitivity training. Contact us today to discuss the state of your workplace. If you have any questions or require assistance, please feel free to contact any of the following members of the Employment Law Group: Steve Schwarzberg, Janet Teebagy, Kerry Raleigh, Carrie Cherveny or Grace Murillo at (561) 659-3300.

 
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