A managers guide to employment law : how to protect your company and yourself

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Many handbooks are written from the negative "shall not" perspective. Some of the most effective manuals, however, are those written from a positive perspective. Company History. While not required, a brief section discussing the company's history and its mission can help set the tone for an employee handbook. Rowson says this section can include discussions of a company mission statement, what is its reason for being, who are its customers, what is its position in the marketplace, etc.

Paid Time-Off Policy. This section spells out the company's vacation policy, such as how vacation time is earned, and how to schedule time off.

Your staff are your most valuable asset – choose wisely

It should also spell out which holidays the company observes, including which holidays the company closes for and, if the company is a restaurant or other business that stays open on holidays, how employees will be compensated for working the holiday. You may also want to address sick leave, family medical leave, and other types of leave, such as military spousal leave. Employee Behavior. Under this heading, you can discuss the attendance policy, meal breaks and rest periods, and general expectations of employee conduct.

This can include stating a policy against employee harassment discrimination, bans on smoking, a substance abuse policy, how employees may use the Internet or e-mail, and a dress code -- if you have the latter. You may want to address how employees should handle conflict resolution. Make this section very general in nature.

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Pay and Promotions. Spell out your methods of payment and let employees know whether they will be paid every week or every two weeks or whatever. This is where you state your overtime policy, define work hours, and discuss your pay grade structure so that people know where they fit in the hierarchy, Rowson says. Cooper cautions that if you spell out a company policy for advancement that you need to remember that the company and its managers all need to buy into that policy. In this section, provide employees with a general overview of the benefits you offer in terms of health care, dental, vision, life insurance, etc.


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Do talk about who is eligible, whether only full-time employees or if part-time employees are offered a pro-rated benefits package, address that, as well. List the criteria for eligibility, when you can enroll in benefits, and what the critical life events are during which you can change benefits -- such as a marriage or birth of a child. After all the information is assembled into an employee handbook, make sure to vet the document before distributing it to employees.

If at all possible, an attorney should be involved in preparing the handbook. And Policies Now is a deluxe program hrtools. Editorial Disclosure: Inc. These articles are editorially independent - that means editors and reporters research and write on these products free of any influence of any marketing or sales departments.

In other words, no one is telling our reporters or editors what to write or to include any particular positive or negative information about these products or services in the article. Sometimes, your employee handbook may also dictate to whom you should take your complaints about harassment, and we recommend you consult with those terms to make sure you are following the right steps. For instance, in smaller companies without a Human Resources department, your supervisor may be the best person for your complaints.

If your employer does NOT have a harassment policy in place, or if it has not been sufficiently communicated to you and your co-workers, you should contact an employment lawyer to determine the best steps to handle your concerns.

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These two steps—lodging a timely complaint and reporting to the appropriate supervisor—are incredibly important stages that should not be bypassed. Also, this will set in motion the investigation—a key piece to your sexual harassment claim. Once you report your complaint, the Human Resource representative or supervisor to whom you have reported should begin to investigate by questioning you, the accused, any supervisors, and any witnesses there might be. An employment lawyer can assist you in understanding how to comply with this important step in your claims.

Please note that such complaints may be subject to a statute of limitations, so if you have concerns about harassment, you should not delay in seeking legal advice. Oftentimes, sexual harassment occurs behind closed doors. But just because there were no witnesses does not mean that all hope is lost. If the harassment is in the form of quid pro quo , where an employment decision is based on submission to a requested sexual favor or advance, there will very possibly be no other witnesses, as such requests are often made outside the presence of others.

Read more about how to tell if you have been sexually harassed here.

As employment lawyers, we recommend that you consult an lawyer so that you can know what to expect and reduce the number of surprises along the way. A sexual harassment lawyer can help you to identify these options. Also, keep in mind that even if your harasser is found to be guilty, he or she may continue to be your colleague. It is important that you voice to your employer or the investigator what your wishes are. What would you like to see happen as a result? Would you like to keep your job? By consulting legal help, you will feel better equipped when it comes to dealing with your employer.

There are many kinds of contracts that an employee may encounter during the period of employment. There are potential opportunities to negotiate the terms of an employment contract, depending on what those contracts are. Your failure to understand them may not protect you in the event that you breach or violate those agreements. This type of agreement is valid under Florida law, therefore there is a potential for negotiation. At the same time, however, you do run the risk of losing the opportunity for that severance because they are also not required under Florida law.

Severance agreements in Florida are like a gift from an employer, so even a dollar of severance may be a dollar more than what the employer is obligated to provide to you. We understand that you want to get as much out of your severance as possible, which may require negotiating the terms. Therefore, while there can be latitude for negotiating most contracts, it can be a slippery slope that is best handled with the guidance of an employment lawyer.

Unfortunately, there is no express Anti-Workplace Bullying act or law currently in effect in Florida. While some laws may prohibit workplace violence, such as the Occupational Health and Safety Act, or protect two or more employees who band together to improve the conditions of the workplace, like the National Labor Relations Act, the applicability of these laws depends on the circumstances. In many situations, rude actions by your boss or coworker may not be illegal. Some bosses may simply lack efficient and effective communication and management skills to deal with employees.

The question of whether you have the right to take action against your employer or whether you have other legal recourse available to you depends on the specific context and circumstances involved in your situation. We offer telephonic consultations and video teleconferencing through Skype and FaceTime in addition to meeting with you in our offices. Certain federal and state employment laws protect the rights of employees to work in a safe workplace free from harassment or abuse.

It is illegal to harass employees based on their gender, age, pregnancy, color, race, national origin, medical condition, sexual orientation, or disability. Continued abuseby your employer or boss that is based on any of these attributes may constitute a hostile workplace claim against your employer. To bolster your claim, witnesses and other evidence that the conduct has been ongoing, persistent, and unwarranted is helpful.

Most employers have a procedure for disciplinary actions within the company, especially larger companies with many employees. The procedures are intended to allow an employer the opportunity to remedy the situation before an employee elects to take further legal action.. You should read and understand the disciplinary policies of the company.

However, just because the Handbook dictates a certain procedure does not mean you do not have other legal remedies for your work issues. These questions may be properly addressed by seeking counsel from a Florida employment lawyer. Terminated based on discrimination? On Sept 18 I was given a Separation Agreement with a lump sum payment offer. I was told it was not based on performance by…. Wrongly fired for lack of attendance?

I was fired from my company because they stated I had consistent lack of attendance, but I have copies of my time sheets that prove…. Not paid out my accumulated vacation and sick days when terminated? I was doing…. Wrongful termination and falsifying work documents… I was terminated by my district manager for no apparent reason, though random reasons were sighted on a Performance Improvement Plan. At the time my…. Fired after being harassed? I was warned by others in the…. Whistleblower termination… I was terminated as a performance supervisor for filing a complaint on a fellow supervisor for breaking the zero tolerance policy.

He verbally assaulted me…. Fired for talking about illegal employment practices? I was in Florida at will employee. While my employer did not have to give any reason at all, the COO of the company decided…. Can I have an incorrect reason of termination changed? I have worked in the same medical practice for 23 years. I had the most seniority and benefits. Fired after client incident? I worked as an RN in a Section 35 facility where a client eloped out the building and up into a dangerous location in between….

Termination in North Carolina during 90 day probationary period? In October , I gave my resignation at my current SC employer and relocated to North Carolina to accept a position with another company. Given a choice to be fired or quit because of an overuse injury? I was just…. Former boss lied to unemployment?


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    How long after I lose my job can I file for wrongful termination? I lost my job after working there 14 years because I called in sick in the same week my parents both died. I was a…. Fired over schedule change? I asked a coworker to switch days off with me because I am going out of town. I asked the boss afterwards and she changed…. Wrongful allegations of misconduct? Can I sue the people involved in my wrongful termination personally? They investigated the case and agreed with me, giving…. Wrongful Termination Pain and Suffering… I am planning to negotiate with a former employer.

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