This is Part Two of 10 Employment Law Mistakes Businesses Should Avoid. Remember, if you have any questions, contact Stacia directly.
- Not training supervisors regarding EEO laws. Federal, state, and local equal employment opportunity (EEO) law regulations prohibit businesses from demoting, terminating or taking other adverse actions against personnel for reasons not related to an employee’s job performance, including those determined by an employee’s race, color, sex, age, disability, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, and marital status ( to call the commonest “protected characteristics”), plus retaliation for an employee’s good faith complaints of discrimination. It is imperative that supervisors learn the way to manage personnel without violating, or appearing to violate, these legal guidelines.
- Not providing reasonable accommodations for staff members with disabilities. Most EEO law regulations prohibit businesses from taking adverse actions against personnel depending on certain protected characteristics, but disability discrimination legal guidelines also impose an affirmative obligation on businesses to “reasonably accommodate” people with disabilities to make it easier for them to perform the main functions of the jobs. Such accommodations might include restructuring job duties, modifying work schedules, or providing assistive devices. Businesses have to give a disabled employee with needed accommodations unless the process would cause an “undue hardship” for the enterprise (e.g., not affordable, too disruptive).
- Not obtaining releases from terminated workers. When terminating a worker, businesses need to get a release that waives the employee’s potential legal claims against the company. The easiest way to get a release is in exchange for an offer of severance where appropriate. Generally, businesses are not required to pay severance to workers unless it’s essential to an employment contract or possibly a collective bargaining agreement. If they choose to do this (e.g., associated with layoffs), they ought to require staff members to sign a release in substitution for the payment.
- Not protecting confidential enterprise information. Every organization depends upon certain vital, often confidential, specifics of its enterprise operations. Trade secrets, marketing and advertising practices, and customer and client lists are just a few examples. Access to this information needs to be restricted to personnel with a “need to know” and really should be protected by appropriate non-disclosure, non-compete, and/or non-solicitation agreements depending on the nature of the information and also the employee’s position.
- Not consulting a certified employment law attorney. Perhaps the only most significant point to take away from this discussion is that businesses should always consult a professional employment lawyer to ensure they are in compliance with all the increasingly numerous and complex legislation that carpet businesses just like a minefield. Large corporations normally have attorneys and recruiting professionals within the company to help them in this field. Small- and medium-size corporations often do not. Their biggest mistake, unfortunately, is attempting to navigate this minefield blindly.
Did you find yourself in any of these?
About the Author: Stacia W. Abner writes for labor law training courses, her personal blog where she writes about her experience as defense attorney to assist workers and corporations handle the facets of employment law.