Employment Law Advice for Small to Medium Businesses

For those of you who are starting a business or to existing business owners, the rules surrounding employment law can become very complicated when you are looking to employ other people. However, as difficult as it may be, it is important for you to become familiar with these rules in order to comply with you legal responsibilities as an employer. Different laws will apply to different countries, so it is essential to become aware of the laws that will be applicable to you so that you can protect your business and prevent any future litigation. Here are some main areas of employment law that you will need to be familiar with.

Contract of Employment

It will be necessary to provide your employees with a written statement of the terms of employment when they start their employment with you. The main topics you would need to account for within the terms of employment, include, the name of the parties to the agreement, job description, hours of work, details of pay, both employer and employee obligations, place of work and holiday pay entitlement. Although this list is not complete and you may want to add some extra

Do Privately Owned Companies Get Away With More FLSA and EEOC Violations

In the purest definition, privately owned companies do not need to meet the same strict Securities and Exchange Commission filing requirements as do public companies. This means they are not required by law (in most instances) to disclose detailed financial and operating information; they have much more latitude in deciding what types of information to make available to the public.

But what of other employment practices? Recruitment, hiring processes, retention and termination policies? Are privately owned businesses exempt from federal labor laws? The simple answer is no.

If you’ve found yourself working for a privately owned business that is engaged in wrongful labor practices you might be unsure of where to go and to whom to report your misgivings. Should you contact a private attorney? Is there an agency you can call and report your concerns?

Reporting FLSA Violations

The Fair Labor Standards Act [FLSA] is a federal statute of the United States. It is a compliance based statute that ensures companies are following federal labor guidelines. FLSA regulations could affect a wide range of your employment policy, including (among other areas) wages and overtime pay. So, do these compliance guidelines affect employees in

Low-wage workers pay the price of nickel-and-diming by employers

The continuing push for higher minimum wages across the country has much to recommend it, but the campaign shouldn’t keep us from recognizing a truly insidious practice that impoverishes low-wage workers all the more. It’s known as wage theft.

Wage theft, as documented in surveys, regulatory actions and lawsuits from around the country, takes many forms: Forcing hourly employees off the clock by putting them to work before they can clock in or after they clock out. Manipulating their time cards to cheat them of overtime pay. Preventing them from taking legally mandated breaks or shaving down their lunch hours. Disciplining or firing them for filing lawful complaints.

Nickel-and-diming pays well, for the employer.

A study published in 2010 by a network of employment rights organizations calculated that employment and labor law violations cost low-wage workers in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles alone an estimated $56.4 million a week. In Los Angeles, where the survey was conducted by UCLA’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, the respondents lost an

Management/Employee Liabilities When to Call in a Coach

Management styles can differ between reasonable people. Some employees respond more effectively to a more forceful approach while some employees react better when individually empowered. When employers fail to employ proper motivational techniques, productivity and morale may suffer. Employers who do not understand the nature of the problem may exacerbate it with ham fisted approaches. It is in these situations where executive coaches can be useful.

Increasing Organizational Morale

Morale is important for any business. Poor organizational morale will lead to friction between the organization’s various departments and an unwillingness to voice concerns to management. Interdepartmental friction and poor communication between organizational strata will substantially reduce productivity and decrease the amount of valid information that managers have to make vital decisions.

Low morale can also lead to high turnover. New employees must be oriented, trained, and otherwise integrated into the organization while departing employees take their training and skills to competitors. Employee retention is a problem for many businesses. There is a tendency among certain managers to dismiss elevated turnover rates as seasonal fluctuations or attribute them to external factors. While a consultant can be brought

Rescinding Of A Determined Employment Contract

With the right to employment comes another essential related right which is the right to choice of one’s employment. The right to choice of one’s employment gives the freedom to people to undertake work of their own choice and not toil in the field in which they do not wish to put their labor. Laboring against the will of one’s self can be considered to be forced labor which is illegal in UAE and most of the other countries in the world. Employment contract is an agreement between the employer and the employee where the employee agrees to work for the employer for a fixed period of time and for a specific job – role. Employment contracts sometimes do not fix the duration of employment in which case the contract is known as an undetermined contract whereas determined employment contracts are contracts that bind the employee to the employer for a fixed period of time. Employment contracts are not considered as forms of forced labor as both the employee and employer willingly enter into it but in the long run it may be considered as forced labor as the main aim to fix a duration is to ensure

5 Tips For Employees Facing Security Clearance Issues

The following are 5 easy tips for federal employees and government contractors to consider when they face potential problem areas in the processing of their security clearances. Usually, an applicant first discovers a potential problem when they begin to review the principal form used to apply for such clearances, the SF-86 / e-QIP. Quite often the issue arises from a review of a question that cannot be answered with a clear “no.” (example: Have you been arrested in the past 7 years?).

Some quick tips for a clearance applicant include the following:

1. Be Honest: This is one of the most basic and important tips. It is often not the underlying issue that results in a security clearance denial (example: an arrest for driving under the influence), but rather when the clearance applicant is not truthful about the incident. It is a lot easier for an attorney to mitigate security clearance concerns involving an arrest, than it is to defend against an allegation that an individual was not honest in their initial application.

2. Advance Preparation for Security Clearance Problem Areas: If an individual is aware that there could potentially be a security clearance

Starting a Business in Azerbaijan

Emil is a young computer programmer. His friend Ali is a web designer. They live in sunny Baku- the capital city of Azerbaijan. They have a dream – to establish an IT company and grow it into a large company. But they know that starting and doing business requires complying with laws. They also want to attract investments in the future.
Emin and Ali approached Remells Law Firm for a legal advice. Remells has advised them as follows:
Corporate Registration
Remells recommended Emil and Ali establish a limited liability company. Emil and Ali have established “XYZ” limited liability company (hereafter – XYZ LLC).
Sole Entrepreneur: There are several ways of conducting

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business in Azerbaijan. One can do business as a sole entrepreneur. A person needs to register with the Azerbaijani tax authorities to obtain the status of a sole entrepreneur. The tax authority issues the entrepreneur a tax ID (Azerbaijani: VOEN) and the person fulfills his/her tax obligations using that tax ID. However, there are certain risks of being a sole entrepreneur. Sole entrepreneur’s liability is not limited. For instance, assume Emil and Ali create a product and

The Risks of Mistakenly Treating “Employees” As Independent Contractors

Small businesses often prefer to treat workers as independent contractors for any number of reasons: avoiding the bother of calculating and paying employee withholdings; escaping the employer’s required expenses for unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, and other costs; and, freedom from overtime and other wage and hour regulations. In short, treating employees as “independent contractors” can exert a strong attraction on a small business.

Like many other strong temptations, treating an employee as an independent contractor can also lead directly to hell if the employee is not one. The litany of hellish consequences, both for an employer and for its responsible officers and equity owners, is sobering.

First there are the unpaid withholdings for which not only the employer but also its responsible officers and directors may have joint and several personal liability. Officers, directors, members, managers, partners and limited liability partners are also personally liable, jointly and severally, with their business entity and each other for all claims’ costs, civil penalties and attorney fees if it’s determined that the ” independent contractor” was really an “employee” when they were injured while working. ORS 656.735.

When a misclassified employee is injured on the job, they

Pre-existing Injuries and New York State Workers’ Comp Fraud

When most people think of workers’ compensation fraud, they envision the supposedly injured worker caught on video putting a new roof on his home. However, New York State workers’ comp fraud can take on many forms, and the results can be unanticipated and potentially devastating.

New York Comp Law section 114(a)(1) provides for various penalties if a claimant “knowingly makes a false statement or representation as to a material fact…” The penalty is mandatory forfeiture of any compensation directly attributable to the false statement, with an additional discretionary penalty of a permanent disqualification. Of note is the fact that this applies only to weekly payments and permanency awards as medical benefits are not subject to a fraud finding.

Of course, the easy cases are those where the allegedly disabled worker is either caught in the act of working or is seen engaged in activities entirely inconsistent with the medical reports. If the claimant denies work activities or exaggerates his symptoms, subsequent contrary evidence in the form of surveillance reports and video virtually assures a fraud finding.

However, what happens when a claimant has a prior injury to the same part of the body? In the Matter of Losurdo v. Asbestos Free,

When You Find Out Your Employee’s Medical Leave of Absence Was Really Spent at Disneyland

Dishonest workplace absences are nothing new. In fact, over 30 per cent of employees have called in sick when they’re not actually sick, according to a national CareerBuilder survey of more than 3,400 workers across varying industries and company sizes.

Outside of one-to-two day medical leaves, what can employer’s do when faced with a long term medical leave of absence that might be fraudulent?

Back to Bob Smith, for example. There’s no debating that Diane Jones does have a new Disney coffee mug sitting on her desk. But how should the employer handle the situation?

Before accusing Bob of ditching work for the theme park, first verify what is correct and current:

  • Is it possible Bob ordered the gifts on line?
  • Is it possible the gifts had been sitting in Bob’s closet since his last vacation?
  • Were the gifts really even from Bob? Is there nefarious intent on the co-workers part in revealing this recent ‘gift’ information?

Unfortunately, most employers don’t have the time or the resources to enact detective-like investigations when determining the legitimacy of absences. The key in these medical leaves is to look at the surrounding circumstances to determine if the