Employment law governs the legal rights, obligations, and relationships between employers and employees in the workplace. These laws were put into place to protect the interests of both employers and employees by establishing standards for fair and equitable treatment in the workplace, and cover a broad range of issues including:
- Hours worked
- Job security
- Discrimination/harassment in the workplace
Understanding employment law can help businesses operate more efficiently, as well as comply with the legal system to minimize the likelihood of penalties.
Employment Law and Your Business
Proactive HR and employment law practices are essential for any business, regardless of size. Taking the time to establish policies and procedures early on can help prevent legal issues and disputes from arising at some point in the future.
Having established rules and procedures that all employees must follow also ensures that everyone is on the same page when it comes to their responsibilities and obligations. Additionally, proactive HR and employment law practices can mitigate potential risks and liabilities associated with workplace issues such as:
- Wrongful termination claims
Establishing clear guidelines around acceptable behavior in the workplace will encourage respectful interactions between colleagues while helping to maintain productivity levels.
Plus, investing in preventative measures such as regular training sessions on topics like anti-discrimination laws or safety protocols can potentially save companies thousands of dollars by avoiding costly lawsuits due to noncompliance with regulations or other violations of employee rights.
Proactive HR and employment law practice not only creates a better working environment for employees but can lead to long-term cost savings over time.
The Role of the Government in Employment Law
The Department of Labor (DOL) is heavily involved in both establishing legislation, as well as enforcing it. 2 cornerstone pieces of legislation are as follows:
- The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that guarantees baseline wage regulations across the nation, including overtime pay requirements, as well as exemptions from these rules based on employee status or job duties. The FLSA requires employers to keep accurate records of their employees’ hours worked and wages paid out.
- The Family Medical and Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that mandates eligible employees be entitled to a maximum of twelve weeks off work annually, with no loss in wages or job security, for medical reasons including childbirth and health concerns affecting either themselves or their family members.
Outside of the DOL, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing employment-related discrimination, as outlined by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act forbids any kind of discrimination on the basis of:
- National origin
- Age over 40 years old
And lastly, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for legislation regarding hazardous materials, procedures, and protective equipment use while operating machinery. Companies found guilty of not adhering to OSHA standards may be subject to expensive fines, and in certain instances, even criminal charges.
Common HR and Employment Law Issues for Businesses
Some of the most common HR and employment issues are as follows:
- Discrimination and Harassment Claims. Discrimination and harassment claims are some of the most common HR and employment law issues businesses face.
- Discrimination occurs when an employee is treated differently or unfairly because of their race, gender, age, religion, disability status, and/or sexual orientation.
- Harassment encompasses any unwelcome verbal or physical act that creates a hostile atmosphere in the workplace.
- Employees Contracts and Agreements. Employers should have written contracts with each employee so there is no confusion regarding expectations. These contracts constitute legal documents that set the specifics of a working relationship between both parties. These agreements typically include:
- Details about wages
- Hours worked
- Job duties
- Benefits offered by the company
- Applicable non-compete clauses or confidentiality provisions
Unfortunately, wage disputes often arise when an employer neglects to compensate their employees according to state or federal laws. Employers must take steps to guarantee compliance with relevant laws to stay away from expensive lawsuits.
- Employee Termination & Severance. When terminating an employee, it’s important for employers to understand – and follow – the correct processes from a legal standpoint, since depending on the circumstances surrounding the termination, different standards may apply.
Reasons for Hiring an Attorney for HR and Employment Law Issues
An experienced business lawyer in West Palm Beach will have extensive knowledge about relevant state and federal laws so they can provide advice specific to your organization’s needs. This includes:
- Providing cost-effective solutions that save businesses time and money
- Managing risk by ensuring that employment laws are properly followed
- Preventing errors due to accidental errors that stem from simply not knowing all the subtle nuances of the law
- Aiding in the prevention of expensive litigation costs
Additionally, they can assist with:
- Developing effective policies
- Negotiating contracts
- Conducting investigations into complaints
- Filing paperwork for H1B applications
- Representing your interests during labor disputes
At the end of the day, having an attorney available for consultations helps to ensure processes remain efficient and effective, while simultaneously protecting business interests.
Given these benefits, it’s easy to see why hiring an attorney who specializes in HR and employment law should be considered an investment rather than an expense for any business owner.
Choosing the Right West Palm Beach Business Attorney for HR and Employment Law Issues
Finding the right attorney for HR and employment law issues is essential to ensure that your legal needs are met, and your rights are protected. When selecting a lawyer for HR/employment matters, it is important to consider certain criteria, such as:
- Knowledge of relevant state and federal statutes, regulations, and industry norms pertinent to HR and employment law.
- Knowledge of your business’s specific needs and goals so they can provide tailored advice that meets your objectives.
- Availability and responsiveness. You should be able to contact your West Palm Beach business attorney at any time, by either phone or email.
- Transparency. The more open and honest your lawyer is about their fees, services, and timelines for the completion of tasks, the better equipped you will be to make informed decisions regarding their representation of your company’s interests.
Get Help Today
Fetterman Law specializes in personal injury, workers’ compensation, criminal defense, and other areas of law. Our team of West Palm Beach business attorney’s have years of experience representing clients throughout South Florida, and are dedicated to providing personalized attention and quality service to all of our clients.
HR and employment law issues can be complex and confusing. Can you really afford to try and navigate through everything on your own?
Contact us today for a complimentary discussion about your HR and employment needs, as well as how we can help, so that you can get back to doing what you fdo best: running your business.