Many employment litigation claims concern either discrimination of some type or the wage and hour laws. Some of the main issues that come up repeatedly:
- Not paying overtime when an employee has worked more than 8 hours during a day, or 40 hours in a week
- Discrimination in the workplace. This includes religion, gender,pregnancy, age, sexual orientation, medical conditions, disabilities,race, color, national origin, etc.
Lawsuits based on any of these areas often result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in liability, even for smaller companies. You can, however, protect your business by:
- Implementing an anti-discrimination policy
- Developing and integrating mandatory training to ensure all employees learn to recognize harassment and discrimination
- Investigating all complaints right away and taking appropriate action
One discrimination complaint can cause you to become involved in legal consequences, low employee morale, financial penalties, and bad publicity. These are other ways to protect your business.
It is a company’s legal duty to conduct workplace investigations if an employee makes an internal complaint of discrimination or harassment. If you don’t, it can have serious consequences. The investigation can be conducted in several ways. Check with your Human Resources department of legal counsel about running the investigation so there are no conflicts of interest.
Make Sure Employees are Properly Classified
Another area of liability with companies is in the treatment of one as an employee or an independent contractor. If you misclassify an employee, it may impact issues like the payment of overtime and employment taxes. To determine if a worker should be classified as an employee or independent contractor, three categories must be evaluated:
- Financial control– Are there aspects of the worker’s job that are controlled by you, such as how they are paid, when they are required to report to and leave work? Do you reimburse for expenses? Do you provide necessary tools for the person to complete their job? If you answered yes to these questions, the person is considered an employee.
- Behavioral control– Do you control or have the right to control what the person does and how they perform their job? If your answer is yes, the worker is an employee.
- Type of relationship– Do you provide employee-type benefits, such as vacation pay, pension plan, or insurance? Will the relationship continue and the work the person is performing be a key aspect of your business? If you answer yes to these questions, the person is an employee.
If you are in doubt about a person’s classification, check with the employment and labor law experts at Danz Law.
Audit Your Company’s Employment Practices and Insurance Coverage
The best way to ensure your company is protecting itself against legal claims is to have a review of your policies and agreements with workers. Talk to the employment law experts at Danz Law to determine what you have and what you need. Some insurance policies your company may need to consider are general liability, employment practices liability, professional liability, product liability, or the new concerns for cyber and data liability.
Where to Learn More About Protecting Your Business
Danz Law is dedicated to helping employers throughout South Florida. Everyone on our team has the tools to get the job done right as our employment and labor law practice focuses on this one mission. We are ready to defend your business and have the experience representing employers to understand the challenges you might be facing. Call today and we’ll find the right solution to protect your business.