Before a Closing or Layoff, WARN Your Employees

Were you aware that before closing a plant or laying off a large number of employees you may be required to provide advance notice to the affected employees? Many employers are not aware of this requirement.  The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires that some usdol_seal_circa_2015_svgemployers give employees at least 60 days’ advance notice prior to certain plant closings and mass layoffs.

Employers with 100 or more employees must comply with the WARN Act.  The 100 employee count does not include employees who have worked less than 6 months in the last 12 months or those employees who work less than 20 hours per week. It’s important to note that even though these employees are not included in the employee count, they still must be provided notification at least 60 days before a plant closing or mass layoff. Continue reading

Yes, That’s an At Will Employee – But Documentation is Still Important!

In all states but Montana, employees are generally considered to be have “at will” employment meaning that either party (the employee or the employer) can terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without notice, and for any reason or no reason at all (outside of reasons prohibited by law).  Most employers have established policies to create the at will employment as it is beneficial both to the business and the employees. In other cases employers create employment contracts with employees which generally specifically address reasons for termination and how a termination should be handled.  Continue reading

What If An Employee Refuses to Sign a Written Memo or Agreement?

paperclip-178126_1920What can you do when an employee refuses to sign a memo, agreement, or notice you prepare as notice of disciplinary action?  Don’t get angry. Don’t get sidetracked into an argument with the employee.  You have three options:

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Caution: Some Employee Conduct is Protected

Fire an employee for the wrong reason — or in the wrong situation — and the employee could claim retaliation and file a lawsuit.

Several activities by employees are off-limits to retaliatory actions such as firing or disciplinary action.  Any retaliation by the employer could spell potential legal trouble, such as a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Here are three areas of protected employee conduct:

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Workplace Retaliation: Reduce the Chances of a Claim

In order to prevent illegal retaliation from occurring in your workplace, you have to understand some basic definitions:

  • Retaliation occurs when an employer takes an adverse action against a covered individual because he or she engaged in a protected activity.
  • An adverse action is taken to keep someone from opposing a discriminatory or harassing practice or participating in an employment discrimination proceeding. Examples of adverse actions include terminating an employee, denying a promotion and giving an unjustified negative performance evaluation.
  • For purposes of federal employment laws administered by the EEOC, covered individuals are people who have opposed unlawful practices, participated in proceedings, or requested accommodations related to employment discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, or disability.  Individuals who have a close association with someone who has engaged in protected activity are also covered.  For example, it is illegal to terminate an employee because his employee-spouse participated in employment discrimination litigation.  Note: In addition to the employment laws administered by the EEOC, retaliation can occur against individuals who may be protected by other federal, state, or local laws.  This includes the federal Family Medical Leave Act and whistleblower laws that bring attention to ethical, financial, or other concerns
  • Protected activity includes opposing a practice believed to be unlawful discrimination.  For example, an employee complaining about treatment he or she believes is discriminatory — directed at the employee or a co-worker.  Protected activity also includes participation in an employment discrimination proceeding or requesting a reasonable accommodation based on religion or disability.

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Top 13 Common Firing Mistakes Made by Managers

Firing an employee is never an easy task, however there are certain mistakes you can make which can land your company in hot water.  Read the list below of 13 of the most common mistakes managers make when terminating an employee. Continue reading

Dilemma: How Long to Hold a Job Open

Occasionally, employees want or need to be away from work after they question-685060_1280have used up all their accrued vacation, paid sick leave, and paid personal time off. For example, an employee may be out collecting Workers’ Compensation benefits for months, even a year or more. So, you need to let employees know the circumstances under which they may take unpaid leaves, how long you may hold a job open, and when employment terminates. Here’s an example of a dilemma an employer might face.

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