Who we are Jackson||Lewis LLP is a national law firm dedicated to representing management exclusively in workplace law and related litigation. With 46 offices and more than 650 attorneys nationwide, the firm has a national perspective and sensitivity to the nuances of regional and local business environments. Pamela B. Linberg is Of Counsel to the Houston Office, providing advice and counsel on employment litigation, EEOC and other governmental investigations, and a variety of employment practices, including employment contracts, covenants, handbooks, and policies.
What We DoRepresentative Practice Areas Litigation, including Class Actions, Complex Litigation and e-Discovery Affirmative Action and OFCCP Diversity Planning Disability, Leave and Health Management Employee Benefits, including Complex ERISA Litigation, Workplace Privacy and Executive Compensation Global Immigration Trade Secrets, Non-Competes and Workplace Technology Labor, including Preventive Practices Wage and Hour Compliance Workplace Safety Compliance
Where You Can Find Us Alabama Arizona California Colorado Connecticut Florida Georgia Illinois Indiana Louisiana Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina Ohio Pennsylvania Oregon Rhode Island South Carolina Tennessee Texas Virginia Washington Washington, DC Region West Virginia * Wisconsin *Non-resident office Offices in 46 locations
PUBLIC EMPLOYER POLICIESBEST PRACTICES 1.Attendance, Leave and Pay Policies 2.Discrimination Policies *Texas Labor Code/Title VII/ Sexual Harassment/Pregnancy/Age 3.Accommodation Policies *Americans with Disabilities Act and ADAAA 4.Special Policies for Public Employers *Little Hatch Act/Due Process Concerns 5.Other Important Employment Issues *Recent Developments in Class Action Law *Retaliation Considerations 6.Other Employment Policies to Consider 7.Employee Acknowledgement of Policies
Purposes of Employment Policy Implementation Communicates Expectations to Employees Provides Guidelines for Supervisors Who Manage Employees and Resolve Issues Supports Uniform Employer Decisions Among All Employee Classes and Depts. Provides Fair Treatment of Employees Enhances Credibility of Employer Decisions and Employer Image Provides Defenses to Certain Legal Actions by Employees
Attendance Policies 1.Neutral Attendance Policies * Must be Reasonable * Must be Uniformly Enforced * Should be Documented 2.Provides Uniformity 3.Provides Defenses and Barriers to Claims * Discrimination Claims * Retaliation Claims
Leave Policies 1.Family and Medical Leave Act Provides certain employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave Designed to help employees balance work/family unable to work because of serious health condition birth and care of newborn child immediate family member w/ serious health condition 2.Sick and Vacation Leave 3.Disability Leave 4.Military Leave (USERRA) 5.Misc. State Law Requirements Jury Duty Leave Leave to Serve as Subpoenaed Witness Emergency Evacuation Leave
Pay Policies--Best Practices Under the Fair Labor Standards Act 1.Classification as Exempt or Non-Exempt * Supervisor Should Inform Employee as to Status * First Responders are NOT Exempt under DOL Regulations 2.Proper Reporting of Time Record ANY and ALL hours Work NEVER Work Without Recording Time Employee must Certify and Attest to the Accuracy of Time Records COMP Time Effectively Does Not Exist 3.Corrections to Time Records Time to Correct Mechanism to Correct 4.Falsification of Time Records is a Terminable Offense
Discrimination PoliciesTex. Labor Code Ch. 21 1.Unlawful for Employer to Engage in Certain Actions on the Basis of the following: Race Sex National Origin Age 2.Prohibited Actions include the following: Failing to Hire Applicant Discharging an Employee Discriminating with Regard to Compensation Discriminating with Regard to Terms, Conditions, Privileges of Employment Segregating Employee in a Way to Deprive Her of an Employment Opportunity or Adversely Affect Her Rights
Discrimination PoliciesTitle VII and its Progeny 1.Title VII makes it Unlawful for an Employer to Discriminate on the Basis of any of he following: Race Color Sex Religion National Origin 2.Other Laws Make it Unlawful for an Employer to Discriminate on the Basis of any of the following: Pregnancy Age (Workers over 40) Disability 3.Sexual Harassment Law Quid Pro Quo Harassment Hostile Work Environment 4.Civil Rights Claims Against Public Employers
Discrimination PoliciesBest Practices Your Equal Opportunity (EEO) Policy Should Contain: 1.Your business is committed to providing a diverse employee group devoid of harassment and discrimination; 2.You will not discriminate on the basis of the protected classes mentioned by federal and state law; 3.You are committed to providing reasonable accommodations to employees with religious observance needs; 4.You are committed to providing reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities; and 5.You welcome and require your employees to participate in your reporting policies.
Discrimination PoliciesReporting Procedure 1.Include Anti-Harassment Policy Define Harassment (e.g., any physical or verbal conduct demonstrating hostility toward a person because of his or her age, sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or other legally protected status) Commitment to provide Harassment-Free Workplace Provide Examples of Harassment that Will Not Be Tolerated 2.Create Formal Reporting Channels and Procedures Requirement that Employees Report Harassment To whom to report Supervisor Human Resources or Executive Consider Anonymous Channel like email or telephone number 3.Protects Employer from Liability in Certain Situations where Employees Fail to Utilize the Reporting Procedure
Accommodation PoliciesADA/ADAAA 1.Prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment. 2.The ADA requires a job accommodation in certain situations, which is a reasonable adjustment to a job or work environment that makes it possible for an individual with a disability to perform job duties. 3.Involves consideration of the following: Required job tasks; Functional limitations of the person doing the job; and Level of hardship to the employer. 4.Examples of accommodations: Specialized equipment and facility modifications; Adjustments to work schedules or job duties; and Other creative solutions. 5.Considerations regarding accommodation: Required job tasks; Functional limitations of the person doing the job; and Level of hardship to the employer to provide the accommodation
Public Employer PoliciesLittle Hatch Act 1.Restricts Political Activities of State and Local Gov. Employees: Prohibits use of official position to influence a state or local government election; Prohibits intimidation of any other officer or employee to vote for or against any candidate or measure; Prohibits solicitation of contributions from other employees or a person who does business with the state or local gov.; Provides that governmental buildings cannot be used to display campaign literature, banners, and the like for any political party, candidate or measure; and Provides that employees may not campaign on the job. 2.Policies must: Be clear, narrow and well defined; Must not affect off-duty conduct; and Must only apply to government elections on same level.
Public Employer PoliciesDue Process 1.Does not apply to at will employees 2.For cause employees must be given due process: Notice Must be given reasons for termination/demotion/etc… Must be given time/place/details for hearing Opportunity to be Heard Must be by decision-maker Must have opportunity to argue decision 3.Procedures for Post-Decision Appeal Who will hear appeal Advisory or binding decision Standard of review: De novo or abuse of discretion
Other Important Issues-Recent Class Action Law Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes, No. 10-277 (U. S. June 20, 2011). 1.Supreme Court rejected class action certification of nationwide class of 1.5 million female workers. One of the most expansive class actions ever. Allegations of gender discrimination in pay/promotion Managers employed own subjective criteria for decisions 2.Holdings No commonality – No glue to hold together the alleged reasons for all those decisions No allegation of specific biased tests, etc… Managers using own discretion opposite of uniform policy Not capable of class-wide resolution different individual awards (for back-pay, etc…) different injunctive relief
Other Important IssuesRetaliation Issues 1.Unlawful Retaliation is: Adverse action taken by an employer; Against an employee; Because the employee engaged in; Protected activity. 2.Examples of Protected Activity include: Filing a claim for discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, religion, age, etc… Reporting discrimination or providing information during an investigation Filing a claim for accommodation for disability Filing a claim for leave, workers compensation, etc… Engaging in protected union activity
Other Employment Policies to Consider Examples of other policies to consider include: 1.Work Performance 2.Rules of Employee Conduct 3.Social Media Issues 4.Workplace Bullying Rules 5.Drug/Alcohol Testing 6.Smoking 7.Workplace Romance 8.Nepotism 9.Binding dispute Resolution provisions
Acknowledgement of Workplace Policies 1.Employers should ensure that Employees Acknowledge: Receipt of a copy of the Policies; Obligation to Read, Understand, and Adhere to Policies; Policies DO NOT alter the Employees At-Will Status; Employer has a right to Modify, Supplement, Rescind or Revise the Policies (without Notice). 2.Acknowledgement should be: In writing; Filed and Maintained by the Company; and Updated when Policies are Updated.
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