Employment Lawyer – Representing Orlando Employers with a Focus on Prevention and Compliance
For most businesses, your employees are your most valuable asset. However, if your business does not have a clear set of legally sound policies and procedures, those same employees could quickly become an expensive legal liability.
We can help you stay in full compliance with state and federal employment laws. Our team can also review your current HR policies to make sure that not only are you in compliance, but that your policies are sound from a risk management perspective.
Most of our employer representation is focused on helping businesses create and set up legally compliant and sound HR policies and procedures. Our team represents and advises employers through the entire employee lifecycle from recruitment and hiring practices to retirement and termination.
Legal Services We Provide Employers
Human resources and employment law are complicated. There are a variety of different state and federal laws that govern the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees. In some areas the state laws are stricter than federal laws and regulations. In other areas federal laws are the only ones that matter.
Some common areas where we advise clients include:
- Developing HR policies and processes
- Employee handbooks
- Employment contracts
- Non-disclosure agreements
- Non-compete agreements
- Governing duties
- Wage and hour issues and employee classification
- Severance agreements
- Employee disciplinary issues
- Terminations and layoffs
- Executive agreements
- Training regarding workplace violence, harassment, and discrimination
- Employment matters related to mergers and acquisitions
- Privacy policies
- Social media policies
- FMLA and military leave issues
- ADA accommodation issues
- Workplace harassment and discrimination investigations
Why Your Business Needs Well Defined HR Policies
Well defined HR policies provide your employees with peace-of-mind and protection. They know exactly who to talk to if they have any concerns. Well defined HR policies are also your company’s safety net when it comes to complaints from your employees.
If your business has the correct policies and procedures in place most employment issues can be addressed before the employee feels the need to take the complaint any further than your HR office. If your business does become the subject of a government investigation or of litigation, having well defined HR policies and procedures make it easier to clear your business of wrongdoing.
It is always easier, and less expensive, to prevent a legal issue from becoming a lawsuit than it is to deal with the massive time and cost investments required for litigation. HR policies are the best protection your business has against lawsuits from your employees.
Well defined HR policies accomplish several things:
- They put employees on notice about your expectations
- They are evidence of your company’s compliance efforts
- They help encourage fair treatment of all employees
- They provide a roadmap for discipline
- They help employees understand the process for dealing with complaints
If your business does not have clear set of HR policies and procedures that have been communicated to all your employees and contractors, you are opening yourself up to trouble. It makes it easier for employees to claim there was no process to address issues such as discrimination or bullying. It also makes it easier for disciplined employees to claim that they were treated unfairly or singled out.
Importance of Having an Employee Handbook
HR policies are only effective if they are clearly defined and have been properly communicated to everyone in your business. An employee handbook is a document that contains those policies and procedures and facilitates their clear, uniform communication
An employee handbook sets the expectations for managers and employees. It also creates uniformity throughout the business; lowering your litigation risk. Because no two businesses are exactly alike, each business needs a unique employee handbook that focuses on their specific needs and risks.
Your employee handbook can show that you have a zero-tolerance policy towards harassment and discrimination. It can also explain the disciplinary process and the employee complaint process. Employers that have an employee handbook have an easier time documenting their positive workplace culture and employment law compliance practices.
Employees should be required to acknowledge that they have read and understood the Employee Handbook.
A well written employee handbook accomplishes four critical goals:
- Sets Expectations: Just like business owners, employees also hate uncertainty. Employees are more productive when they know what they need to do and what their options are when they encounter a problem. An employee handbook should clearly explain what types of actions are unacceptable, what the consequences are for employees who engage in inappropriate behavior, and what steps an employee needs to take when they have an issue with a coworker or manager. Having a clear, customized employee handbook sets the expectations for everyone in the organization.
- Creates Uniformity: One of the most common sources of employee frustration is inconsistent enforcement of policies. Nobody likes to feel that others are getting an unfair advantage or that they are being treated more harshly than others inside of the organization. An employee handbook helps make sure policies are uniformly enforced. It helps hold both managers and employees accountable for following the guidelines you have created to ensure the smooth operation of your business. Inconsistent discipline and policy enforcement increase the chance of being unnecessarily embroiled in employment disputes that should have been avoided.
- Lowers Litigation Risk: Creating an employee handbook helps foster a culture of trust and respect. This significantly lowers your litigation risk profile. It lowers your chances of getting sued for an employment law violation. Employees that feel listened to, and that have access to an effective complaint system, are much less likely to escalate a workplace issue by filing a complaint with a government agency or suing their employer.
- Legal Defense: Sometimes, even with the best preventitive practices in place, employers still get involved in employment law litigation. However, having an excellent employee handbook that your team uniformly enforces gives you a strong defense against many employment claims.
Every Business Needs A Lawyer’s Help Developing HR Policies
Employment laws and regulations are complex and are enforced by multiple state and federal agencies. Moreover, having employees represents one of the most significant litigation risks Orlando businesses face.
Even well-meaning employers and human resource staff members can find themselves on the wrong end of an employment law complaint or lawsuit. The consequences for making a small mistake could cost your business hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, penalties, damages and reputation.
You need an attorney to help craft specific policies, procedures, and manuals that establish legally sound HR policies for your business. They will create employment policies that comply with the law and help create a happy, productive workforce.
When a sensitive employment issue arises, such as a termination, a harassment allegation, or a discrimination complaint, you need a lawyer to help you navigate the various potential legal pitfalls and help you look out for the best interest of the organization.
Prevention Is Cheaper Than Litigation
Our philosophy for our employer clients is to work hard to prevent them from ever having to go to court to defend their employment actions and policies. We invest time in helping you write clear human resources policies. These policies protect your interests, protect your employees from discrimination, and keep your business in full compliance with all state and federal employment law.
Having a preventative approach to employment law helps your business lower its litigation risk, protects your reputation, and creates a better, more productive workplace for you and your employees.
- Lower Your Litigation Risk: Even when an employer successfully defends themselves in a lawsuit brought by a current or former employee, they still lose. Litigation is everything businesses hate: lengthy, costly, and unpredictable.
- Protect Your Reputation: You want to be able to recruit the best people for your business. But, government agency actions against your company, employee lawsuits, and disgruntled former employees can harm your reputation. This can make it challenging to attract the right employees to your business. It can also hurt your retention efforts. If your business is in the news for negative employment actions, it can also hurt your reputation with potential customers. It can take years to build a strong reputation, and only one adverse action or story to ruin it.
- Handling Human Resource Issues: Your human resources staff is your first line of defense when it comes to employment law issues. We focus on educating your human resource team. We help them understand the best way to handle employee complaints, and how they can prevent most complaints with the right policies and procedures. Clients that invest in regular education and training for managers and employees have fewer employment law issues. They also have happier and more productive employees.
- Compliance Management: There are a variety of different state and federal government agencies that can investigate your business for employment law compliance issues. These investigations and audits are intrusive, expensive, and time-intensive. If a problem is found, you can be required to pay expensive fines and penalties. In some cases, an investigation from a government agency can also lead to a civil lawsuit. By creating systems that ensure you are fully compliant with all of the employment laws that apply to your business.
Why Choose Walsh Banks Law
The business attorneys at Walsh Banks Law leverage a preventative approach to help our clients develop HR policies and compliance procedures. This approach is intended to avoid employee complaints and disputes, create a stable productive work environment, avoid employee complaints and disputes and reduce the risk of litigation.
We are committed to helping businesses avoid high-risk, high-cost litigation in the future through affordable, preventive actions now. We will help you create policies and procedures that will keep your business in compliance with state and federal employment laws.
With our years of experience representing Orlando businesses, we can help you avoid common employment law pitfalls. Our team will help you create a safe and productive workspace so that you can focus on your business instead of HR issues.
When high-risk situations arise, such as an employee termination, or a harassment or discrimination complaint, we are ready to advise you on the best course of action.