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Idaho Employment Law October 3, 2013 Newsletter

9 Situations Where Employers Need to Hire a Lawyer

While we understand that the idea of hiring a lawyer can be daunting to a small business owner, enlisting knowledgeable, experienced legal counsel pays off in the long run. We know that employment disputes happen every day—they’re just part of the workplace. Feuds over the coffeemaker or even differences in management style don’t necessarily require the attention of a lawyer. But when disagreements grow more serious, do you know when to seek legal attention? We’ve outlined 9 situations where employers should seek legal counsel:

  1. An employee has filed an administrative charge of sexual harassment. Because 90% of sexual harassment cases are settled, Idaho Employment Law Solutions can help you reach a settlement at any point during the litigation process, saving you time, emotional energy, and money.

  2. A current or former employer has chosen to sue you. Lawsuits brought by former employees have the capacity to net huge damages against an employer, so it is imperative that you enlist the help of an experienced lawyer for the litigation process.

  3. Your employee raises serious claims that may result in a significant award of damages against your company. Before the employee sues, hiring a lawyer can help you navigate the legal process with the goal of avoiding litigation.

  4. You are drawing up employment contracts and severance agreements for the first time and want to ensure that they contain all the necessary legal terms and are enforceable in a court of law. Idaho Employment Law Solutions can give you advice about when to use these contracts or draw attention to any language that may cause problems later. If you don’t correctly draw up contracts, you may end up paying far more in damages from problems caused by errors than you would have paid by hiring a knowledgeable lawyer at the outset.

  5. You want to make sure that your employee handbook or personnel policies don’t violate any laws, such as overtime pay, family and medical leave, discrimination, and OSHA guidelines. A lawyer can advise you of language and policies that don’t violate these laws, as well as checking for language that might overextend your obligations toward employees. He or she might even suggest additional policies to fit your workplace.

  6. You are ready to fire an employee, but believe they may be in a protected class. Idaho Employment Law Solutions will be able to help determine whether or not it is legal to fire the employee as well as help you minimize the risk of a lawsuit.

  7. An employee has filed a claim of harassment or discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Idaho Human Rights Commission. Most employers have policies which in letter and spirit provide protection that mirror the requirements of the applicable federal and state laws. However, legal counsel can provide the additional advice to help avoid costly litigation or if necessary, guide you through the litigation process.

  8. You are ready to terminate an employee, but the employee has access to high-level, sensitive information or valuable company trade secrets. An employer can’t just assume that a spoken contract not to divulge trade will hold. If you fear that the terminated employee may divulge trade secrets or confidential information, an experienced lawyer may advise you on legal steps to take to avoid disclosure of sensitive information.

  9. Your company will be instituting a major policy change that affects employees, such as restructuring health care benefits, switching pension plans, or laying off multiple employees. It’s crucial to have a lawyer available to explain any legal entanglements that might arise and provide advice on how to proceed with these changes.

Idaho Employment Law Solutions is committed to providing effective, affordable legal advice relevant to your needs, when you need it. We provide counsel to our clients to help them avoid or plan for the possibility of litigation. By seeking out sound legal advice, you can avoid costly legal entanglements in the future. Contact Idaho Employment Law Solutions when any of these situations arise.


Is Your Employee Exempt or Nonexempt from Overtime Compensation?

Incorrectly classifying employees as either exempt or nonexempt from overtime compensation can cost employers significant time and money in either recovering wages or disbursing wages owed. Idaho Employment Law Solutions will do our best to help employers work toward resolving a misclassified overtime compensation claim without resorting to litigation.

Unless exempt, employees covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay. The FLSA establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments. Covered nonexempt workers are entitled to a minimum wage of not less than $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. Overtime pay is required after 40 hours of work in a workweek.

Covered nonexempt employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 per workweek (any fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours — seven consecutive 24-hour periods) at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay. There is no limit on the number of hours employees 16 years or older may work in any workweek. The FLSA does not require overtime pay for work on weekends, holidays, or regular days of rest, unless overtime is worked on such days.

There is no limit in the Act on the number of hours employees aged 16 and older may work in any workweek. The Act applies on a workweek basis. The Act does not require overtime pay for work on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, or regular days of rest, unless overtime is worked on such days. An employee's workweek is a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours — seven consecutive 24-hour periods. It need not coincide with the calendar week, but may begin on any day and at any hour of the day. Different workweeks may be established for different employees or groups of employees. Averaging of hours over two or more weeks is not permitted. Normally, overtime pay earned in a particular workweek must be paid on the regular payday for the pay period in which the wages were earned.


This Week in Labor History

On October 1, 1908, the very first production Model T was completed at Ford’s Piquette Avenue plant in Detroit. This vehicle would have an enormous impact on the way Americans lived and worked, irrevocably altering the urban and manufacturing landscape. Ford’s method of using interchangeable parts to mass-produce the Model T drove down costs for consumers while changing the role of human labor in manufacturing.


Frequently Asked Questions on Sexual Harassment

Q. How long does the process of filing a sexual harassment case take?

A. If mediation fails, the Idaho Human Rights Commission’s investigation could take anywhere from six months to more than a year. After a lawsuit has been filed, the court date will probably be a minimum of one year into the future. On average, a case of alleged discrimination may take over 2.5 to 3 years to go to a jury trial.




Past Newsletters

September 19, 2013 Newsletter

September 4, 2013 Newsletter

August 15, 2013 Newsletter

August 7, 2013 Newsletter

July 23, 2013 Newsletter

July 2, 2013 Newsletter