As an employer, you are responsible for complying with hundreds of rules and regulations while also delivering your products and services to your customers. The costs for non-compliance can be enormous as plaintiffs’ lawyers and government agencies search out violators. You don’t have to do it alone. We can give you a view inside your own company to see your own areas of risk and exposure.
At Brody and Associates, we believe a proactive approach is your best defense. That’s why we work with clients to identify and solve problems before any outside third party finds them. Often, employers violate the law out of innocent ignorance rather than bad faith. Learning to ask the right questions is more than half the battle and our clients have come to expect this from us.
Human Resources Audit
To succeed, you must know where you stand. Many employers make the mistake of operating under the assumption that they are in compliance with all federal and state laws until the government says they are not. Why take this risk? While the penalties for such violations can be significant, the proactive solutions are often simple and cost-effective. The only true way to assure your compliance is to educate yourself in advance in an attorney-client privileged setting or wait until a long, expensive lawsuit or investigation forces you to admit your own shortcomings.
As partners with our clients, we strive to avoid labor and employment legal problems before they arise. From our clients’ perspective, a key to this goal is understanding what the federal and state governments require of employers. Our HR Audit is your road map to this goal. As part of our audit, we provide a list of the major state and federal laws with which employers must comply and then meet with the key company people responsible for Human Resources and Operations to discuss where their company stands in terms of both compliance and strategic concerns. In three hours, your business can progress from hoping you are in compliance and strategically aligned in the right direction to knowing exactly where you stand.
Some of the strategic issues we focus on are:
- State-mandated sexual harassment training;
- Leave policies;
- Covenants not to compete – do you use them, should you use them and are they enforceable?
- Discharge procedures, including when the final paycheck must be delivered and the employee’s entitlement to “earned” benefits;
- Hiring processes, including the forms you must send the state and your new employee, and “ban the box” requirements;
- Employer obligations to provide time off and pay for jury duty;
- Privacy issues and drug testing;
- Solicitation and distribution rules;
- Maintaining employment-at-will status;
- I-9 obligations and practices;
- The Civil Rights laws;
- WARN obligations; and
- Wrongful hire, retention and job references.
Wage and Hour Audit
Are you paying your employees properly? Wage and hour issues have been in the limelight over the last few years. Enforcement by the state and federal governments is on the rise – last year, the federal Department of Labor investigated over 20,000 cases involving Fair Labor Standards Act violations. Even if the new administration reduces its enforcement efforts, the state governments are unlikely to follow suit. Violations can be costly – back wages going back years and liquidated damages are just some of the costs of non-compliance.
Wage and hour lawsuits have also become very popular with plaintiff’s lawyers; it has become a cottage industry. This is due to wage and hour laws favoring employees and their attorneys. For instance, did you know the burden of proof in wage and hour cases lies with the employer? If an employee accuses an employer of wage and hour violations, the employee’s claims will be accepted unless the employer can disprove what the employee says. If the company has no records, it will have no way of fighting back. Even if the employee is lying, there will be nothing the company can do.
Don’t end up in such a predicament! Brody and Associates can conduct a comprehensive audit of your wage and hour and related pay practices to ensure you are in compliance with federal and state laws and regulations. We identify issues, explain risks and possible exposure, and provide practical solutions custom-tailored to meet the demands of your business. Don’t take the risk of a government audit or investigation or a lawsuit from a disgruntled employee, uncovering significant issues. An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.
When your business expands, the obvious question is “where.” No doubt you will have many options. A site survey will tell you, from a Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits perspective, which option is best. We commonly address the following issues:
- Proximity to union halls and unionized companies;
- Whether the area/industry is targeted by any unions, the AFL-CIO, or Change to Win;
- Any local union activity;
- Union organizing history;
- Local litigation and administrative hearing statistics, e.g., discrimination claims, wage and hour claims, unfair labor practice charges; and
- Appropriate labor pools, e.g. skills, compensation expectations, diversity.
Picking the right site can be the difference between a successful new plant and a failed expansion effort.