published May 8, 2017

By Amanda Griffin

Top 3 Key Employment and Labor Law Issues in 2017

Find out what the biggest employment law issues are in 2017 in this article.

Legal counsels are charged with almost the impossible when they are given big expectations without much support. Organizations often lack the necessary policies and practices without even realizing that these will make it easier to protect the interests of the company. Other times organizations are following some aspects of employment and labor law correctly, but are lacking in other areas. How can your law firm help these organizations?

You should prepare the attorneys in your law firm to better assist their clients with their employment law issues. Here are the top three challenges that employment attorneys will face this year. You should review your clients for these issues and provide each one individualized guidance in these areas.
  1. Inadequate training

Too often employment attorneys get pulled into a workplace conflict once it is too late. A problem escalated ends up being so serious that even the human resources professionals can no longer solve it. The reason these problems arise is generally due to poorly trained supervisors and managers.

There are some managers that may fear being micromanaged in the future by HR or legal counsel if they are brought in to help with a problem. Supervisors are the first person employees go to if there is a problem, so supervisors must receive proper training on how to handle these problems. If they are not, then the problems can escalate beyond the reaches of HR and legal counsel. Everything starts and stops with the supervisors. If they do not know what they are doing (or don’t care), the organization will have greater legal problems with former employees filing lawsuits and ruining the organization’s reputation.

See the following articles for more information:
  1. Lacking documentation

A lack of documentation can ruin a firm’s chances of winning lawsuits of wrongful termination or harassment issues. No matter how busy things may be, supervisors have to be documenting everything from time-keeping records to disciplinary reports. While these may seem to be insignificant details now, they play a large role in the big scheme of things. Imagine the discovery of a problem with an associate’s billing hours. Having proper ongoing documentation will make it a lot easier to work out the problem.

Most companies have policies in place that require some performance write-ups before termination of an employee. If the company does not keep proper documentation of those official write-ups, then the employee can sue for wrongful termination, claiming that they did not receive warnings or educational training on how to improve. For legal counsel to be able to help in these kinds of instances, they need the details. These details include who wrote the documents, who is involved in the issue with full names, a clear and thorough explanation of what happened, information on when and where the event happened, and the reason behind the write-up. Keep all details objective and free of any personal assumptions or conclusions.
  1. Missing employment agreements

Companies are responsible for a variety of sensitive information. If proper steps are taken to protect that confidential information, companies may see employees taking it elsewhere for a greater reward. Organizations have several options of common law causes of action to use to prevent defecting employees from taking valuable information with them. The most basic version of this is an employment agreement.

Employment agreements can be used from the most high-ranking to the lowest-ranking employees in the same way. There can be guidelines restricting employees from working in specific industries or geographic locations, depending on what the state laws allow. The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 has made it easier for legal counsel to take these kinds of cases to federal court.

Make sure your legal clients are following the above practices in their organizations. If they do, you will find it will lead to fewer daily issues. When issues do occur, following these practices will also allow them to be solved much more easily.

See the following articles for more information:

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