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April 2016 Archives

The comprehensive employment contract

One of the best ways an employer can protect themselves after hiring employees is to have a comprehensive employment contract in place. An employment contract essentially outlines the job's basic details. As long as the employment contract is forcibly written, and does not request or require anything illegal from an employee, it becomes legally binding once it's signed.

Depending on the nature of your business, your employment contract can be as all-inclusive as you wish. It should always include the employment start date, benefits and salary information, and may also include details specific to the position or the company itself. By working with an employment law attorney, employers can draft an effective and comprehensive employment contract that addresses all of their concerns and offers them unparalleled protection.

Many employers choose to include confidentiality and non-compete clauses in their employment contracts. A confidentiality agreement asks that an employee not disclose information specific to the success of a business's operation. This can include trade secrets, formulas and processes. The non-compete clause asks that an employee agrees not to work for a competing company for a specific time after their employment ends.

Occasionally, an employment contract can include additional clauses such as an ownership of invention clause, a termination and arbitration clause, and clauses preventing an employee from working somewhere else during their employment or from collecting additional income if elected to a board or committee of the company.

There are numerous different additions that employers can include in their employment contracts. By working with an experienced employment law attorney, employers can draft a legally binding and comprehensive employment contract that effectively protects the best interest of their business.

Responding to employee resignations

An employee's time with a company ending can be a delicate situation for both the employer and the employee, and what actions are taken during the course of such situations can have lasting impacts. So, it can be important for employers to have solid policies and practices for dealing with these events.

This is not only the case for employee departures that come about from terminations, but also for employee departures that come about from employee resignations. How an employer acts in response to an employee opting to quit can impact the employer's relationship with the rest of their employees. It could affect also how willing the resigning employee would be to someday return to the company.

Rehiring former employees is something companies have shown increased openness to in recent times. And, in today's economy, boomerang workers (workers who return to a company after resigning from it) have become a relatively common thing.

Why might an employer desire to create an environment in which resigning employees would feel willing to perhaps one day return to the company? For one, a company may have a great appreciation of a departing worker's talents and hope to someday have those talents back within the company. Also, rehiring a former employee can sometimes be easier on a company (financially and training-wise) than hiring a new employee.

Now, certain actions by an employer in response to an employee resigning could end up burning any bridges the employer had with the employee, making it very unlikely the employee would ever come back. Other actions, on the other hand, could help with keeping the employee's departure on good terms, perhaps keeping the door open to a possible future working relationship with the departing employee.

So, it can be important for employers to give careful thought to what kind of policies and practices they have when it comes to resigning employees. Skilled employment lawyers can help employers with crafting employment policies aimed at meeting their legal needs and promoting the goals they have for their company and their relationship with their employees.

Source: MainStreet, "Employers Are Seeing the Rise of Boomerang Employees," Ellen Chang, April 6, 2016

How to prevent sexual harassment at your business

As an employer, you are obligated to provide your employees with a safe work environment. Not only does that include safety in the physical sense, but it also includes safety as in the mental and emotional sense. What does that mean for employers? In the context of sexual harassment, it means having policies in place that help prevent it.

Many employers are not aware that sexual harassment cases are prosecuted under the same laws used to prosecute cases of religious and racial discrimination. It is crucial for employers to take sexual-harassment training and prevention seriously to avoid the wrath of federal law. The first step in this prevention is to understand what sexual harassment truly is.

Despite the images we may have in our minds, sexual harassment refers to any unwelcome and sexual conduct or advances on the job. This conduct can create a hostile, intimidating and offensive workplace for employees. So it is important that employers provide employees with training to both understand and identify instances of sexual harassment.

Preventing sexual harassment in the workplace may take several steps. Fortunately, once these steps have been put into practice, they are much more easily followed. It is important for you as an employer to have a clear sexual-harassment policy. This policy should clearly define what sexual harassment is while explaining the process for reporting a complaint. Training should also be provided to all employees to help them identify and understand sexual harassment and its consequences.

In the event an employee has experienced sexual harassment, you as the employer should be clear that complaints of sexual harassment will be kept confidential and taken seriously. By taking these steps, employees will be more likely to come forward with a claim before the issue spirals out of control.

Sexual harassment claims, like claims of religious and racial discrimination, can have a profound impact on a company's well-being. To keep your workplace safe, productive and successful, you as the employer should have a clear, concise and comprehensive sexual harassment policy in place. To develop an effective sexual harassment policy, or to address an accusation of sexual harassment, employers may want work with an experienced employment law attorney.

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707 Grant St., Suite 2646
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
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Fax: 412-235-6704

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