Pittsburgh Employment Law Blog

Written policies might protect your company

Employers have to walk a fine line between taking care of employees and making decisions that protect the company's bottom line. There might be times when employees don't understand why certain decisions are being made. They may become angry and opt to pursue legal action against you. It is up to you to ensure that your company is protected from this.

One of the best things that you can do is to set your policies and procedures with the thought of litigation in mind. You don't need to have things sneak up on you as you're trying to run your company. By having everything in writing, you can show investigators and the court that you aren't making decisions on the fly.

5 primary areas of the Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) includes many protections for workers that employers must comply with. Many of these cover wages and similar matters. Employers who have clear pay standards and policies might be less likely to face legal action because of violations of this act.

There are five primary areas that the FLSA covers – recordkeeping, child labor, minimum wage, overtime and hours worked. Understanding each of these is important because issues can come from any of these areas.

Know when your company should grant sick leave for employees

Many companies have sick leave policies established so that employees can take off when they're contagious but many of these also try to address the possibility that some workers might try to get off when they aren't actually sick. This is a fine line for employers to walk because of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). We know that you might have some questions about what you can and can't do, especially with the recent concerns about people passing germs to others.

One important thing to remember is that an employee who is sick can endanger everyone they work with, as well as your clients. For this reason alone, it's usually best to err on the side of caution and let the person have time off so they don't get everyone else sick.

Know how to protect your company from employment issues

Former employees who feel that your company didn't treat them fairly might decide to discuss the issues they experienced with an attorney. This might lead to employment litigation that can be costly for your business. It is imperative that you take the appropriate steps to deal with these cases as soon as they come up. Nothing good is going to happen if you try to just ignore the complaints.

We know that you need to focus on running your company. That's why we're here to help you when you need to fight claims from current or former employees. We will review their complaint and determine what options your business has to address it. We can help you find out how each of them might impact your company in the future.

Understanding how to handle on-call hours

Employers have to ensure they're paying their employees the proper amounts. One area that often causes some issues is when you have an employee available on-call. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) covers what should happen with these employees. It's imperative that you accurately determine whether employees who are on-call should be paid for those hours or not.

In the most basic sense, the FLSA terms require employees to be paid for on-call hours if they aren't free to go about their daily personal business when they're on call. Things like just having to carry a phone or pager wouldn't necessarily prevent them from doing their own personal duties but having to answer client or employer calls during the on-call hours could impeded on their ability to handle personal tasks.

Protect your company from employment litigation issues

The employees you hire have duties to perform for your company, but your business also has to meet its obligations. When both parties do what they're supposed to do, there shouldn't be any issues. The problems begin when one party doesn't meet their obligations. This can lead to considerable challenges for your company, no matter which party isn't meeting their obligations.

There are times when your employees might claim that you didn't comply with the applicable employment laws. These allegations can lead to legal action in many cases. Protecting your company quickly becomes a priority when this occurs. We know that you might want to know your options. We are here to help you explore the choices you have.

Set clear standards to help protect your business

Part of being able to protect your business from litigation is having staff members who can handle complaints and situations in an appropriate manner. This training works in conjunction with properly written policies that outline what's allowed at your business and how specific situations will be handled.

While it might not be possible for you to know everything that happens in your company, you need to make it clear which situations do require notifications. This might include things like claims of discrimination or harassment. Complaints from irate customers might be another issue that you want to know about. Making the situations you need to know about clear makes it easier for everyone to do their jobs.

Know when you're required to give an employee leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is one that helps employees to focus on personal situations when they're serious enough to meet the requirements of the act. It is imperative that employers know what these protections are so they can ensure they are treating employees properly under the act. Failing to handle FMLA cases properly can mean that you're facing fines and other serious actions.

We know that keeping up with all the laws that your company has to abide by is difficult. We're here to help you review the options that you have so that you can decide what you're going to do to protect your company. One thing that you shouldn't ever do is forbid an employee from taking FMLA leave when that employee qualifies for it, and the situation is covered.

Written policies help prevent misunderstandings with employees

The policies you set for your company have to be in the business' best interests, but there are legal limits to what you can set. You must ensure that the guidelines you set don't go against any employee rights laws. Preventing your company from having to face legal action from a disgruntled employee is a big undertaking, but we are here to help you through the process.

One thing that can help you to avoid issues is to put all your policies in a written employee handbook. This gives everyone a place to turn when they need guidance about how to handle a situation. It also helps protect the company since the policies are clearly relayed in writing instead of someone being able to misconstrue the policies.

What does the Fair Labor Standards Act cover?

There are many things that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires of employers. It is imperative that you have at least a basic understanding of the applicable points of this law so that your company can comply with them.

Knowing the law also prevents your company from making concessions to employees that don't have to be made.