Your employees can make or break your business. Smart management of your personnel relationships is crucial to your success. An increasingly complex array of state and federal laws has made this area a minefield for employers. Even companies who work hard to do the right thing by their employees can find themselves in trouble by unwittingly running afoul of the myriad of laws that govern the employment relationship. Manning Fulton has a number of experienced attorneys that can assist employers in navigating this minefield.
Our lawyers have worked with a broad range of employers, both large and small, including manufacturers, agricultural companies, brokerage firms, medical practices, property development and management companies, warehouse and distribution companies, hotels, financial services firms, technology and software companies, design firms, and retailers. We understand that whether your business is growing or has been established for a number of years, every business is unique. We work closely with you to understand your industry, your business, your workforce and the particular risks and challenges you face.
The best way to deal with employment law problems is to keep them from occurring. Our lawyers will help you develop and implement strategies for administering your personnel relationships in order to head off problems before they arise.
For example, we can audit your current compliance policies to find areas that may be out of date or need improvement. For instance:
- Has your business grown so much that you are now subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act and need to implement a leave policy?
- Does your harassment policy take into account the Supreme Court’s most recent decisions on employer liability?
- Have you incorrectly classified secretarial employees as exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act, so that you could be liable for a large award for back overtime pay?
- Do you mistakenly believe that you don’t need an I-9 employment eligibility verification compliance program?
Any of these mistakes could be costly—not just in terms of money, but also in terms of the time and effort you and your managers will have to spend in dealing with them. We can help you avoid them.
Manning Fulton lawyers can work with you to develop personnel policies that reduce your risk of employment-related claims and lawsuits. We can review and revise your existing policies and procedures, or create a new employee handbook for your company, to address such issues as:
- Equal Employment Opportunity
- Disability Accommodation
- Drug and Alcohol Testing
- Anti-Harassment Policies
- Overtime Pay
- Workplace Violence
- E-Mail Monitoring
- Leaves of Absence
We can also help you and your managers implement your policies. We will come to your facility to meet with your managers and provide training about the legal requirements and how to apply your policies. Our lawyers are also available by telephone to help with day-to-day issues and questions that arise, such as:
- Hiring decisions
- Executive compensation disputes
- Severance packages
- Reorganization and downsizing
- Employee evaluations
- Disciplinary action
- Employment termination
- Employee grievances
- Harassment and discrimination complaints
- FMLA leave requests
- On the job injuries
- Social Security Administration “Mis-Match” letters
- Record keeping and documentation
By providing advice before you act, we can often keep these questions from becoming into full-blown problems.
In today’s environment, however, even the best-prepared employer may face an employment-related claim or lawsuit. If this occurs, our lawyers will step in to defend your rights. We have extensive experience representing employers and employees in complaint investigations and administrative proceedings by state and federal agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the US and North Carolina Departments of Labor.
We also have extensive experience in defending businesses against employment-related claims in state and federal courts, as well as employment-related arbitrations conducted under the American Arbitration Association’s Rules for Resolution of Employment Disputes. Examples of the types of claims we have handled include:
- Common law wrongful discharge and discharge in violation of public policy
- Discrimination based on gender, race, age, religion, national origin, disability status
- Interference with FMLA rights
- ERISA claims
- Intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress
- Claims for unemployment benefits
- Defamation claims
- Claims for retaliatory discharge
Finally, we can help you protect what you’ve built by drafting employment, non-competition, non-solicitation, confidentiality and separation agreements that treat your employees fairly, but minimize their ability to harm your business through unfair competition when they leave your employ. We experience enforcing such agreements either through injunctive relief granted by the courts or by negotiated settlement. We have also been successful in freeing employees who wish to go to work for others or start their own businesses from overreaching and unreasonable non-compete or non-solicitation agreements.