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Employers can protect their businesses and reputations by taking proactive steps to comply with the various labor and employment laws and regulations that affect their workplaces. Lewis Johs’ labor and employment attorneys actively assist clients across industries to develop and implement policies to improve the workplace and mitigate risk of potential claims.

Development of Personnel Policies

Having sound personnel policies that are consistently implemented is generally the first line of defense in any labor and employment law dispute. Personnel policies provide the framework for the orderly operation of an employer’s business. Consistently implementing personnel policies provides reasoned and consistent decision-making processes that can help ensure quality control and mitigate risk of claims. Personnel policies also provide notice to employees about their employer’s expectations in the workplace, rules, procedures, and other terms and conditions of employment.

Lewis Johs’ attorneys regularly assist employers in developing personnel policies to meet their business and legal needs by engaging in:

  • Developing employee handbooks, policies, procedures, and work rules
  • Drafting pre- and post-employment policies and procedures that are related to drug testing, background checks, pre-employment testing, leaves of absence, harassment, protection of confidential information and trade secrets, non-solicitation, non-competition
  • Conducting training to ensure proper implementation of personnel policies and procedures
  • Counsel employers on employee discipline and discharge
  • Performing compliance audits
  • Reviewing current policies and procedures to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations

Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance

Employers face significant exposure and risk to claims under federal, state, and local laws regarding equal employment opportunities for employees. These risks have only become more prominent during the “#MeToo” era. Claims for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation can arise under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1963, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, or national origin. Claims can also arise under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Age Discrimination in employment Act, and other similar federal, state and local laws. Lewis Johs’ labor and employment attorneys assist employers’ compliance with the various – and sometimes conflicting – equal employment opportunity laws and regulations:

  • Drafting policies to help prevent and eliminate harassment and discrimination
  • Conducting anti-harassment and non-discrimination training to managers and staff

Business Changes

Employers’ businesses can change through a myriad of ways. Each case presents unique and different legal needs. For instance, an employer may be opening a new facility, merging with another organization, or engaging in a corporate restructuring. Employers may expose themselves to significant risk if labor and employment considerations are not taken into account prior to these decisions, which may potentially involve or impact existing contractual obligations and employee benefits implications. Additionally, the implementation of proactive steps may be required to ensure future compliance. Lewis Johs’ labor and employment attorneys act as a strategic partner to help clients accomplish their business goals. These attorneys will analyze and recommend proposed business changes to best achieve their clients’ objectives:

  • Analyze impact of business changes on existing obligations to current and former employees
  • Provide recommendations for appropriate organizational changes to achieve employers’ desired objectives moving forward
  • Advise clients on reductions in force under the federal and state Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (“WARN)

Wage and Hour Compliance

Wage and hour litigation under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law present major risks and the potential for significant damages against employers. The risks can be even further increased through class and collective actions. The strongest defense against wage and hour claims is to have consistently implemented controls and procedures to ensure employees are paid correctly and accurately in relation to issues such as overtime, break periods, prevailing wages, proper deductions, and other record-keeping matters. [May be a good spot to insert text about liability under the wage and hour laws]. The activities of Lewis Johs’ experienced labor and employment attorneys in this regard include the following:

  • Counseling employers on laws and regulations related to the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law
  • Conducting compliance audits and reviews to determine whether employers properly implemented requirements under applicable federal and state laws

Labor Relations

Lewis Johs’ labor and employment attorneys have extensive experience in unionized workplaces in both the private and public sectors. Our attorneys represent clients throughout all phases of the collective bargaining process, including:

  • Developing collective bargaining positions and strategies
  • Negotiating collective bargaining agreements and memoranda of understanding
  • Representing parties in mediation and interest arbitration
  • Advising clients to be able to avoid and mitigate risk from Unfair Labor Practices under the National Labor Relations Act and Improper Practice Charges under the Taylor Law