Tag Archives: employee

Steps to Follow when Terminating an Employee

Whether an employee’s departure is voluntary or not, it poses a threat to your business’s proprietary information. This is particularly true if your employee is leaving to work for one of your competitors. Therefore, it is important for all employers to have a procedure in place for reducing risk to any of your confidential information. Below are a few considerations:

Conduct an Exit Interview

You should schedule an exit interview with the employee on his or her last day to talk about the practical and legal matters that accompany their departure. If the employee has signed a non-disclosure and/or non-compete agreement, it is important to remind the employee of his or her obligations under these contracts. If no such agreements were signed, an employer should still inform the employee that he or she should not disclose trade secrets of the business. You may wish to have the employee execute an acknowledgement of any ongoing obligations and a verification that the employee has returned all company documents and other records. If the employee indicates that he or she is going to work for a competitor, you may want to confer with your legal counsel.

Recover Company Devices

During the exit interview, you should verify that you have collected all devices provided to the employee as part of his or her employment. This includes laptops, smartphones, tablets and other similar types of technology. You should also have the employee sign a statement confirming that all company devices have been returned.

Terminate Employee Access

A departing employee’s access to email, your network, file rooms and other similar areas that hold important data should be terminated. This includes the return of any keys or access cards. If your business uses a keypad with a code for entry access, be sure to immediately change the code.

Scan for Downloads

The departing employee may have been planning his or her departure for weeks, so your IT department should investigate whether any improper downloads of information were made or emailed to the employee’s personal email account. If so, contact your attorney to discuss your available options.

Notify Appropriate Parties

You may want to notify your customers, clients, vendors or other third-parties that the employee is no longer working for you. You should provide these third-parties with a new contact person at your business.

terminating an employee | Steps to Consider | Brevard County

Contact Faro & Crowder, PA in Melbourne, Florida

The above steps are just a few ways you can minimize the risk of a departing employee disclosing your company’s proprietary information. If you have questions regarding the termination of an employee or any other business-related matter, please contact Faro & Crowder for an appointment.

Faro & Crowder, PA
Phone: 321-784-8158
Address:
1801 N. Sarno Road, Suite 01
Melbourne, FL 32935
Email: info@farolaw.com

How will my Bankruptcy Filing Impact my Job?

Bky Impact Job pic

Many debtors are concerned with how their Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 filing will impact their job. It is important to understand that the law prevents your employer from firing you solely because you filed a personal bankruptcy case.

You may also be concerned with whether or not your employer will find out about your bankruptcy case. Although bankruptcy filings are a matter of public record, it is unlikely that your employer will search the records and discover your filing.

The bankruptcy courts use the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system to manage case filings. In order for an individual to access the bankruptcy records, he or she must obtain a PACER account and pay the necessary fees. Additionally, another party could appear in person at the courthouse and request to see your file, but most people will not make the effort to do so.

Finally, some states still publish bankruptcy filing notices in legal publications, but these notices are typically only read by lawyers. Additionally, these notices only list the debtor’s last name, the case number, and when a hearing is scheduled. This minimal amount of information would require an interested party to conduct further investigation to learn more about your bankruptcy case.

It should be noted that all of your creditors will be provided written notice of your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 filing. This means that if you owe money to your employer, your employer will be given notice of your case. Also, if you file a Chapter 13 and you your repayment plan payments are made by automatic deductions from your paycheck, your employer will learn about your filing.

If you have questions about filing for bankruptcy protection, we have the answers. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve individuals and businesses across the State of Florida.


What Employers Need to Know About Workplace Bullying

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When you think of bullying, you probably think of school kids on the playground. However, bullying in the workplace occurs every day. If you are an employer, you cannot ignore it or assume it isn’t occurring because nobody has reported it. You must take action to prevent and eliminate workplace bullying.

If an employer fails to stop bullying in the workplace, it opens the employer up to being held liable for violence and/or harassment litigation. As a practical matter, your employees will not want to be at work and their ability to be productive while at work will suffer. This can lead to quality issues and loss of business for you.

So, how do you distinguish between harmless banter and bullying? Below are a few indicators that bullying is occurring:

  • You can identify a target. Bullies usually focus on one individual or group of individuals who are always the victims of the verbal abuse.
  • There is no give and take in the conversation. The individual who is dishing it out isn’t getting it back in return. If the “teasing” is one-sided, it is probably bullying.
  • If the banter gets personal, it is likely bullying. For example if the bully is focusing on a specific trait or something about the employee that is a weakness, it usually qualifies as bullying.

All employers should have a policy that prohibits bullying in the workplace. Your policy should clearly define what constitutes bullying and that it is prohibited in the workplace. Your policy must outline how an employee that is being bullied can seek help and what disciplinary actions may be taken if bullying is discovered. All managers and other supervisors should be properly trained on the policy, including how to handle “real life” scenarios.

To learn more about an employer’s duties and obligations, contact Faro & Crowder, PA.


How Long Must an Employer Keep Employment Records?

Attorneys serving Cocoa, Florida

If you are an employer and you are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork you must maintain, you are probably wondering if you can get rid of your old employment records. Before you start shredding all those former employee’s records, there are a few factors you should consider.

There is no strict rule that sets forth a required period of time an employer must retain all employment records. This is true whether the documents are kept in paper or digital form. Because there are a variety of different retention rules, many employer follow a general guideline of retaining an employee’s file for four years after the employee has left his or her employment.

While maintaining an employee’s records while they are employed with you plus an additional four years covers you under most laws, there are three types of documents you should retain for a longer period. Thus, before you dispose of an employee’s file, you should remove these records:

  • If the employee incurred an on-the-job injury, any first-aid documentation should be retained for five years
  • Documents regarding the employee’s pension or welfare plan information should be maintained for six years
  • If the employee was the victim of toxic or chemical exposure while on-the-job, all safety data sheets must be retained for 30 years

In today’s age of technology, retaining employment records in a digital format makes it easier for employers. However, it is important that you properly file, index and store the records so they can be located and accessed if needed. Having them saved “somewhere” on your network is not sufficient. Thus, all employers should implement procedures for ensuring employment records are properly maintained.

If you have questions regarding an employment or business law matter, contact us to schedule an initial consultation.


How to Prevent Employment Lawsuits

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While there is no magical formula for preventing employment lawsuits, there are certain preventative measures every employer should take. Litigation can be time-consuming, costly and damaging to your reputation. Below are a few pointers for how to avoid litigation with your employees:

  • Provide every employee with a current employee handbook and any updates or changes
  • Pay your employees for all of the hours that they work – this is a “hot topic” in employment law cases
  • Ensure that your employees are given breaks, including an appropriate amount of time for eating a meal, if necessary
  • Confirm that you have properly classified your employees as exempt or nonexempt, and treat them accordingly. Treating employees as if they are independent contractors or vice-versa can result in class action lawsuits as well as you owing unpaid taxes.
  • Understand all of the legal requirements of your specific industry and verify that you are in compliance with federal, state and municipal laws.
  • Educate yourself regarding the required accommodations for disabled employees.
  • Train your supervisors and managers on what your company’s policies are and how to implement them properly.
  • Stay current on the ever-changing law governing your business. One of the best ways to do this is to work with a seasoned employment attorney to help your business with all of its legal needs.

There are numerous other topics that should be considered, but the above list gives you an idea of some of the hot topics in employment law litigation. If your company if facing a lawsuit, contact us for the advice and guidance you need. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve businesses across the State of Florida.


Contracts Every Business Needs

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If you own a business, it is imperative that you take precautionary measures to protect it legally. In other words, you need a great business attorney and contracts that protect your best interests. There is no easy answer for what legal agreements are the most effective, because every case is different. However, there are three main types of contracts that most businesses can benefit from having in place.

Owner Agreements

If you own the business with another party or parties, it is important to have a written contract between all of the co-owners. This is true whether you are a LLC, partnership or corporation. Common examples of this type of agreement are operating agreements, shareholders’ agreements, founders’ agreements and partnership agreements.

The purpose of ownership agreements is to solidify the deal made between the co-founders. They should cover topics such as ownership percentages, salaries, capital contributions and what happens to the business if the co-owners part ways.

Worker Agreements

Most businesses only use agreements for their employees, not for their independent contractors. However, an independent contractor may have access to your network, databases, website or financial information. Thus, having a formal agreement is essential to protect you by outlining the job to be performed, a confidentiality agreement to prevent disclosure of your proprietary information and non-solicitation provisions. You should also confirm with legal counsel that you are not treating your independent contractors like employees, because there can be stiff penalties for improper classification.

Vendor/Supplier Agreements

Depending on your industry, you may depend upon vendors and suppliers to meet your customer’s needs. Thus, it is important to have a carefully drafted agreement that helps ensure that your (and your customer’s) needs will be met and that protects if you they are not. You may also need a contract with your customers outlining the business relationship and providing legal protections.

There are other types of contracts that may be necessary to help ensure the success of your business, but the above contracts provide a good place to start. If you have questions regarding the agreements discussed above or you would like to learn more about the legal services we provide, call us to schedule a free consultation.


What Employers Should Know About Jury Duty

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What should an employer do if they have an employee that is consistently away from work for jury duty? What if the employee is chosen for a trial that is expected to last several weeks? Can an employer discharge this employee because they are not available to perform their job? This is one of those rare circumstances where the answer is simple – an employer cannot fire an employee for being away from work due to serving on a jury. In fact, an employer who fires (or threatens to fire) an employee for missing work for jury duty is subject to being sued for compensatory and punitive damages.

In Florida, the employee is required to provide you with the “Employer’s Copy” of the summons. This document will provide you with the date your employee has been selected to serve as a juror. It will also list the laws outlining an employer’s obligations and responsibilities. Your employee should deliver the Employer’s Copy of the jury duty summons to you at least five days before the date the employee is required to serve.

An employer should also have a policy that sets forth whether or not an employee will be paid while serving on jury duty. A Florida employer can opt to either pay an employee his or her normal wages while they are away serving on a jury, or to not pay anything. Additionally, if you decide to pay normal wages for employees who are serving jury duty, you have the ability to deduct the amount your employee is paid for juror compensation from their wages.

If you are considering firing an employee for legitimate reasons that are separate from the employee serving on jury duty, you should consider holding off until the employee’s jury service has concluded. Otherwise, the employee may have grounds for bringing a lawsuit against you and it will be difficult for you to prove jury duty was unrelated to the firing.

Contact us to schedule a free consultation. We will provide the advice and guidance you need to protect you and your employees.


Digital Attacks by Employees

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Is the biggest threat against your proprietary information your current or former employees? According to the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, the answer is likely “yes.” Digital attacks can not only disrupt your business’s operations, but also cost you thousands to millions of dollars!

Employees in your IT department can pose the most significant threat. While you may close down an employee’s accounts and log-in information, IT employees often have created their own backdoor login. However, as more companies use cloud storage websites, such as Dropbox, theft of valuable information may be easier. Exchanging information through informal channels increases the chances of a successful cyber-attack.

Why would a disgruntled employee steal information? If they are angry enough, they may attempt to delete date in order to punish you. A former employee may also want to use the private information, such as customer information, in order to gain a competitive edge in their new job. And, having access to a customer’s account can open the door to identity theft as well.

Repairing the damage after data has been stolen can be financially devastating to a business. Not only will you have to upgrade and protect your network, but you may be required to buy credit monitoring services for all parties impacted by the data breach.

Taking preventative measures may seem costly to you, but in the long run it can save your company thousands to millions of dollars. Even having a strategy in place for shutting down an employee’s access all at once can be an effective countermeasure. An employer should also change all administrative passwords to its servers and networks following the departure of an IT employee.

There are many other steps you can take to protect your digital data. To learn more about the topics discussed above or for assistance protecting your business’s assets, please contact us to schedule a free consultation.


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