Whether you employ 10 employees or 1,000, your company needs strategic labor and employment advice and human resources consultation that you can rely on.
The attorneys in our Employment group have a breadth and depth of expertise that you should expect in choosing employment counsel to represent your business. Whether your company has questions about day-to-day human resources issues, needs accurate and strategic employment-related business advice, or needs employment litigation defense, we can help.
In times past, most employees went to work for a company where they planned to stay for their entire career. In today’s mobile society, that is no longer the case. Today, most employers need to be creative in the ways that they compensate and motivate key employees. This is especially true in those industries where the employer’s most valuable asset walks out of the door each evening.
Our experienced business lawyers can help employers in structuring compensation arrangements that motivate and help keep key employees, including those situations where the employer wants to provide the employee with some level of ownership or other benefits.
Many plans and programs can offer tax advantages as well as long-term incentives for employees. We help to provide our clients with plan design and employee communication materials that are understandable to the employee and that comply with the applicable tax, labor, and securities law requirements.
Employers find themselves routinely dealing with various state and federal agencies. Whether you’re defending against a claim brought by an employee or being cited for alleged safety violations, knowing the landscape of the agency, the legal standards for prevailing, and the type of evidence that is required is only part of knowing how to defend your business.
Our attorneys regularly represent both small and large employers before various administrative agencies – including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC), the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission, the Department of Labor, the Ohio Industrial Commission, and state and federal courts throughout Ohio.
You can’t avoid paying premiums or contributions to state agencies, but not every claim should be taken lying down. The assessment of an experienced lawyer may help you decide when to challenge an unfounded workers’ compensation or unemployment claim.
When your dealings with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation don’t involve a claim, but rather an audit for employer premiums that seem inconsistent with the makeup of your workforce, we will assist you in the preparation process and any hearing that may be needed to challenge the audit results.
Other aspects of workers’ compensation law include Violations of Specific Safety Requirements (VSSRs) and intentional tort claims. When faced with a VSSR or an intentional tort suit, an employer’s best defense is preparedness and being able to demonstrate how safety is an integral part of the business. With the help of your Carlile Patchen & Murphy LLP attorney, employers are better equipped to foresee legal risk and defend such claims.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) was created at a time when employees were provided with very little in the way of safety in the workplace. Today, employers must be continually vigilant of changes in OSHA practices and requirements, and the increasing number of retaliation claims brought by employees or witnesses. It is important to develop and consistently implement policies and practices to ensure workplace safety. If you find yourself dealing with a scheduled OSHA inspection or a surprise OSHA visit, we will help you weigh the pros and cons of defending or negotiating these charges.
You’ve made a personnel decision, now you must be prepared to defend it. Whether you’ve been sued as a company or as a management representative of a company, the employment law world has become a minefield for the unwary business owner, CEO, HR manager or supervisor. Knowing the laws is half the battle – knowing how to defend a case in court is equally important. Your case may be in federal court or state court, a jury trial or a bench trial, a single-issue case or a complex case on a protracted litigation calendar.
Our experienced attorneys will help you navigate litigation and discuss meaningful plans at each stage of the case, through any verdict, appeal or settlement. At the same time, our skilled lawyers will discuss litigation options with you and to help achieve your business objectives.
Our broad range of experience in other employment litigation matters includes defending management on the following issues:
A company’s most valuable resource is often its intellectual property or other protectable trade secrets and ‘know-how.’ What happens when an employee leaves and threatens to take or secretly takes customer information or other information that gives your business its competitive advantage?
Our experience in litigation includes successful prosecution and defense of confidentiality agreements, non-competition or non-solicitation cases, either representing the former employer, the former employee(s) or the new employer.
Our proactive approach to helping clients deal with everyday workplace issues starts with helping them to set clear guidelines and expectations for their workforce. Our attorneys are skilled at helping clients to develop and enforce workplace policies, in order to create and maintain a healthy work environment that benefits the employer and employees.
Beyond policy drafting, if you have questions about what documents you’re required to maintain, who you can hire, when you can discipline or fire a problem employee, when you can run a background check without consent, or anything else that impacts the day-to-day aspects of the employment relationship, our attorneys can guide you through the maze of employment laws.
Involving our lawyers in the management process early will result in a more deliberate approach to hiring, firing and promotion. You will gain confidence dealing with unique personnel problems and anticipating possible outcomes, navigating the labyrinth of leave laws, properly documenting performance or other problems, and generally getting ahead of a personnel issue before it escalates.
Avoiding claims of discrimination and harassment at work is not only smart business, but it is also legally mandated. When workplace dynamics cross boundaries of propriety, we help management handle delicate workplace situations, investigate complaints and avoid potential problems. We guide employers on the appropriate next steps to avoid future litigation. Whether the problems are resolved through customized employee or management training, discipline, or ultimately, termination, our experienced lawyers will assist you in proactively limiting inappropriate workplace behavior before it becomes a costly and distracting legal problem.
We will help you navigate the various obligations that employers face when a medical or other type of leave is needed or to assess the employer’s requirement to participate in the interactive process and possibly provide a reasonable accommodation for an eligible employee. Whether your challenges arise under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Ohio laws, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), military leave laws, the state’s workers’ compensation laws, or policies voluntarily created by your company to provide for time off, our attorneys will consider how these programs intersect and how you can comply with them.
When can I test an applicant or employee that I suspect of being impaired? Can I terminate an employee who failed a drug test? Handling these sensitive matters in a compliant way requires a solid knowledge of the applicable laws and the ability to help employers develop policies that can be practically implemented. Whether your company elects to have a drug-free workplace policy or is required to do so in order to obtain public contracts, your ability to ensure a safe working environment is critical to your business and the well-being of your employees. Our team will assist you with developing drug-free workplace policies, dealing with possible violations of it, and thinking about how that may impact workers’ compensation claims.
Crafting agreements that address key terms and conditions of employment, stock options, golden parachutes or other negotiated terms comes down to knowledge of the laws and a careful eye for details. Our experienced lawyers will assist you in documenting your objectives and expectations by helping you prepare or review:
You’ve invested heavily in technology, sales training and customer development. How do you protect your intangible assets from misuse or misappropriation? Using well-crafted agreements and knowing when to enforce them requires more than just an understanding of the applicable laws. Your legal advisor will help you focus on what is important to your business and what the courts will enforce. Armed with this added protection, you will be able to better entrust your company’s trade secrets or other valuable assets to employees or third parties. Consider the need to protect your intangible resources when:
I pay my employees a salary – must I pay overtime? How do I record my employees’ hours worked? How long must I keep payroll records? What do I do if I’m audited? Knowing how states and the federal government handle these questions is crucial to staying in compliance. Carlile Patchen & Murphy LLP attorneys will help you properly classify your workforce and determine how compensation should be calculated. In the event that you are audited, we will vigorously defend you or help you to negotiate a resolution with the governmental agency.
Severance agreements are used to protect employers from future liability after voluntary or involuntary termination of an employee. Our Employment law attorneys can assist clients with reviewing, negotiating and drafting severance agreements that will protect their interests.