I’ve always said I picked the two professions most prone to jokes – Sailor and lawyer. Let’s face it: the legal profession is inherently adversarial and we often represent controversy. There is, however, a sub-industry in the legal profession which endeavors to avoid controversy. For example, a soundly drafted estate plan helps prevent miscommunication which often leads to litigation. In the employment context, a clear and articulate policy that establishes expectations and consequences can be a deterrent to litigation, and often provides employers with a sound defense when challenged by employees. As an employment lawyer, I prefer to help employers foresee and avoid legal challenges through sound drafting of good internal policies and procedures which help ensure compliance with the many complex and often cumbersome laws to which employers are bound.
It’s easy to miss a new regulation or a new law – they change seemingly by the minute. When the Supreme Court of the United States rules on a labor case, as it did recently, the implications of that decision affect many employers in Oregon. When the Oregon legislature makes law affecting employers, or when the Oregon courts rule on cases that do the same, employers need to know how this kind of change will affect their practices and employees, not to mention their bottom line.
As if navigating the ever-changing legal landscape of employment laws is not enough, employers must also be prepared to defend themselves, their company and its policies, should an employee ever file a complaint. The #metoo movement alone is sufficient motivation for many employers to revisit their sexual harassment and grievance reporting policies.
Whether it is a comprehensive overhaul of your employee handbook, a revamp of a few policies, or even just a discussion of best practices in your workplace, an ounce of prevention today is worth a pound of cure. Some of the services I provide for employers:
- Employee handbooks that are tailored to your business needs
- Stand-alone policies informing employees of updates
- Annual review of employee handbooks and policies
- Employment agreements
- Workplace best practices in order to avoid common legal pitfalls
This article is not intended to provide legal advice. For a consultation, please contact me. Please do NOT include sensitive or confidential information in this inquiry. I am not your attorney until you have hired me, which will not happen until we meet in person and you have signed and returned an engagement letter.