Employment law covers every aspect of the employer-employee relationship, from hiring and firing to workplace safety, wages and pensions. Keeping up-to-date with current national standards, including regulations set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), can prevent legal disputes and claims from employees and help businesses stay compliant.
An employee handbook can be an invaluable tool for setting the expectations, values and culture of a company as well as outlining procedures and policies that must be followed. An effective handbook should cover such topics as hiring and firing, workplace harassment, discrimination based on religion, age, gender, race or sexual orientation and workers’ compensation.
A well-drafted contract outlines an employee’s job description, duties, compensation, grounds for termination and other information and can be a key protection in the event of a dispute or lawsuit. Understanding how to draft these contracts can reduce the risk of miscommunication between parties and ensure that they’re consistent with national standards.
Federal and state laws prohibit an employer from discriminating and retaliating against employees in a variety of protected classes, and California has specific requirements on these issues, such as pregnancy accommodations, equal pay, wage discussions and protections for whistleblowers. In addition, the state permits preemployment drug testing and background checks but limits salary history inquiries. New York also has laws on overtime, meal and rest breaks, breastfeeding breaks and child labor. When an employee leaves, employers must comply with final pay and job reference and mass layoff notification requirements. See Organizational Exit. Employment law guides