Posts Tagged ‘Employee Policies’

Substantive Law & Regulatory Agencies for Employment and Labor Law

March 17th, 2015 By Virtual Paralegal Services

Every member of a company plays a role in ensuring that the company follows all state and federal laws as well as abides by local public policy. This is part of supporting the substantive law that governs your industry and your region. In most companies, the Human Resources department is tasked with maintaining these standards and ensuring that all of the company’s employees are treated fairly according to the law.

Substantive law is the written law that outlines civil duties and rights. This includes crimes and their penalties, civil rights, and individual and group responsibilities. This is in contrast to procedural law, which is the body of laws that govern court proceedings on civil, administrative, and criminal court matters.

Substantive law governs almost every part of your life. How you run your business, how you behave in public, how you handle clients and employees, and how you conduct your day-to-day activities are all, sometimes more overtly than others, affected by the substantive law in place.

The United States Department of Labor
The substantive employment laws of the United States are enforced by the United States Department of Labor. This federal department enforces the laws that govern wage and hour standards, re-employment services, unemployment benefits, and occupational safety in the United States. Many states also have state-level labor departments as well.

Some examples of substantive employment laws enforced by this department are:

As an employer, you are likely to be familiar with these laws. If you are unsure about how to implement one of the policies contained in one of these or any other employment law, your virtual paralegal can research and examine the statute for you.

Employment and Labor Litigation
Litigation is the process of taking legal action. Virtually any type of employment or labor dispute can end up in court to be resolved through litigation. Some examples of these cases are:

  • Harassment claims
  • Contract disputes
  • Breach of contract claims
  • Discrimination litigation
  • Fraud
  • Whistleblower claims
  • Wrongful termination
  • Unsafe working conditions claims

There can be some overlap between employment law and personal injury law, business law, civil law, and even criminal defense.

Virtual Paralegal Services Anywhere You Are
When you need support for your company’s needs, contact Virtual Paralegal Services. We provide you with access to a team of senior level paralegals across a range of practice areas including legal research, drafting legal documents, and litigation support, all without the added hassle and experience limitations of hiring a single full time paralegal. Contact us today to learn more about each of the services we offer and how we can serve your company.

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Employment Law: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Issues Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination

August 18th, 2014 By Virtual Paralegal Services

Last month, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a much-anticipated update to its policy with the Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Other Issues. As the EEOC reports, it is the first comprehensive update on pregnancy discrimination that the agency has issued since 1983. The EEOC issues Guidances to inform the public and employers about the agency’s position on workplace issues such as discrimination. These Guidances often provide suggestions for best practices in the workplace and discuss recent cases involving the EEOC.

In the new Guidance, the EEOC discusses employers’ obligations under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). In essence, the EEOC sets forth that the PDA prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of pregnancy or childbirth and must treat pregnant employees the same as other employees who are similarly situated in their ability to work.

For example, if the employer provides light duty accommodations to an employee with a disability, the employer must also provide light duty to pregnant women who request it due to pregnancy conditions. Light duty generally refers to work that is less physically or mentally challenging than normal duties.

Light duty is often discussed in the context of workers with a disability. While pregnancy is not a recognized disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), the EEOC Guidance makes it clear that the agency’s position is that pregnancy-related conditions should be recognized under the law as protected against discrimination.

The EEOC Guidance also discussed several other issues pertinent to pregnant employees in the workplace:

  • Lactation as a pregnancy-related condition;
  • Required leave for pregnant employees and other issues regarding pregnancy-related medical leave;
  • Parental leave policies in the workplace;
  • Best practices for employers to avoid discriminating against employers on the basis of pregnancy;
  • Pregnancy-related discrimination of job applicants; and
  • Reasonable accommodations for employees with pregnancy-related conditions.

The Guidance was issued right around the same time that the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case next term on light duty and allegations of pregnancy discrimination. In Young v. UPS, Ms. Young was a truck driver for UPS who was refused light duty work assignments during her pregnancy even though the company provides light duty for individuals with disabilities under the ADAAA. Employers and attorneys will be anticipating the outcome of the Young case to see if it will differ from the EEOC Guidance. EEOC Guidances are not binding law, although courts do look to them in determining how to apply the law.

The EEOC reports that it received 3,541 formal complaints of pregnancy discrimination in 2013.

In light of the EEOC’s new Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Other Issues, employers may wish to review their policies, handbooks and other documents to determine whether they need to update those materials. Employers may also want to review employee training materials with regard to anti-discrimination policies against pregnant employees.

Virtual Paralegal Services include drafting company policies and employment manuals. If you would like to discuss how we can help your business, please contact us.

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