Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Employee Handbooks -- Updates for 2013

I think I got your attention with yesterday's post.  I hope so.  Now give me two more minutes of your time. 

California is a difficult place to do business as an employer.  We have too many laws governing the workplace.  The volume of laws, as well as the complexity of these laws, spurs litigation. 

Litigation is expensive.  I use a case against Ruiz Food, a large Central Valley employer, as an example.  A former employee sued the company for perceived disability discrimination.  The employee did not have a substantial wage loss.  The case took about two years to get to trial.  At the end of the trial, the jury awarded the plaintiff about $42,000.  That is not a lot of money after two years of litigation.  I suspect Ruiz could say it "won" the case, with such a small award. 

However, the plaintiff's attorney made a motion for attorneys' fees.  The court awarded the attorney $428,000 in fees.  (That doesn't even take into consideration what Ruiz Food paid its own lawyers.) 


My focus is to help employers comply with the laws governing California workplaces, whether created by legislation, regulation or court opinion.  I don't want my clients to face litigation, potentially large verdicts and even larger awards for attorneys' fees. 

We are coming up on the end of 2012.  New laws go into effect in 2013.  Many court cases have made an impact on how employers manage their workplaces.  Regulatory agencies, such as the NLRB, have made an imprint on how we manage the workforce. 

Your handbook should reflect those changes in the law.  The handbook should be a tool managers can use as a guide to handle personnel issues when they arise on the job. 

Our handbooks do just that.  And I will be developing new policies and procedures for use in handbooks in 2013.  If you have a handbook that has not been updated for a few years, now is the time to get it done.  Be ready for the new laws in 2013.  Send me an email or give me a call. 

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