Updates: Articles & Updates

Why is Breaking Up So Hard to Do?

Nobody likes a bad breakup. Getting closure with a terminated employee is getting harder thanks to recent actions by the EEOC and the NLRB challenging what many regarded as standard severance agreement language. On April 1, 2015, the SEC announced its first enforcement action against a company for using improperly restrictive language in confidentiality agreements. Employers should review their agreements to ensure they don’t run afoul of the latest agency enforcement positions, a topic addressed in a December 1, 2014 Texas Lawyer article authored by Cheri Thomas and Larry Stuart.

Click here for a copy of the article.

Out Sick, or Sick of Work?

What’s a manager to do with employees who can’t do their jobs because of medical issues? Employers continue to struggle with how best to handle workers who seem to be more focused on their work limitations than on getting the job done. Managers with good intentions may expose themselves to personal liability and put their company at risk. As detailed in Ehsan Tabesh and Larry Stuart’s article entitled “Out Sick, or Sick of Work” in the March/April 2014 issue of Well Servicing magazine, managers should take time to understand and handle employee medical issues very carefully.

Click here for a copy of the article.

Is That Worker Really an Independent Contractor?

Classifying workers as contractors presents an array of legal risks.  And with the DOL, IRS and state workforce agencies on the lookout for companies that have misclassified workers as independent contractors, companies should proceed with caution.  Hollie Reiminger and Larry Stuart’s article in the January 2014 issue of Well Servicing details the legal standards and risks associated with use of independent contractors.  Click here for a copy of the article.

Is Your Non-Compete Agreement Enforceable?

Use of non-compete and non-solicitation agreements is on the rise.  Whether an agreement will be found enforceable will depend on state law, the specific language of the agreement, and the background facts.  Larry Stuart and Glen Rigby published an article entitled “Locking Up Employees with Non-Compete Agreements”in the November/December 2013 issue of Well Servicing magazine. Click here for a copy of the article.

Handling Employees With Medical Issues

Employers know they must reasonably accommodate qualified employees who have disabilities, but what’s an employer to do when an employee’s medical condition or treatment protocol presents serious safety concerns?  The company must tread lightly and be prepared to gather accurate information and document its good faith efforts to work with the employee to identify possible solutions.  Stuart PC’s August 2013 newsletter details the EEOC ‘s interpretation of applicable standards and outlines steps employers should take to reduce the risk of claims.  Click here for a copy.

Effectively Managing Employee Performance

Most managers hate to manage and document employee performance problems, and many managers overstate the quality of employee performance when they perform annually reviews.  In doing so, managers may unknowingly set up and make it harder to defend discrimination and retaliation claims.  In their article “Documenting Employee Performance,” Cheri Thomas and Larry Stuart provide guidance for managers and HR professionals about how to manage employee performance and reduce the risk of claims.  Click here for a copy of the article.

Hiring and Firing Employees

It is the age old problem:  managers want to act quickly, HR and legal professionals want to move slowly and carefully.  Most managers make staffing and disciplinary decisions without fully appreciating the legal issues implicated by their actions, including their own exposure to personal liability.  In their article “Hiring and Firing,” Hollie Reiminger and Larry Stuart detail issues managers and HR professionals should consider when making personnel decisions.  Click here for a copy of the article.

Misclassification of Workers and Unpaid Overtime – the Next Litigation Gusher

Larry Stuart and Glen Rigby’s article entitled “Misclassification of Workers and Unpaid Overtime – the Next Litigation Gusher” was published in the November/December issue of Well Servicing magazine. The article details many ways energy services companies may violate the Fair Labor Standards Act through their unique pay and compensation practices and provides guidance on how to identify and correct deficient pay practices. Click here for a copy of the article.

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