The Hamilton Law Blog

Handling an Employee Complaint

As an employer and an entrepreneur, the highest and best use of your time is spent in working in your business. The most frustrating part of your job as a manager is likely to be the moment when you receive the charge from the NJ Division of Civil Rights (DCR) or EEOC alleging that you or one of your employees has committed some form of harassment and discrimination.

In most cases, you have already been notified about the facts and circumstances supporting the charge. It is likely that the charging employee will have complained to HR or a supervisor about his or her concerns. At this juncture, it is imperative for you to contact your attorney to investigate the merits of the complaint and ensure that any offending behavior, if deemed to have occurred, is stopped and addressed immediately. As an employer, you strive to maintain a safe and healthy working environment, which has the added benefit of increasing productivity and reducing "drama."

However, there will be times when you find yourself faced with an employee complaint about harassment, discrimination or bullying (to be discussed in a subsequent post).

Defending against sexual harassment allegations in the workplace

As an employer, you understand employees have the right to expect fair and appropriate treatment. New Jersey employees are entitled to a workplace that is free from harassment, including unwanted sexual advances. If allegations of sexual harassment arise, however, what should employers do next?

As a business owner, you understand the importance of protecting the interests of your company while still protecting the rights of your employees. Issues involving supposed sexual harassment incidents are serious, and they are a threat to the legal and financial well-being of your business. There is significant benefit in taking immediate steps to defend your business and handle any type of allegation appropriately.

Franchisee Negotiated A Commercial Lease That Complied With The Franchise Agreement And The Mall Developer's Objectives.

A franchisee was looking to open a new location for their business in a yet-to-be-built strip mall. The negotiating parties would include the developer, franchisor, and franchisee. The franchise agreement stipulated what types of businesses could be adjacent to the client's business. The franchisee and franchisor also wanted the developer to provide environmental testing and indemnification defense to environmental issues after the testing.

Can writing protect your interests in a lawsuit?

As an employer, you continuously have things on your "to do" list. You may need to establish a budget, monitor productivity, create a sales strategy and comply with your franchise agreement.

You also need to manage your employees. In some cases, you may decide to separate an employee from the company due to performance issues. But do you know how to protect your interests if a former employee files a lawsuit against you for letting them go?

Proper documentation can guide you and your employees along the path to success

In addition to being costly, fighting a lawsuit can detract a great deal of time and focus from your company. And if you work to develop quality relationships with those who report to you, a lawsuit may seem hurtful on a personal level.

Why every business, regardless of size, needs an employee handbook

As you begin to grow your business, your first thought is usually to bring on people to help increase deliverables and revenue. However, before you hire your first employee, you must have the systems in place to protect you and your business. When hiring new employees, this means having a time-tracking and payroll system in place. Those are easy to implement with online resources like Quickbooks, Square Space or ADP or other payroll programs which fully integrate these functions into your workplace. However, the one thing you must have in place before you hire your first employee is an employee handbook.

Filing a complaint may bring an end to a hostile workplace

Most New Jersey residents have mixed feelings about going to work. Some people may love their jobs, and others may dread the mundane activities they have to complete. You may have obtained the type of job you always wanted, but you still find yourself not wanting to go to work most days. The actions of your supervisors or co-workers may contribute to these feelings.

You may be the victim of serious mistreatment on the job. Other people with whom you work may treat you unfairly due to your religion, gender, race or other protected characteristics. As a result, you may feel anxiety and stress before going into work because of the hostile environment that supervisors or co-workers have created.

Unnecessary age concerns could lead to age discrimination

When you first started your career path, you likely did not expect to find yourself looking for a new job at an older age. You may have worked at the same company while garnering valuable experience for years only to have the company close or other issues result in your needing a new job. Of course, because of your experience and hard-working nature, you likely did not expect it to be a problem.

Unfortunately, you could face a number of issues when it comes to finding a new job over the age of 40. You certainly may have younger competition for the same job, and though you have more experience, your prospective employer may seem more inclined to opt for younger workers. However, if you face age discrimination even during the hiring process, you may have cause to file a legal claim.

Avoiding religious discrimination at your business

You may be one of the many people in New Jersey for whom the practice of religion is of highest importance, providing the principles that guide your every decision. On the other hand, maybe it's not for you. You may feel that religion has its place, and those who practice it should not force others to believe the same way.

If you are an employer, however, the faith of your employees should not factor into the way you treat them. This includes everything from your decision about whether to hire someone to the reasons why you terminate a worker. In fact, the law protects workers from discrimination based on their faith.

Is handing out severance agreements necessary?

Letting go of employees is difficult. Knowing how you should handle it can certainly be a challenge. Many business owners in New Jersey and elsewhere may not be sure if handing out severance agreements is a requirement or when it is appropriate.

A severance agreement is basically a compensation package given to an employee when a company lets him or her go. Severance agreements are not a requirement for every termination. For example, it is not necessary when firing an at-will employee. It is generally necessary when firing an employee under contract, in exchange for the employee waiving his or her rights to sue or for post-employment control.

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