Kramer, Elkins & Watt

Employment Law

Employment laws are numerous and varied. KEW attorneys have represented both employees and employers, which gives us a unique perspective when representing either.

The law tends to favor employees. Contact us for a consultation on your employment practices before you find this out the hard way. We can provide a precautionary audit before the Department of Labor or Department of Workforce Development come knocking, so that you have time to fix illegal practices you may not even know are illegal before it’s too late.

We can help you draft employee handbooks and employment agreements, consult regarding independent contractors v. employees, terminating an employee, draft and assist with enforcing non-competition (often referred to as “non-compete” agreements) and non-solicitation agreements, and much more.

We want your business to run smoothly without surprises.

Employment Compliance

Tracking the multitude of employment laws can be a challenge, but the attorneys at KEW are well versed at navigating these complex legal waters. A consultation with a KEW attorney will help protect your business by informing you of the mandates of various laws and providing you with tools to avoid problems in the future. For example, a KEW attorney will discuss the importance of record-keeping, worker’s compensation insurance, unemployment insurance, documents required by the employer, probationary periods and more.

Employee Handbooks

An employee handbook is designed to explain to employees what is expected of them, and what employees can expect from their employer. Setting clear expectations is crucial to avoid later conflict, and even more crucial is to follow all written policies in a handbook.

As attorneys with experience representing employers in discrimination cases, we are keenly aware that the very first step of an attorney representing a disgruntled employee is to review the handbook to look for examples of an employer’s non-compliance. As such, KEW attorneys are equipped to carefully draft handbooks to properly reflect the practices of our clients’ specific businesses and to ensure compliance with the law.

Employment Contracts

An employment contract is a way for an employer to protect its business and to provide clear expectations to the employee. KEW attorneys work with employers to draft contracts to protect confidential information of the business, to keep employees from soliciting the employer’s clients, and may include clauses that address other employer concerns as well. 

Employee Discipline or Termination Consultation

Disciplining and terminating an employee can be tricky and complicated, especially when an employee falls into a protected class. KEW attorneys are prepared to provide guidance as to what is necessary to say and provide to an employee during a discussion regarding discipline or termination. Properly conducting discipline and termination can help avoid future problems.

Employment Discrimination Defense

Even where all proper protections are in place, and all policies were followed in terminating or disciplining an employee, an unhappy current or former employee can still file a discrimination complaint. KEW attorneys work with businesses to review the details of the termination/disciplinary action, review all options, and provide advice about the best approach for the defense of the action. Keep in mind that many insurance policies cover this defense and many also allow a business to choose their own attorney to complete the defense.

Employee or Independent Contractor Consultation

Whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor is a tricky question and the answer lies in an application of tests from different agencies – the IRS, Worker’s Compensation and Unemployment Insurance. Misclassifying a worker as an independent contractor when the worker is actually an employee typically results in payment of back taxes and fines and can seriously damage a business. Attorneys at KEW can provide an analysis for each classification of worker at an employer’s business and provide advice on how best to classify a worker to avoid future problems.

Unemployment Insurance

Any business with employees is required to pay Unemployment Insurance on those employees. Certain officers can opt out of paying unemployment insurance for themselves. The Department of Workforce Development can make mistakes and send notices to employers indicating they have large tax liabilities. KEW attorneys can analyze communications from Unemployment Insurance and determine whether it is properly imposing penalties.

Which employees are eligible for unemployment insurance depends on the circumstances with which they left the company and how long they worked at the company. KEW can help consult with a business to determine whether it makes sense to oppose Unemployment Insurance for a former employee or not, and can represent clients at a hearing.

Worker’s Compensation

KEW attorneys provide consultation to business owners regarding worker’s compensation. This discussion ties closely with the analysis of whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor because on occasion workers classified as independent contractors may seek worker’s compensation upon becoming injured. Labeling someone as an independent contractor won’t prohibit a worker from obtaining worker’s compensation if that worker is actually an employee. An employer who has failed to obtain worker’s compensation insurance on that worker will likely face steep fines and back taxes.

Tricky Employment Situation Consultations

Clients often call us because of difficult issues occurring with one or more employees at their business. For example, an issue that may plague an employer is a situation where an employee is unable to work and receiving worker’s compensation with no scheduled return to work date, and the business is struggling without the employee, or alternatively, once that employee left, the business discovered that it would be better off without that employee.

Another issue may be where an employee has indicated that she is having medical issues and at the same time has become extremely unreliable in showing up to work and completing her work responsibilities. Situations like these need to be carefully managed, and KEW attorneys are prepared to discuss such a business owner to work towards a suitable solution.

Have questions about Employment Law? We’ll help find you the answers

Contact us today for help with your employment issues.