By:  Carol Nibley
Let’s focus our attention this month on some legal basics every employer should know and understand.

Issue:  Retaliation is now the most frequently cited form of discrimination, edging out race discrimination.
Solution:  Make sure you and your managers do not take adverse action against an employee or applicant because he/she filed a charge of discrimination, complained to you, or participated in a disciplinary proceeding against you.

Issue:  Wage and hour-related complaints comprise the majority of class/collective-action lawsuits filed in federal or state courts, and the Obama administration has added more than 300 new investigators to increase enforcement.
Solution:  Conduct a thorough audit of your payroll practices. Ensure compliance with recordkeeping, overtime pay provisions, youth labor restrictions, and minimum wage. Learn and apply regulations pertaining to “donning and doffing” activities, travel time pay, on-call pay, and other sometimes tricky technical practices required by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Be especially careful to ensure that any independent contractors really are independent.

Issue:  Social media concerns, from employee use of social networking sites while on the clock, to employees revealing confidential company information, continue to explode.
Solution:  Develop, train employees, and enforce a comprehensive social media policy to avoid potentially costly missteps online. (Contact me if you would like to receive a sample policy.)

Issue:  Utah is one of a few states that mandates the use of E-Verify for employers with 15 or more employees.
Solution:  Use this link (https://secure.utah.gov/verifyreg/index.html ) to register and participate in this program.

Issue:  New laws and programs continue to create challenges for employers to navigate.
Solution:  Subscribe to at least one online newsletter to keep abreast of current regulatory guidelines; partner with professionals who can update your employee handbook and employment practices; and treat your employees with respect. Most litigation can be avoided if employees feel fairly and respectfully treated in the workplace.

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