“Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets planning.”

— Thomas Edison

Employee Handbooks

A company with a good employee handbook can avoid employment litigation issues and exposure to court imposed liability.  A well-crafted handbook clearly explains all company policies and gives the company the opportunity to review its policies and ensure that they fall within legal guidelines.

An experienced firm like Schwartz Manes Ruby can work with you to create an employee handbook that will properly inform your employees while protecting your interests.

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Sexual and Other On-the-Job Harassment

Harassment of any type is not acceptable in the workplace.  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and comparable state laws prohibit all forms of harassment in the workplace.  The law as to what constitutes on the job harassment has exploded in recent years and is developing on virtually a daily basis.

The lawyers at Schwartz Manes Ruby have a detailed understanding of both federal and Ohio harassment laws.  They can help you set up a program to educate employees and management in this area, and aid you in conducting comprehensive and legally valid in-house investigations of all complaints of harassment including representing you in court.

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Minimum Wage and Overtime

Many concerns surround issues of work time and wages.  Employers must consider not only the federal wage and hour laws established by the Fair Labor Standards Act, but also state law, which might have more stringent requirements.

Schwartz Manes Ruby can help you with all aspects of wage and work time issues, including:

  • Ensuring that employers meet federal and state minimum wage requirements
  • Establishing overtime policies that comply with employment law
  • Making sure that pay standards are based only on the skills, experience, and education levels of your employees, rather than on any protected characteristics, such as race, sex, or religion
  • Upholding and maintaining the exempt status of your managerial, supervisory, and professional employees
  • Handling any litigation that might occur in this area

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Severance and Release Agreements

When employment relationships come to an end, it is often times important to define the legal rights and obligations of the employer and employee.  This is particularly the case when the employer is offering severance pay to the employee.  It is vital that the employer receive in return a promise by the employee to release the employer from all legal claims the employee may possibly have against it.  In appropriate cases, it may be necessary for the departing employee to agree not to solicit the employer’s customers or otherwise compete against the employer.

A well-crafted Severance and Release Agreement is the best safeguard to protect the company from future litigation and exposure to damages.  The employment attorneys at Schwartz Manes Ruby & Slovin have the experience and know-how to work with you to negotiate these agreements.

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Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)

Every company can have safety and health issues.  The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) is a federal statute that sets hundreds of standards that every company must meet to ensure the safety of its employees.  OSHA is intended to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths by issuing and enforcing workplace health and safety standards.

The attorneys at Schwartz Manes Ruby are experienced in dealing with the OSHA standards.  They can help you ensure that your workplace meets those standards, and assist you in handling employee safety records requests as needed. They will also be at your side and represent you at on-site OSHA inspections, and negotiate with OSHA on fines when necessary.

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Unionization and Collective Bargaining

If your company employs union workers you need attorneys familiar with the laws governing negotiations between your company and the union, known as “collective bargaining.” You will also need assistance and support should the union file grievances, or bring grievances to arbitration.

Federal and state statutory laws, administrative agency regulations, and judicial decisions all govern collective bargaining.  At the top is the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).  Schwartz Manes Ruby & Slovin’s experience and knowledge of these laws and regulations is critical when dealing with labor issues such as the following:

  • Bargaining with the appointed representatives of a company’s employees
  • Following appropriate guidelines for those employers and employees that are not covered by the NLRA
  • Arbitrating disputes in accordance with regulations

If you are a non-union company, there is still the risk that sometime in the future, a union may try and organize your employees and petition the National Labor Relations Board to hold a secret ballot election as to whether a majority of them want the union to represent them.  The employment law attorneys at Schwartz Manes Ruby & Slovin can help you devise a campaign prior to the election to lawfully persuade your employees why a union is not in their interest, to supervise the election to make sure that the Union does not coerce or threaten your employees, and to ensure that non-eligible employees are not allowed to cast ballots.

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Covenants Not to Compete

Employees are effective because they have learned about your business, your customer base and your technology and the way in which it is run to achieve success.  If employees leave, however, their knowledge can work against you, particularly if they decide to start their own businesses in their employer's same field or go to work for a competitor.

Employees who have specialized knowledge or training or access to sensitive or confidential information are often asked to sign covenants not to compete, which may or may not contain confidentiality agreements.  The laws surrounding these agreements vary from one state to another, so you need attorneys who are knowledgeable in laws of your area.  The skilled attorneys at Schwartz Manes Ruby are well-versed in the laws of Ohio and other states throughout the country, and they can help you draft a document that will protect your business and defend your rights in the event that litigation is necessary.

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Confidentiality Agreements

Businesses have sensitive information such as customer lists, pricing schedules, marketing plans, and product development that need to be protected.  Some employees have access to that information, and employers need to be protected if those employees leave to work for a competitor or to start their own competitive businesses.

Every employee should sign a confidentiality agreement, but drafting an agreement in accordance with the rules of your state requires a great deal of knowledge.  You can trust that the attorneys at Schwartz Manes Ruby & Slovin understand the local laws and can draft an agreement that will be binding in your state.  And we will be there to support you in the event that you are taxed with litigation.

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Discrimination

State and federal law prohibit an employer from discriminating against an employee on the basis of age, sex, disability, race, religion, and national origin. A disgruntled employee can easily file a lawsuit for retaliatory firing, layoff, or discipline citing instances of perceived discrimination.  The same holds true for an applicant when you choose not to hire. These false claims result in costly and distracting litigation which can damage your business and your reputation.  Even when you have the appropriate documentation to support your reasons for taking action against your employee, the employee can still put his case in front of a jury.

The attorneys at Schwartz Manes Ruby are prepared to defend your interests when an employee unjustly claims to have been fired or otherwise adversely treated based on disability, race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, origin, or sexual orientation.  Our knowledge of the law, investigative skills, and trial experience will prove invaluable to our clients.  We employ the most effective legal strategy needed to make sure that your business is protected.

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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Investigations

Businesses with over 15 employees may be investigated by the EEOC, a federal agency, for allegations of discrimination based on gender, race, age, religion, national origin, or disability.  Once a charge of discrimination is filed against an employer, the employee will be assigned an investigator to the case who will contact the employer for its side of the story.

In some cases, you may have an option to mediate or settle, rather than proceed to trial with the investigation. Or, the employer may choose to defend against the allegations of discrimination leveled by the employee. The attorneys at Schwartz Manes Ruby provide experienced and qualified legal counsel to help you decide which alternative is in your best interests. Should you choose to fight the employee's charges, we will aid you in mounting a vigorous defense.

The employee also has the right to take his or her case directly to court, sometimes bypassing the EEOC altogether. Should you be faced with such a lawsuit, the employment law attorneys at Schwartz Manes Ruby are there to defend you. They have many years of practice defending employers in Federal and State court, and are well-equipped, and dedicated to providing a thorough and vigorous defense on your behalf.

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Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Employers with more than 50 employees within 75 miles of each other are required by FMLA to allow employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave annually to deal with any of the following emergencies:

  • Serious health issues of their own
  • Caring for close family members with diagnosed serious health conditions of their own
  • The birth or adoption of a child

The employer is required to reinstate the employee to their former position once their 12 week period of due benefits are complete.

Only an employee who has worked for your company for at least 12 months and who has accumulated at least 1250 hours within 12 months before filing for FMLA leave is entitled to FMLA benefits.

The attorneys at Schwartz Manes Ruby are familiar with the complex laws that affect your rights as an employer.  We provide knowlegeable counsel to help you determine whether your employee is covered by the FMLA or is entitled to benefits. We will also guide you through all of the personnel and needed documentation required when your employees request and go onto FMLA leave. Finally, we will provide effective legal representation when an employee threatens to sue.

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Whistleblower Claims

A whistleblower is an employee who alerts his or her employer or an outside agency to a condition or issue that may result in sanctions against the employer for violating the law.  An example of a whistleblower claim would be a factory worker who complains to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that his employer has not implemented the correct safety procedures.  Another example would be an employee who notifies her employer's human resource department that she has heard racial slurs being used by management. The employment attorneys at Schwartz Manes Ruby can provide your company the guidance to ensure that these whistleblowers cannot claim they have been punished or retaliated against because of their activities. If the whistleblower files a discrimination suit in state or federal court, we will be there to rigorously defend your company.

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Call our office at (513) 579-1414 or contact us online today to help with employment issues.