Want to avoid a DOL issue? Establish a mechanism for employees to access if there’s an inappropriate deduction from their paycheck, said Michael Gray, partner, Jones Day law firm.
That was one of 36 legal tips Gray and four more panelists offered HR professionals attending the HR in Hospitality® Conference & Expo in Las Vegas. Moderated by Harry Katz—dean, Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations—the other panelists included: Ilene Berman, partner, Taylor, English & Duma; Gregg Gilman, partner, Davis & Gilbert; David Sherwyn, professor, Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, and Paul E. Wagner, shareholder, Stokes, Roberts & Wagner.
Here’s a sampling of their suggestions: Regarding your company’s leave policy, replace words like “termination” with more flexible language like, “will be reviewed on a case by case basis,” said Gillman. Less is more when submitting a position statement to either the NLRB or EEOC. “Don’t give them policies not relevant to the issue at hand,” said Berman. Make it clear to employees that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy when using the company’s email, social media tools or other technologies, said Wagner. Consider that employees—excluding managers or supervisors—are entitled to representation during an investigation that could lead to disciplinary action or termination. If they ask to bring their lawyer, tell them it’s a private matter and suggest they invite a colleague instead, added Sherwyn.
Keep in mind that retaliation is still the biggest category of EEOC claims, said Berman.
Bottom line to working with the EEOC or NLRB: “Know their extreme ways but (realize) that laws emanate from fairness,” said Wagner.