Employee Handbooks

Employee handbooks play an important role in communicating the terms and expectations of an employee’s work relationship. Loh Legal conducts comprehensive reviews of employee handbooks to ensure that an employer’s policies accurately reflect the applicable workplace culture, policies, and goals, all the while remaining compliant with California’s constantly evolving workplace laws and regulations.

Independent Contractor v. Employee Classification Issues

California law presumes that individuals performing work on behalf of another entity are employees. At the same time, creating an employee-relationship imposes numerous obligations on an employer including mandatory compliance with wage and hour laws, payroll, worker’s compensation insurance, and unemployment tax withholdings. California law operates under a unique set of ever-changing laws when it comes to determining whether a worker is an employee versus an independent contractor.

Loh Legal offers the following services designed to prevent litigation and mitigate risk arising from improper worker classifications:

  • Tailored audit and detailed assessment as to whether workers have been properly classified;
  • Analysis of potential exposure and related risks;
  • Strategize and plan corrective actions to be taken if necessary;
  • Draft, revise, and review employee and/or independent contractor agreements;
  • Provide ongoing updates as the law on this subject continues to evolve

Harassment & Discrimination Training

Defending an employment-related lawsuit through trial costs an employer approximately $250,000.00. Many of these lawsuits arise from employee claims of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. Employers may be held liable for the harassing acts of their workers and separately, for failing to prevent workplace harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.

The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have placed a renewed focus on protected class issues in the workplace, making it imperative that employers promote an inclusive, tolerant workplace that embraces all aspects of employee diversity.

Proper workplace training is vital to educating employees about zero tolerance policies, methods for reporting potentially unlawful acts, and ensuring that every individual understands their obligation to comply with federal, state, and local employment laws. As a qualified workplace-training instructor, Loh Legal offers comprehensive workplace training for employees in personalized group settings to maximize effectiveness and minimize your risk.

Workplace Investigations

A workplace investigation should be conducted whenever an employer has received a complaint or credible information conveying the occurrence of a significant wrongdoing, misconduct or ethical lapse. Employers may be held liable for the harassing acts of their workers and for failing to prevent workplace harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. An improper or incomplete workplace investigation exposes an employer to significant legal risk.

Loh Legal conducts timely, fair, and thorough investigations into allegations of improper workplace misconduct. The Firm prides itself on performing unbiased and efficient investigations. Investigatory services include interviewing key witnesses, reviewing documents, and making findings as to what has occurred. Common workplace investigation topics include:

  • Discrimination (based on gender, race, religion, national origin, disability, age, and other protected categories) in hiring, assignments, promotions, and terminations;
  • Sexual harassment and other forms of workplace harassment;
  • Bullying;
  • Retaliation;
  • Whistleblowing and retaliation for whistleblowing;
  • Workplace misconduct and violation of rules, expectations, and ethics;
  • Wrongful discipline, including suspensions and terminations.

Discipline and Performance Reviews

Employee performance reviews should be conducted in a consistent, timely, accurate, and comprehensive manner. Similarly, discipline should be imposed equally across similarly situated individuals and according to well-established standards and procedures. When a company deviates from standard review and disciplinary procedures, this makes it difficult to manage employee performance and creates unnecessary legal exposure.

Loh Legal offers the following services relating to employee performance management:

  • Preventative advice and counsel on best practices for conducting effective performance reviews and disciplinary measures;
  • Real time advice and counsel on specific employee issues occurring within an organization;
  • Ongoing advice and counsel relating to employee performance management

Termination Procedures

Employee terminations are a particularly sensitive matter fraught with risk. If handled poorly, an employer may significantly increase its likelihood of facing a government investigation or lawsuit. Loh Legal provides advice and counsel on best practices for managing employee terminations while truly minimizing business exposure.

Severance Packages & Separation Agreements

While not required under California law, many employers offer departing employees severance packages to mitigate their potential legal liability. Loh Legal leverages its experience representing employees to provide employers with a realistic assessment of their legal risk and financial exposure in the severance package context. The firm has extensive experience negotiating and reviewing employment separation agreements.

Interviews & Offer Letters

California law offers broad protections to workers and expressly protects job applicants from harassment and discrimination. Employers may face legal liability by virtue of their interview and candidate screening processes even if the individual is never hired. Loh Legal offers preventative advice and counsel designed to ensure an employer’s compliance with legal regulations while undertaking the job applicant screening and interview process.

Workplace Policies & Procedures

An employer’s management team sets the tone of a workplace environment. Workplace policies must convey a zero-tolerance approach to inappropriate behavior. An employer must also effectively communicate its internal procedures for reporting improper conduct. These policies and procedures play an essential role in eradicating unlawful workplace behavior and mitigating employer risk. Loh Legal is experienced in providing advice and counsel for a broad array of employer workplace policies.

Employment Law Updates & Best Practices

California’s workplace laws change on a frequent basis and employers are expected to be up-to-date after these changes occur. New workplace regulations may require an employer to change its handbook, training, and/or internal policies. Loh Legal offers employers the ability to receive regular updates about changes to the law to ensure compliance and reduce future liability.