Today’s employers find themselves facing an ever-expanding complex and confusing array of business laws, regulations, court decisions, and myths when it comes to dealing with employees. The increased use of mobile devices, social media, and plain “old” Google, pose numerous concerns for employers and employees alike. In an effort to protect yourself, you need the assistance of an experienced small business law attorney. My experience in both private practice and in-house at a company with over one thousand employees, allows him to efficiently analyze the issues that confront you, plan ways to avoid these issues in a practical matter and offer practical solutions when they do arise.
Classifying Someone as an Independent Contractor as opposed to an Employee
Knowing if someone is an employee or an independent contractor is not easy. Texas and the U.S. Government use different tests that can result in different determinations given the same set of facts and circumstances. The recent economic downturn has seen a rise in claims made against businesses when employees are let go, not only by the employee but also by the State and Federal governments. A clear and comprehensive plan addressing how workers are classified can provide strong proof when dealing with inquiries from the Texas Workforce Commission or the I.R.S. An attorney with experience handling such matters can help minimize the headaches and potentially devastating impact should the government decide an independent-contractor is actually an employee.
Because Texas is a “right-to-work” state, many people mistakenly believe that they can terminate an employee without a reason, and with no adverse consequences. Terminating an employee without adequate supporting documentation can, and often does, lead to adverse consequences being dropped in the lap of the employer. Whether those consequences involve a change in one’s unemployment insurance rates, a complaint filed with the Texas Commission on Human Rights or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or a lawsuit, the services of an experienced small business law attorney can keep these things from occurring, and if the worst-case happens, minimize the impact of these potential consequences. Whether it is developing a progressive employee discipline policy, dealing with a wrongful termination case, or handling a discrimination claim, Todd’s experience ensures that a sound, the business-centric approach is crafted and executed so that you can continue achieving your business goals.
Trade Secrets/Non-Compete Agreements
One of the most confusing areas confronting both employees and employers alike, involves the use of Non-Compete Agreements, and Trade Secret clauses. In 2012, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that individuals stayed at their current job 4.4 years. Further, the Future Workplace “Multiple Generations @ Work” survey of 1,189 employees and 150 managers found that ninety-one percent of those born between 1977 and 1997 expect to stay at their job for less than three years – meaning that they will have between 15-20 jobs over their working career. This transitory workplace makes it that much more important for businesses and business owners to protect their trade secrets. Compounding the problem of job-hopping employees is the explosion of employees demanding the right to use their own electronic devices to do work, and to work remotely. Thus, employers are faced with the problem of how to practically protect themselves in this complicated and confusing environment. Todd’s experience advising business in everything from the highly competitive oil-field services industry, engineering industry to the e-waste industry has allowed him to create tried and tested policies and procedures that kept critical information secret.