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FAQ

Do I have a case?

The merits of any case can only be determined after many hours of discussion and a review of any documents by the lawyers who are asked to evaluate your case. You can assist lawyers in evaluating your case by spending time in advance of meeting with them by preparing a chronology and organizing any documents. If the lawyer you consult does not provide you with a favorable opinion or provides you with an opinion you disagree with, you should consult another attorney to obtain a consensus.

How do I pick an attorney?

Picking an attorney to represent you in any matter should be done carefully and only after a lengthy discussion between you and the attorney. A successful attorney-client relationship is based on trust. You should remember that an attorney works for you and that while he or she has unique skills and education, picking the right lawyer should be about finding the right person. Few lawyers are skilled in all areas of law. If your matter involves a labor or employment issue, you should find a lawyer or law firm specializing in this area. Several organizations can assist in providing names of lawyers or law firms specializing in this area. Your local bar association, California Employment Lawyers Association, and the National Employment Lawyers Association can recommend lawyers.

How long do I have before I file suit against my employer?

The rules that govern the time frame in which you must file a lawsuit are called statutes of limitations. Statutes of limitations in employment matters vary according to the claim. The application of these rules to your particular case is often complicated and requires the assistance of a lawyer. However, you should generally be aware of these rules and understand that there is little leeway or exception for filing claims beyond these statutes. Typically, you have two years from the date of injury to file tort (personal injury) claims. Tort claims in employment cases include emotional distress, battery, slander, and libel claims, among others. Claims of discrimination based on your race, nationality, gender, age, disability, or sexual preference have a separate requirement called “exhausting administrative remedies” in addition to the statute of limitations. Exhaustion of administrative remedies means that there are separate state or federal requirements that must be completed before you can bring a discrimination lawsuit. These requirements govern the time in which you must file a discrimination lawsuit. Several statutes may apply to employment claims such as provisions of the Labor Code and California Business and Professions Code as well as the federal and state tort claims act. Each of these statutes may have its own filing deadline that you must consider.

What is the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)?

The EEOC is a federal agency. The EEOC assists in the administration and sometimes the adjudication of discrimination claims. The law governing discrimination claims is called Title VII. The purpose of filing charges with the EEOC is to assure timely notice to the employer of claims of discrimination (like a statute of limitations). Title VII actions cannot proceed in federal court unless discrimination charges are filed with the EEOC within a specific time limit after the allegedly unlawful employment practice “occurred.” There are certain exceptions to this rule but you should be mindful of the time limitations. If you are a federal employee or wish to be in federal court, you must file with the EEOC.

What is DFEH (Department of Fair Employment and Housing)?

California has a similar agency called the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The time limit for filing a claim with the DFEH is one year from the unlawful act. If you are not a federal employee and wish to file a claim of discrimination or harassment against your employer, you may file with the DFEH. By obtaining a right to sue or asking for an investigation from the DFEH, you will generally be allowed to file your lawsuit in state court.

Discrimination charges filed with either the EEOC or DFEH past the statutory time frame will generally not be considered by the courts. Generally, you cannot file a lawsuit alleging discrimination unless you have first filed a claim with either or both the EEOC or DFEH. The rules for timely filing and which agency to file with can be complex. The assistance of a lawyer can be important in deciding when or with whom to file a complaint.

What is an at-will employee?

In California (and, in most states), the general rule is that most employees may be fired at any time for any reason or no reason at all under what is known as the at-will employment doctrine.

Exceptions to the “at will” doctrine include Common Law Protections: California is particularly generous in its treatment of employees. California has the largest economy in the United States and the fifth-largest in the world.

  • California recognizes a public policy exception to the at-will employment doctrine. An employer may not discharge an employee for a reason that violates the fundamental principles of public policy if an employee has a cause of action. In other words, the employee may sue for wrongful discharge when the motivation for the discharge violates public policy.
  • The public policy must serve the interests of the public (i.e., protect the public from harm) rather than merely that of the individual (or company). Accordingly, an employee who reveals to his current employer that a co-worker is under investigation for embezzlement at another company is said to be serving only a private interest: the interest of the employer. Although the employee’s disclosure may be beneficial to most employers, and the employee is not protected from retaliation. Many of the exceptions are outlined in statutory provisions under California law, including the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Worker’s Compensation, The Unruh Act, and many other statutory schemes to protect California Workers.
Have I been misclassified as an independent contractor?

Workers in many fields are misclassified as independent contractors when by law, they are employees who are entitled to minimum wage, overtime at the rate of time and one half, and having employers bear the cost of work-related expenses.

The misclassification of workers as contractors is common in industries such as truck drivers, delivery drivers, janitors, security guards, store delivery persons, and home health care providers such as nurses, home health aides, and various therapists and exotic dancers.

The test for who is an independent contractor is complex. Still, at a minimum, the independent contractor must have complete autonomy, work in a business different than the one he/she is doing work for and, be running their own independent business.

If you work in a job and are classified as an independent contractor and believe you may be misclassified, please call the Law Office of Andrea Cook & Associates.

How to get ready for a meeting with the lawyer you are thinking of hiring.

First, you should know that there is nothing special about meeting with a lawyer.  You can compare this initial consultation to asking your mechanic what is wrong with your car and how long will it take to fix it or if you are lucky enough to be mechanical, asking your plumber to diagnose your plumbing problems. Lawyers have some special skills and knowledge that allow them to solve legal problems.  Importantly, both the lawyer and the client have certain obligations that are triggered by their meeting.  These obligations include:

1. A lawyer has an absolute duty to keep everything you say to them confidential. This means that if you don’t disclose what you and the lawyer discuss, it remains a secret.

Your corresponding duty to the lawyer is to be truthful and accurate.  You don’t help yourself or your lawyer if you are not as accurate as you can be. If there is something you are not comfortable answering, better to explain this than to misrepresent a critical fact.

2. The lawyer or law firm you retain has an obligation to disclose all financial obligations or benefits they reasonably know may occur over the course of their representation of you. Sometimes, this is not clear at the beginning of a case.

Correspondingly, potential clients should understand that this is not science and that the costs and benefits for both the lawyer and the client may be a bit of a moving target. In any event, the financial arrangement with your lawyer should be crystal clear.  If the lawyer or law firm agrees to represent you and, you agree to be represented by them, all of this is contained in a fee agreement which should spell out the financial arrangement.

3. Undoubtedly, the lawyer will ask a LOT of questions. Being prepared to answer those questions will be helpful to you both. Take this opportunity to ask any questions you might have. 

4. What to bring to the first meeting:

    • The more clearly you tell your story, using whatever documentation you have, the better your lawyer can assess your case. If possible, consider making a brief timeline of events: this can help you remember details and clarifies the sequence of events as you explain it. Remember, your consultation is entirely confidential, and your attorney can best serve you if you are completely honest and forthcoming.
    • Bring any writings, photographs, or other materials you believe may corroborate or bolster your facts. Remember that success or failure of your case is very dependent on EVIDENCE.  Bring what you have. Be extremely careful to save emails, text and phone messages that are part of your story. These can be powerful evidence and can be persuasive in proving your version of the facts.
    • However, with this said, do not rely on documents, recordings or photographs which do not belong to you. You can’t take communications from work which are company property. Unlawfully obtained documents would not be admissible in support of your claim and your actions may be used by the employer in its defense against you. Do not secretly tape record a conversation without permission.  These laws differ from state to state and secret tape recordings are a criminal act in California.

5. What you discuss or evidence you have may be dependent of the kind of case you have. Consider assembling the materials we have identified below. You may not have access to all of these materials

    • Wrongful termination: In California, you cannot be terminated for unlawful reasons, including discrimination and retaliation. Consider whether you believe you were terminated because you are treated differently from people of other races, ethnicities, religions, genders, ages, and, or because you reported (to someone within your company or to a regulatory agency) problems at your place of employment.

Please bring any performance reviews, write-ups or disciplinary reports, a recent payroll stub, and any items you believe show that you were terminated for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons. These could be things like email chains, text messages, voice mails, videos, or memos you wrote or notes you took during specific incidents.

If you have been seen by any health care provider, including a psychologist or emergency room doctor, bring the names and phone numbers of those health care providers.

If you have an employee handbook or an employment contract in your possession, please bring them to your consultation.

Please give some thought to any witnesses you think may be important and what they might say.  If you have access to phone numbers and addresses, please bring them.

    • Discrimination: discrimination occurs when a business treats an individual or group of people differently from another group, based upon certain protected classes. Any materials which show how you were treated differently can be helpful. Things to think about are email chains, text messages, voice mails, videos, or memos you wrote or notes you took during specific incidents.  Also helpful is evidence related to your employment (dates of employment, rate of pay and any handbooks you may have.)  Always, consider: “who might be a witness?”
    • Retaliation: retaliation occurs when an employee is punished for filing a charge or complaint of discrimination, participating in an investigation or lawsuit, or opposing discrimination or violation of other regulations or laws. Bring things like email chains, text messages, voice mails, videos, or memos you wrote or notes you took during specific incidents. Bring documents you have that are rightfully in your possession, including handbooks, employment contracts, disciplinary reports, performance reviews, and a recent payroll stub.

We realize that that assembling all these materials can be daunting.  Do the best you can.  The most important part of your initial consultation is to establish a mutually trusting relationship with the lawyer that you are considering hiring.  They are (or should be) there to serve you and help you solve an important problem.

When to Hire an Investigator

There may be a time and place to hire a third-party investigator, but the timing may not what you expect.

 

Complaints or Reports: Responding to reports of certain types of discrimination, like sexual harassment, requires an immediate response and thorough investigation. Failing to respond adequately can be damaging to the parties and enormously expensive for the employer found at fault. However, such an investigation should be left to your attorney; failing to do so leaves the information unprotected and available to opposing parties in litigation. Essentially, hiring an attorney to investigate protects whatever information the investigation reveals. Otherwise, the information may cause more problems than it solves.

 

Pre-employment Background Checks: Investigating an employee prior to employment may be something to consider. There are federal, state, and local laws on this topic, and you must ensure compliance if you choose to investigate potential employees’ histories.

 

Federally, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (summary here) applies if the employer hires a third-party provider to compile background checks, but not if the employer compiles the information on its own. The FCRA requires employers to notify applicants that a background check may be required, obtain consent to obtain background information, and to tell potential employees if the information in their chart is used against them. Employers must also provide the contact information of the agency that provided the information.

 

In California, multiple laws address pre-employment background checks. The Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA) and the Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act (CCRAA) are, in some ways, more restrictive than the CFRA. For example, the ICRAA only allows for the reporting of criminal convictions (not merely charges) and criminal cases that are open and not yet resolved. (Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 1786.18) Also, an employer may only request conviction information less than seven years old. The CCRAA requires that a copy of the report be provided to the subject at no charge. (Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 1785.20.5) The Labor Code prohibits employers from asking applicants about criminal charges that were not convictions, diversion programs, or dismissed/sealed/expunged convictions. (Cal. Lab. Code § 432.7) The Fair Chance Act (here) requires employers to evaluate applicants’ job qualifications and make a conditional job offer before getting a background check, or even inquiring about prior convictions. (Cal. Gov’t Code § 12952) If the results of a background check result in the withdrawal of a job offer, employers must identify the conviction, provide a copy of the report, and give the employee time to clarify the information by providing evidence of inaccuracy or rehabilitation. Employers must also make employees aware of their right to request reconsideration or request assistance from the DFEH. Finally, employers may only use a consumer credit report for employment purposes under some circumstances, as listed here. (Cal. Lab. Code § 1024.5)

 

Investigators can be helpful to employers but be careful how and when you use them. When in doubt, ask your lawyer for advice.

Employee Handbook Considerations

Should I have a handbook?

A well-drafted handbook can provide guidance to employees and security to employers, whereas a poorly-drafted one can increase an employer’s exposure to financial and legal liability. If an employer fails to follow its own policies, it can be in violation of unlawful termination statutes. The decision whether to have a handbook is a careful balance between clearly explaining employee expectations and procedures for getting necessary help, and limiting exposure for the employer.

Who Should Prepare It?

To create a legally compliant handbook, employers should understand which federal, state, and local employment laws apply to them, and know how to draft written policies in compliance with applicable laws. Your HR department should be heavily involved, as many of the policies included in the handbook will be human resources policies, but they may not be familiar with ensuring those policies are updated and comply with applicable regulations.

To ensure compliance and relevant updates to changing legislation, contact your employment attorney for guidance.

What is it?

Your employee handbook is a collection of policies and procedures that explains to employees how the workplace functions. It should be a living document that is regularly updated to reflect regulatory changes as well as business evolution. Most importantly, it ensures your business complies with legislative requirements and states your expectations clearly. Employers should require their employees, whether existing or new hires, sign and submit an acknowledgement showing they have reviewed the handbook and understand the polices.

It is critical to distribute each new hire a copy of the handbook and most employers do so during the onboarding process. Some employers distribute the handbook in advance to provide employees a chance to ask questions about its contents during onboarding. Alternatively, reviewing the handbook during onboarding can ensure the employee understands and feels comfortable with the expectations of their new position, and knows how to seek assistance if needed.

What is included?

While a comprehensive handbook provides a basis for defense against certain employee claims, it must also be easily understood. Delving too deeply into complex language is unhelpful and makes your employees less able to comply with requirements or report difficulties. The following categories are generally included in employee handbooks.

  • Introduction: Most handbooks open with an introduction to the company and the handbook, and a brief description of the book’s contents. The intro can include things like the handbook’s purpose, the CEO’s welcome statement or company mission statement, and general company information.
  • Pre-Employment Polices: If your company performs background checks, please check with your attorney to ensure your polices comply with statutory regulations. Once you are sure they are in compliance, state your background check policy.
  • Conduct: Employees should know how they’re expected to conduct themselves at work. Polices should establish clear, easy-to-understand guidelines.
    • Code of conduct
    • Drug and alcohol policy
    • Smoking policy
    • Dress code and grooming policy
    • Workplace violence
    • Weapons policy
    • Security
    • Parking
    • Onsite visitors policy
    • Conflicts of interest policy
    • Giving/receiving gifts
    • Non-solicitation policy
  • Employment relationship: This section should clearly define the roles of both employer and employee. It may describe the type of employment (typically, at-will) and include policies like:
    • Employer and employee confidentiality agreement
    • Outside employment policy
    • At-will employment
  • General information: This may be the largest portion of the handbook and should explain the day-to-day functions of the workplace, along with special support for particular circumstances. Some items to include would be:
    • Equal employment opportunity policy
    • Anti-discrimination policy
    • Anti-harassment policy
      • This section should include clear steps and options for reporting harassment. This is important for maintaining a professional work environment, and provides the basis for the employer to assert the affirmative defense to an allegation of harassment that does not involve an adverse employment action (called the “Faragher/Ellerth defense”). Employees should be able to read and understand the preventive or corrective measures available to them, and employers should be able to show they took reasonable steps to prevent and promptly correct sexual harassment.
    • Anti-retaliation policy
    • Harassment, discrimination, and retaliation prevention policy
      • Must offer and require completion of annual sexual harassment prevention training for all employees
    • Religious accommodations policy
    • Promotions procedure
    • Expenses and reimbursements
    • Employment of relatives/nepotism policy
    • Personnel file access policy
    • Fraternization/romance in the workplace policy
      • Must provide a procedure for employees to confidentially report romantic relationships in the workplace
    • Health and safety in the workplace policy
    • Drug testing policy
    • Employee face covering policy
  • Attendance: As some companies work on shifts or special schedules and some do not, the attendance section should make clear the work hour and attendance expectations.
    • Attendance policy
    • Exempt vs. non-exempt employees 
    • Work hours and overtime
    • Meal and rest periods policy
    • Lactation break policy
    • Exceptions
    • Weather
    • Remote work
    • Flexible work schedule policy
    • Termination due to inability to work
  • Compensation and benefits: While this section would not provide each individual employee with their specific compensation package details, it would describe the general package and benefits available to all company employees. Things like:
    • Payroll practices and compensation policy
    • Workday and workweek notice
    • Notice of paydays
    • Make-up time policy
    • Time tracking
    • Benefits eligibility 
    • Health/dental/vision/life/disability insurance
    • COBRA
    • Retirement benefits
    • Bonuses
    • Workers’ compensation
    • Unemployment assistance
    • Educational assistance
    • Employee assistance program
    • Employee referral policy
    • Paid legal aid
    • Supplemental insurance
    • Stock options
    • Employee discounts
  • Time off: This section details when and how employees can take time off work and explains the process for requesting to do so. Common sub-sections include: 
    • Paid holidays
    • Paid time off
    • Vacation policy
    • Sick leave policy
    • Attendance policy
    • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
      • Provides up to twelve weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for the following reasons:
        • Employee’s own serious health condition
        • Care for parent, child (regardless of age), spouse with a serious health condition
        • Care for and bonding with a newborn or a newly adopted child
        • For exigency related to a covered active duty or call to covered active duty of an employee’s spouse, child, or parent in the Armed Forces
      • California Family Rights Act (CFRA)
        • Provides up to twelve weeks of paid or unpaid job-protected leave for the following reasons:
          • Employee’s own serious health condition
          • Care for parent, child (regardless of age), spouse, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or registered domestic partner with a serious health condition
          • Care for and bonding with a newborn or a newly adopted child
          • For exigency related to a covered active duty or call to covered active duty of an employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent in the Armed Forces
        • Pregnancy Disability Leave policy
        • Bereavement leave
        • Jury duty
        • Military leave policy
        • Witness and victims of crime leave policy
        • Bone marrow, organ, and blood donation leave policy
      • Acceptable use: Employees should understand the expectations and limits of the acceptable use of company property like computers and telephones when conducting their work.
        • Telephone use
        • Cell phone use
        • Company electronics and equipment use
        • Computer and internet use
        • Bring your own device to work policy
          • If employees are required to use their personal cell phones for business purposes, they must be paid a monthly stipend to compensate them for the business use of their device.
          • If they are not required to use their personal cell phones, the policy should state they are not authorized to use their personal cell phones for any business purpose.
        • Social media and blogging policy
      • Monitoring: Some companies may perform monitoring on company electronics or in company workspaces. If you do, include a section detailing how your monitoring works and what employees should expect. Sub-sections might include:
        • Digital surveillance
        • Physical surveillance
      • The performance expectations section of the employee handbook describes how the company evaluates employee performance, promotes professional development and manages infractions related to performance or interactions with others:
        • Performance review policy
        • Professional development
        • Immediate termination
        • Discipline
        • Conflict resolution
        • Filing complaints
      • Exit policy: The exit policy section includes the procedure for terminating employment through retirement or otherwise, and the expectations when leaving the company. Consider including:
        • Employment termination
        • Exit interviews
        • Returning company property
      • Disclaimers: you might consider including the following standard clauses in your handbook
        • General disclaimer
        • Disclaimer regarding employee benefit plans
        • Disclaimer for unionized employees covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement
        • Company benefits and policies (for those affected by a CBA)
        • Employer ownership of social media accounts

After Drafting

If you decided to draft your handbook independently, be sure to have your employment attorney review and edit it. Once your attorney provides a finalized copy, distribute a copy to each existing employee and make sure to get a signed acknowledgement (from each employee) certifying they received and understood their handbook and its contents. Keep this signed acknowledgment in their individual personnel files. Likewise, make sure each new employee receives a copy of the handbook and make sure to obtain a signed acknowledgement from them at onboarding.

Remember to review the handbook at least once annually. Requirements change and so will your business. An out-of-date handbook may be more of a liability than a benefit, so make sure you check in with your attorney regularly.

HOW TO GET READY FOR A MEETING WITH THE LAWYER YOU ARE THINKING OF HIRING

First, you should know that there is nothing special about meeting with a lawyer.  You can compare this initial consultation to asking your mechanic what is wrong with your car and how long will it take to fix it or if you are lucky enough to be mechanical, asking your plumber to diagnose your plumbing problems. Lawyers have some special skills and knowledge that allow them to solve legal problems.  Importantly, both the lawyer and the client have certain obligations that are triggered by their meeting.  These obligations include:

  1. A lawyer has an absolute duty to keep everything you say to them confidential. This means that if you don’t disclose what you and the lawyer discuss, it remains a secret.

Your corresponding duty to the lawyer is to be truthful and accurate.  You don’t help yourself or your lawyer if you are not as accurate as you can be. If there is something you are not comfortable answering, better to explain this than to misrepresent a critical fact.

  1. The lawyer or law firm you retain has an obligation to disclose all financial obligations or benefits they reasonably know may occur over the course of their representation of you. Sometimes, this is not clear at the beginning of a case.

Correspondingly, potential clients should understand that this is not science and that the costs and benefits for both the lawyer and the client may be a bit of a moving target. 

In any event, the financial arrangement with your lawyer should be crystal clear.  If the lawyer or law firm agrees to represent you and, you agree to be represented by them, all of this is contained in a fee agreement which should spell out the financial arrangement.

  1. Undoubtedly, the lawyer will ask a LOT of questions. Being prepared to answer those questions will be helpful to you both. 

Take this opportunity to ask any questions you might have. 

4. What to bring to the first meeting:

A. The more clearly you tell your story, using whatever documentation you have, the better your lawyer can assess your case. If possible, consider making a brief timeline of events: this can help you remember details and clarifies the sequence of events as you explain it. Remember, your consultation is entirely confidential, and your attorney can best serve you if you are completely honest and forthcoming.

B. Bring any writings, photographs, or other materials you believe may corroborate or bolster your facts. Remember that success or failure of your case is very dependent on EVIDENCE.  Bring what you have. Be extremely careful to save emails, text and phone messages that are part of your story. These can be powerful evidence and can be persuasive in proving your version of the facts.

C. However, with this said, do not rely on documents, recordings or photographs which do not belong to you. You can’t take communications from work which are company property. Unlawfully obtained documents would not be admissible in support of your claim and your actions may be used by the employer in its defense against you. Do not secretly tape record a conversation without permission.  These laws differ from state to state and secret tape recordings are a criminal act in California.

5. What you discuss or evidence you have may be dependent of the kind of case you have. Consider assembling the materials we have identified below. You may not have access to all of these materials

A. Wrongful termination: In California, you cannot be terminated for unlawful reasons, including discrimination and retaliation. Consider whether you believe you were terminated because you are treated differently from people of other races, ethnicities, religions, genders, ages, and, or because you reported (to someone within your company or to a regulatory agency) problems at your place of employment.

Please bring any performance reviews, write-ups or disciplinary reports, a recent payroll stub, and any items you believe show that you were terminated for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons. These could be things like email chains, text messages, voice mails, videos, or memos you wrote or notes you took during specific incidents.

If you have been seen by any health care provider, including a psychologist or emergency room doctor, bring the names and phone numbers of those health care providers.

If you have an employee handbook or an employment contract in your possession, please bring them to your consultation.

Please give some thought to any witnesses you think may be important and what they might say.  If you have access to phone numbers and addresses, please bring them.

B. Discrimination: discrimination occurs when a business treats an individual or group of people differently from another group, based upon certain protected classes. Any materials which show how you were treated differently can be helpful. Things to think about are email chains, text messages, voice mails, videos, or memos you wrote or notes you took during specific incidents.  Also helpful is evidence related to your employment (dates of employment, rate of pay and any handbooks you may have.)  Always, consider: “who might be a witness?”

C. Retaliation: retaliation occurs when an employee is punished for filing a charge or complaint of discrimination, participating in an investigation or lawsuit, or opposing discrimination or violation of other regulations or laws. Bring things like email chains, text messages, voice mails, videos, or memos you wrote or notes you took during specific incidents. Bring documents you have that are rightfully in your possession, including handbooks, employment contracts, disciplinary reports, performance reviews, and a recent payroll stub.

We realize that that assembling all these materials can be daunting.  Do the best you can.  The most important part of your initial consultation is to establish a mutually trusting relationship with the lawyer that you are considering hiring.  They are (or should be) there to serve you and help you solve an important problem.

How to Prepare for Your Consultation (Employer)

Preparation depends upon the reason you seek legal service. The best time to consult an attorney is before the need arises, but the responsibilities of entrepreneurship often take precedence. Regardless of the timing or rationale behind consulting an attorney, there are a few items to have available that will make your time more productive.

Corporate formation: if you are considering incorporation or forming a new business, make sure to be able to discuss your organizational chart, the flow of capital within your business, and any regulatory bodies that govern the goods or services you provide.

Insurance guidance: receiving guidance on whether your business is adequately insured against possible future claims is an excellent investment. Please briefly review your policies and have them ready for review during your consult.

Responding to an employee’s report: Please listen carefully to the employee and review any documentation they provide. Make sure to bring any notes you took about the incident, the report itself, and the personnel files of the reporting employee and any other employees mentioned. Also, have your insurance policies ready for discussion, and your organizational chart, if one exists.

Received a letter from a lawyer or government agency: Please have the letter ready for review and be able to access the appropriate personnel files for any employees mentioned in the letter. If the letter references discrimination, search for and make available certificates of completion for any training you or your employees have attended (whether in-person or virtual). If the letter references safety violations, please make available the results of any past audits, inspections, or interviews with relevant parties. As above, please have your insurance policies ready for discussion, and your organizational chart, if one exists.

With these documents at the ready, you will be better able to provide the facts necessary to allow your attorney to properly guide you in your business decisions.

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Andrea Cook & Associates
Copyright 2020.

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