Houston Medical Journal June 2017 - Page 25

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Medical . . . Journal . . . - . Houston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . June 2017 LEGAL AFFAIRS continued from page 18 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . complex and often misapplied. This area is attractive to plaintiffs’ lawyers for several reasons. First, cases can involve large groups of employees, opening the door to collective actions. Second, plaintiffs can recover two or even three years of back wages which are typically doubled through the enforcement process. Third, the law tacks attorney’s fees on top of any recovery by plaintiffs. Accordingly, once again, managers and executives should include review by HR in any decision to classify workers as independent contractors. The applicable criteria is hard to fulfill. Mistakes can also result in problems with the Internal Revenue Service or workers’ compensation laws. Similarly, HR should be involved in decisions to classify employees as exempt Page 25 that can haunt executives if a disgruntled employee can establish that the employer’s policy has not been consistently enforced. It is therefore vital to have HR involved before making a final decision, to determine whether the same or similar policy violation has been handled consistently in the past. HR is usually in the best position to gather this information. If the company handled a similar situation differently in the past, that does not prevent it from making a different decision later. Before making such a decision, however, it is very useful to understand and be prepared to articulate why a similar situation was handled differently in the past. Again, this process may help keep a busy executive or manager from having to rehash the issues on-the-fly later, under more uncomfortable circumstances. Screen Decisions for Applicability of the WARN Act, OSHA, ERISA, OWBPA or Other Laws: Especially when dealing with reductions in force, employee injuries, workers who are more than 40 years old, Taylor Morrison is recognized as AMERICA’S MOST TRUSTED ® HOME BUILDER by Lifestory Research. TWO YEARS IN A ROW What an incredible honor and a true testa- ment to the work ethic and passion of each and every team member at Taylor Morrison. from overtime. These criteria are also detailed and do not apply on the basis of job titles but instead hinge upon the duties and treatment of each individual employee. Investigate the Facts Before Committing to Specific Action: Even when facts appear to be clear-cut, executives should always investigate and confirm committing to adverse employment actions such as terminations or demotions. Especially when the issues involve emotions or eyewitnesses, ensure that an objective HR representative or other designee confirms the key details. It is not unusual for witnesses’ perceptions to differ or to change over time. That is when a documented, thorough factual review is invaluable in establish that the employer’s motivation was legitimate and non-discriminatory. At the least, a good investigation will confirm facts and demonstrate the employer’s attempts to be fair and reasonable. In more than a few instances, however, investigations are likely to uncover additional pertinent information, some of which might keep the employer from making an embarrassing decision. Review How Similar Situations Have Been Handled in the Past: One of an employer’s best defenses is to establish that it followed a well-known policy that it has enforce d on a consistent basis. This is another area or employee benefits, HR should assess the applicability and requirements of other laws. These include but are not limited to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and the Older Workers Benefit Protect Act (OWBPA). Avalon at Sienna Plantation These and other laws require various notices, within specific time frames, as well as the implementation of various safeguards designed to protect employees’ interests. They place affirmative legal duties upon employers and prohibit retaliation against those who exercise their rights under the statutes. Any activity in these areas should, therefore, remind executives to ensure that HR helps them through the alphabet soup of related requirements. Premier community along the 288 Corridor 65’ Home Sites In sum, today’s environment places tremendous demands on the schedules and budgets of busy executives. At the same time, making employment decisions can be like walking through a minefield, where one innocent misstep in a seemingly safe area can explode into a costly quagmire. In this environment, effective HR consultations can literally be worth their weight in gold. t In Missouri City • Gated Section • Waterfront Home Sites 60’ Home Sites From the upper $300s 2,721 to 3,816 sq ft 70’ Home Sites From the low $400s 2,924 to 4,057 sq ft 80’ Home Sites From the low $500s 3,265 to 5,401 sq ft Meridiana From the $300s 2,721 to 3,816 sq ft Schedule an appointment: 281-780-4652 HoustonOnline@TaylorMorrison.com taylormorrison.com All information (including, but not limited to prices, views, availability, incentives, floor plans, site plans, features, standards and options, assessments and fees, planned amenities, programs, conceptual artists’ renderings and community development plans) deemed reliable as of publication date but not guaranteed and remains subject to change daily or delay without notice. Floor plans and elevations are an artist’s conception and are not intended to show specific detailing. As-Built Condition will control. Price(s) shown may not reflect lot premiums, upgrades and options. Lot status “Sold” is an in- clusive term that describes the present status of any Contract-submitted, Pending-sale or Closed property. All homes subject to prior sale. Maps and plans are not to scale and all dimensions are approximate. Taylor Morrison received the highest numerical score in the proprietary Lifestory Research 2016 and 2017 America’s Most Trusted® Home Builder study. The 2016 study based on 39,079 new home shoppers from Jan-Dec 2015, and 2017 study based on 31,764 new home shoppers from Jan-Dec 2016 in the United States. Your experiences may vary. Visit www.lifestoryresearch.com. Not an offer in any state where prohibited or otherwise restricted by law. Please see a Community Sales Manager and visit www.taylormorrison.com for details. © May 2017, Taylor Morrison of Texas, Inc. All rights reserved.