Situations Where You Are Better Off Hiring An Employment Lawyer
An employment lawyer can help companies in many different situations. People generally think they might need an employment lawyer if there is a dispute with a member of staff, however, if your company consults experienced employment lawyers early on in any staff related issue, then good legal advice at this stage ought to prevent any disputes arising. Here are some examples of situations where you can talk to an employment lawyer beforehand in order to avoid any dispute.
Are you going to fire someone that is working at a job for you?
If there is a member of staff that you want to get rid of for whatever reason, you have to be careful about this because the employment termination rules have to follow a very strict process. The days are long gone where you can just tell someone not to come back to work and have them go quietly, even with a generous pay-off or termination offer. Even if you have good grounds for firing them such as a poor work record, you still have to be very careful how you handle this. You absolutely must get a lawyer’s help before attempting to fire someone even if they have done something which is obviously wrong.
Reducing Working Hours
A lawyer should be consulted if you want to cut the working hours for a worker. Companies usually do this to save money but if you do not follow the correct process, then you can very quickly spend far more than the lower wages bill on your legal expenses. Sometimes just cutting someone’s hours and benefits can be a huge problem if you are not preparing someone in the right way so an employment lawyer can help in this instance. Not only is it better for your company to do things by the book as it shows you are an ethical employer, it is also likely to save you money.
Contracts or Employment Agreements
Every worker must have a contract or an Employment Agreement. That is the law in New Zealand. Verbal are not sufficient as it must be a written contract. Furthermore, the Agreement must address certain issues and contain clauses that reflect the law in relation to those. Obvious topics such as working hours and pay will be included but also a job description, how you handle employment disputes, and holiday entitlement, must also be included. An employment lawyer can work with you to draw up a sound Employment Agreement for when you hire people and a contract that keeps you protected legally All in all, it’s a lot of work at first, but then it will be much simpler to hire people.
There are various types of employment benefits. These can include a company phone, a car, bonuses, and expense accounts. For senior staff, there might also be opportunities to acquire shares in the company. All of these need to be worded clearly and without prejudice while also protecting your position within the law.
You must also be seen to be fair and not favouring some staff members at the expense of others. This can cause resentment, disruption, and of course could easily lead to legal issues.
So for any employee benefit issues, talk to your employment lawyer before you make any offer to any member of staff.
The situations above are just a few of the potential minefields you might encounter in relation to your staff if you do not seek expert employment law advice.
If your business is on the North Shore of Auckland, McVeagh Fleming is one of the leading employment lawyers in the area.