At will-employment and termination review

Employment Law Policies

Employee Policy

Employment Relationship: At will-employment and termination

This company hires employees on an at-will basis, which means that the company or the employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time and for any reason not prohibited by law, without penalties to either party. Employees will be subject to a tiered disciplinary system and subject to termination for violation of company policies. Acknowledgment of receipt of this employee handbook means that the employee agrees to the at-will terms of the employment policy.

Testing

This workplace engages in random drug testing for its employees at an off-site testing facility and screens all applicants before hiring. Refusal to submit to random drug testing is grounds for immediate termination. If an employee fails a first drug test, the employee will be given the option to submit to a substance-treatment program or face immediate termination. An employee who fails a second drug test will face immediate termination. An employee injured at-work who tests positive for drugs at the time of the injury will not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. An employee who is terminated because of a positive drug test will not be able to access COBRA insurance benefits after termination. Furthermore, depending on the state in which the employee is located, the employee may not be eligible for unemployment benefits if terminated because of a positive drug test.

Privacy

This employer can and does engage in a variety of surveillance methods to ensure a safe working environment for all employees and to ensure employee honesty. This workplace does monitor computer files, internet and email usage, phone conversations, job performance, and employee location. This includes the monitoring of personal email accounts accessed from any work computer. There is an unmonitored phone available for personal phone calls in the employee break room, which employees may use during designated break times. In addition, this employer has surveillance cameras located throughout the building, except for inside restroom stalls.

Theft

This employer owns any and all work product created while an employee is engaged in employment at the employer. Any misappropriation of such intellectual property for private use will be considered theft and pursued as such. In addition, any misappropriation of physical property or money belonging to the company will be treated as theft. Employees engaging in theft will be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency, prosecuted, subject to immediate termination, and ineligible for rehire with this company. To detect theft, this employer engages in surprise audits.

Whistle-blowing whistle-blower is an employee who tells on an employer who is violating a law. Whistle-blowers are protected by law. “Employers can’t legally discharge, demote, suspend or harass employees for exercising their rights under laws that have whistleblower protection provisions.” (EmployeeIssues.com). Protected activities include reporting violations, refusing to participate in illegal activities, and cooperating or initiating legal proceedings under whistleblower laws.

Arbitration

As a condition of employment, the employee agrees to mandatory, binding arbitration of all employment-related disputes with the employer.

The employee will have the opportunity to select three neutral employment-law arbitrators working for the American Arbitration Association, with the employer choosing one to arbitrate the dispute. However, the employer acknowledges that the employee has the right to ask the federal government to proceed with litigation against the employer, despite arbitration agreements to the contrary, as outlined in EEOC v. Waffle House, Inc., 122 S. Ct. 754 (2002).

Discrimination

This employer is an equal opportunity workplace and has taken an active role in eliminating workplace discrimination. An employee who feels that they have been the victim of discrimination in the workplace is advised to take their concerns to a Human Resources specialist, who can work with the employee and management to try to resolve any disputes. Although no employee manual could describe all of an employee’s legal rights, this manual attempts to highlight the major laws prohibiting discrimination and define different types of discrimination. An employee who feels that they have been the victim of employment discrimination is encouraged to contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at. In fact, depending on the type of discrimination, an employee may be required to file a complaint with the EEOC in order to preserve their legal rights. An employee who is found to have committed discrimination against another employee or business contact of the employer’s is subject to immediate termination.

Civil Rights Act of 1964

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.S. 2000e et seq., prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. This includes discriminating against a woman because of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. In addition to prohibiting intentional discrimination, Title VII prohibits practices that have a discriminatory impact. Furthermore, employers have a duty to accommodate the religious beliefs of employees / perspective employees, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employer. Title VII’s prohibitions against sex discrimination also cover sexual harassment.

Racial Discrimination

Race discrimination is discrimination based on race or skin color and associated racial stereotypes, whether the employees or people known to the employee. It includes discrimination in hiring and firing practices, the allocation of benefits, promotions, compensation, and employee testing. In addition, racial discrimination exists when there is a hostile work environment, consisting of offensive conduct based on race.

National Origin Discrimination

National origin discrimination is discrimination based on one’s national origin. Provided that an employee or potential employee has the legal right to work in the United States, it is discrimination to show preference to people based on national origin. This can include requiring potential employees so speak English, unless speaking English is an essential part of an employee’s job description.

Religious Discrimination

Religious discrimination is discrimination based on an employee’s religion. This employer is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for an employee’s religious practices. All employees receiving paid vacation time and/or floating holidays may request that they receive holidays for their chosen religion off and will be guaranteed those religious holidays as vacation time. All employees without paid vacation time may request to not be scheduled on certain holidays. At the beginning of each calendar year, employees who need religious accommodations need to inform Human Resources of their religion and the desired accommodations. For smaller religions, the employee may need to provide documentation from a religious official of the validity of the religion-based request. For religions requiring daily prayers or other religious observance, the employer has provided a small break room for this purpose. Employees are guaranteed the use of break time in order to attend to religious rituals if they have notified human resources of those rituals and the requirements related to them.

Age Discrimination

Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees in any aspect of employment on the basis of age. This law protects workers who are age 40 or over. In addition, the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990 prohibits employers from denying employee benefits, such as insurance, based on age.

Disability Discrimination

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees who have a covered disability. In fact, it requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees with covered disabilities. Employees who are disabled at the time of hiring or who become disabled need to notify Human Resources of their disability and provide the required documentation of their disability along with requested accommodations.

Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Although no state or local law in this jurisdiction prohibits discrimination based on an employee’s perceived or actual sexual orientation, this workplace is committed to equality for all of its employees. Any employee who perceives that they are experiencing sexual-orientation-based discrimination is encouraged to contact Human Resources. The company will treat sexual orientation discrimination claims as identical to other claims of employment discrimination. Furthermore, employees who are found to have committed sexual orientation discrimination will be subject to discipline, including the possibility of immediate termination.

Sex Discrimination

Sex discrimination is discrimination based on gender, and both males and females can be victims of sex discrimination. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 provides that an employer cannot pay unequal wages to men and women performing substantially similar jobs. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits sex discrimination against either parent on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related events.

Sexual Harassment

The term sexual harassment covers a broad range of unwanted sexual behavior, which can affect an employer’s employment status, interfere with work performance, or create a hostile work environment. Sexual harassment victims and perpetrators can be of either sex, and the victim does not need to be of the opposite sex from the perpetrator.

The perpetrator of sexual harassment does not have to be a supervisor or manager of the victim. The victim can be the harassed person, but can also be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.

If the employee feels that (s)he has been the victim of sexual harassment, the victim should directly inform the harasser that the conduct is unwelcome and must stop, and immediately inform Human Resources of the harassing behavior. The employer has an established protocol for dealing with allegations of sexual harassment, and a sexual harassment complaint triggers protections for the employee. An employee engaging in sexual harassment of any other employees, clients, or business associates of the employer, will be disciplined. Any employee engaging in sexual harassment who has been notified by the victim, a supervisor, or any other employee of the employer, that such conduct is unwanted and harassing, who continues that activity will be subject to immediate termination.

Affirmative Action

Affirmative action refers to programs aimed at guaranteeing that employers adhere to state and Federal anti-discrimination lawsuits. Some people are concerned that affirmative action programs discriminate against majorities because they impermissibly consider race or gender in the hiring process, a position that is generally rejected by the EEOC. Because this employer has found that it can achieve and maintain a diverse workplace without the use of affirmative action programs, it does not have an active affirmative action program. However, the employer reserves the right to institute affirmative action programs at any time, if it needs to do so in order to achieve or maintain a diverse workplace environment.

Family Leave

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks off of work in a 12-month period for the birth or adoption of a child, to care for a family member, or because of a health condition. Eligible employees are employees who have worked for the employer for 12 months, whether consecutive or non-consecutive, as a full-time employee.

FMLA leave does not have to be taken consecutively, but can be taken intermittently. Employees on FMLA leave have a right to maintain their benefits, but may be required to pay for their portion of those benefits while on leave. Employees taking FMLA leave have the right to return to the same or an equivalent position at the conclusion of such leave. If an employee is married to another employee, only one of those employees may take 12 weeks of FMLA leave for the same event. For foreseeable events, such as the full-term birth of a child, the employee needs to contact Human Resources at least 30 days in advance of the event, and may need to provide medical certification.

If an employee fails to provide advance notice of the foreseeable event, then the employer can delay the start of FMLA leave for 30 days. At the conclusion of the leave, the employer can require a certificate of fitness to return to work.

Unions and Collective Bargaining Agreements

At this time, the employer is a non-union employer and is not subject to any laws or regulations covering unionization or collective bargaining agreements.

Employee Benefits

All employees, whether full time or part time employees, and whether paid hourly or on-salary, are eligible to participate in the employer’s company benefits program. These benefits include health insurance benefits, life insurance benefits, retirement savings plans, flexible spending accounts for health expenses and childcare, reduced gym-memberships. The employee cost for these programs varies depending on the nature of employment and the individual benefit package, and employees should contact Human Resources for a full explanation of these benefits. Employees may only opt-in to benefits at the beginning of employment, at the beginning of each calendar year, or when faced with a life-changing event, like a birth or death.

Workers’ Compensation

This employer carried workers’ compensation benefits. Eligible employees who are injured in the course of employment are generally entitled to payment of medical expenses, partial wage replacement, and job retraining. Surviving dependents of an eligible employee killed in the course of employment are entitled to survivor benefits. Workers’ compensation benefits can be based on temporary or permanent, partial or total disabilities. There is a state cap on the total amount of Workers’ compensation that an employee may receive.

Wage and Hour Regulation

The national minimum wage is $6.55 per hour, effective July 24, 2008, and all employees are guaranteed to receive minimum wage. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, workers working more than 40 hours a week are entitled to overtime pay, which is payable at a rate of 1.5 times the employee’s normal pay. Workers over the age of 16 may be required to work mandatory overtime at certain times of the year.

For the purposes of determining overtime pay, all employee workweeks are calculated from 12:00am Sunday morning until 11:59pm Saturday night. Salaried employees are exempt from eligibility for overtime pay. Overtime pay must be paid on the paycheck reflecting the week in which it was earned. The employer recognizes several paid holidays, including: New Year’s Day, the Friday before Easter, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, the Friday following Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. Employees working those holidays will receive overtime pay, in addition to their choice of an alternate day-off within a two-week period of the holiday. Employee paychecks will be issued bi-weekly, on Fridays, and will reflect the two-week period extending from three Sundays prior to the paycheck being issued until the Saturday before the paycheck is issued.

Upon termination, whether by the employee or the employer, the employee will be entitled to receive his or her normal paycheck on or before the scheduled payday corresponding to the employee’s last day of work. Employees who are terminated will receive their final paychecks within 24 hours of termination, and employees who provide two-weeks notice of their intention to resign will receive their final paychecks on the effective date of their resignation.

Accrued vacation days will be paid as part of the final paycheck.

Occupational Safety and Health Act

This employer is committed to providing a safe working environment, in accordance with the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA). This employee will pay for any safety equipment required by employees. Any employee noticing a violation of any OSHA safety requirements should report such a violation to the CSO, chief safety officer. Employees may also anonymously report violations to OSHA. OSHA requirements and reporting information may be found at www.osha.gov.

Works Cited

EEOC v. Waffle House, Inc., 122 S. Ct. 754 (2002).

EmployeeIssues.com. “Whistleblower Protection.” Retaliation. 2008. EmployeeIssues.com. 22

Jan. 2009 http://employeeissues.com/whistleblower.htm.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.S. 2000e et seq.


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