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Employee Legal Rights: The Big Picture

Employee Legal Rights: The Big Picture
This module is a very important one, because it deals with how you can attract and retain the best talent using employment law. As in our other sessions, this is built on the three pillars of decision making. The three pillars that apply not only in business but in personal decision making and in leadership decision making, and these are strategy, law, and ethics. And in a business context, the three pillars overlap. And the focus of the strategy pillar is on value creation. The focus of the law pillar is on risk management. And when these two pillars overlap with ethics, we have a sweet spot in the middle that gives your business competitive advantage and can make you more competitive in your career.
However, the catch is that in business there’s often a gap between the law pillar and the strategy pillar. And so the challenge is to bring these two pillars together, which will enable you to create competitive advantage. And so, in this session as in other sessions, the goal is to make you more legally savvy so that you can create the overlap between law and strategy. The focus of this session, of course, is on attracting talent and employment law. And the specific focus is on what are the four most important stakeholders in any business, which are your employees. Whenever I ask senior executives what’s the most important asset you have in your business, they don’t hesitate a minute.
They say it’s our employees. So this module is especially important for any business that wants to achieve success. This is going to be our game plan. Employment law is a huge area as we’ll discuss in a minute. And so we’re going to focus our approach by, first of all, looking at employment law from a broad perspective. And then we’re going to look at two of the most critical and controversial issue relating to employment law. One is what lawyers called wrongful discharge, what you and I know, is your ability to fire someone or if you’re an employee the fact that you’ve been fired. And the other issue is discrimination. So we’re going to look at these topics.
We’re going to relate those to the risk management piece, the law pillar. And then we’re going to go beyond risk management at the very end and talk about value creation. Employment law is complicated because, as you can here, it covers almost everything that an employee does at work. Almost every interaction between a company and employee is covered by some aspect of employment law. If you belong to a union, you are probably covered by a collective bargaining agreement. We’ve got discrimination issues, discipline issues, your employee benefits, health and safety including workers’ compensation, hiring and firing. Pay is governed by employment law, performance, your right to privacy.
For instance, when you use email at work and your work hours, all of that is covered by employment law. And the issues keep emerging. Today there are issues that companies have to worry about, that three or four ago that weren’t even on the horizon. In 2014, my son and I did a book called Employers and the Law, he’s a graduate of law school, and we put together an anthology of articles that deal with current issues. And this is a sampling of what those articles are. What’s company policy with regard to what’s called BYOD? Companies nowadays are asking employees to use their personal smartphones at work, and this raises a lot of interesting questions.
For instance, if the company is sued, does that mean that the person filing suit has access to everything on your smartphone, bullying at work, lactation discrimination. Can women breastfeed at work, what are company policies about lactation? Legal implications of leaning in, obesity discrimination, retaliation, workforce violence and so on. So not only is employment law a huge area of law but the issues are constantly evolving and changing. So employment law covers a huge number of issues affecting everything you do at work, and the issues are continually evolving. Let’s now turn to two of the most controversial issues relating to your work. The first of those is firing, what lawyers call wrongful discharge. And the second is discrimination at work.
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Making Successful Decisions through the Strategy, Law & Ethics Model

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