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Take a Look at the Emotion Wheel and the Questions Below to Determine How You Generally Feel About Your Job and Whether it is Time for a Change.

Do you need assistance navigating daily workplace interactions, dynamics, job politics with your colleagues and/or your managers?

Do you believe that your performance review is inaccurate and/or were you put on a performance improvement plan that you believe to be unwarranted or insurmountable?

Are you unhappy in your current role as a whole or with parts of your role and responsibilities? Are you bored with the work you are doing?

Do you want to request a transfer, promotion or are you considering leaving the company?

Do you need assistance requesting additional compensation, bonus, benefits and/or perks?

Do you think that you are being targeted for termination either as part of a layoff or just as a one off firing?

Do you feel that you are working in a toxic or bullying environment and that there is no way out?

Do you understand, and have you received, the policies that apply to your workplace?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then you may want to seek assistance to determine if it is time to transition to another role or if there is a way to modify your career trajectory at your current employer to a path that is more suitable to your needs and wants.

Donath Law, LLC offers guidance and job coaching with a legal perspective while empowering individuals to take charge and navigate their own career path.

Donath Law, LLC offers the ability to obtain job coaching as needed, whether it be just one time or daily, weekly, or monthly, etc.

No one should be unhappy at work or with their job or feel like they are at a loss with no where to turn. For more information about your options, contact Sheree Donath, Esq. at sheree@donathlaw.com or by clicking here.

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Will We Say Goodbye to Non-Compete Agreements?

On April 23rd the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a rule that bans non-compete agreements. This rule is to go into effect in 120 days. For the FTC non-compete rule fact sheet, click here.

The goal if the ban is to protect worker’s fundamental freedom to change jobs, increase innovation and foster new business formation.

Non-compete agreements impose conditions on workers that make it difficult for them to leave their jobs, obtain new jobs or start a new business. As a result, people are forced to switch industries, relocate, take lower paying roles, leave the workforce, delay the onset of starting a new business or engage in costly litigation.

Under the new rule, once it takes effect, existing non-competes for senior executives will still remain enforceable, but employers will be precluded from entering into or attempting to enforce any new non-compete agreements. Per the FTC rule, senior executives are those that earn more that $151,164 annually and who are in policy making positions.

Employers are required to provide notice, other than to senior executives, that they will not be enforcing the non-compete agreements. The FTC has provided model language (in various languages) that employers can use to notify its workers. Click here to see this language.

Contact Sheree Donath, to understand your agreements, including those with non-compete language. These documents are important when making a career transition and should be reviewed and understood as sometimes they are not stand along documents and other provisions may still apply.

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Job Elimination, Layoffs, Reduction in Force = SEVERANCE PACKAGES = Protecting Yourself and Understanding Your Rights. Have Your Severance Offer Reviewed Before Signing!!

Layoffs are occurring in many industries, for many reasons. Some people are being notified of their impending termination directly by HR while others are finding out by email. Regardless of how you may be notified that your job has been, or is soon to be eliminated, many laid off workers are being presented with severance packages. While many people faced with unemployment are eager to receive some money and/or benefits, don’t be so quick to sign the documents presented to you without first understanding the offer, the terms in the agreement and what effect signing the agreement has on you and your future.

Here are a few items to consider before signing the severance document(s):

HAVE THE SEVERANCE AGREEMENT REVIEWED. The document presented to you is a legal and binding agreement. It will even state within the agreement that you have the right to have the agreement reviewed by an attorney. You should make sure, even if your intent is to sign the agreement, that you understand the terms within it. The severance agreement will contain a release of claims (meaning you cannot bring a lawsuit against the company if you sign the agreement), confidentiality provisions, and may contain a non-compete or non-solicitation provision(s), non-disparagement provision, no rehire provision, among others. Once signed, other than the seven-day revocation period found within certain (but not all) severance agreements, you are in a binding contract.

ARE YOU GETTING EVERYTHING YOU ARE ENTITLED TO RECEIVE? Are you due monies or benefits that are not included in the agreement? Are you due expenses? Are you entitled to a bonus? Is this the proper amount of severance that is being offered to you? Can you enhance the offer? Is there a severance plan or precedent as to severance offers given to others?

WHY WERE YOU SELECTED FOR TERMINATION? While the company has announced that numerous people are being laid off, there is still a selection process. Was your selection for termination due to an improper motivation? This should be explored with a legal professional. If the answer is yes, then the severance offered may not be sufficient based on the circumstances.

CAN YOU NEGOTIATE THE TERMS AND LANGUAGE OF THE AGREEMENT? Everything in life is open to negotiation if people are properly motivated and you are willing to possibly assume some risk.

TIME TO SIGN THE AGREEMENT. The severance agreement will contain a specific time period for review and execution. Be sure to pay attention to this date, as once you miss the date, the offer may be withdrawn.

Keep in mind that the company is not offering you severance because they are just being kind. It is a business transaction. The company is offering you money in exchange for your signature on the document. They are, in essence, buying the obligations they are requesting of you (i.e. release of claims, confidentiality, restrictions on future employment [i.e. non-compete] among other provisions). Also, keep in mind that the money you are being offered will be taxed when received and consider if this amount is sufficient for you to accept the commitments the company is requiring.

If you have received a severance package already or expect to receive one soon, contact Sheree Donath, Esq. (by clicking here) or at sheree@donatlaw.com to have your severance package reviewed; to understand your rights; to discuss whether the package can be enhanced and/or to engage Donath Law, LLC to negotiate the terms of the severance offer.

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My Employer Placed Me on a Performance Plan. Should I Quit or Stay and Try to Achieve the Plan’s Goals?

EMPLOYEES SHOULD TAKE ACTION AND WORK THROUGH THE PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT/ ACTION PLAN AND MAKE IT WORK FOR THEM!

Performance Plans are used to manage out employees. They help the employer create a written record for termination. Employees should understand that they have rights even while they are still employed and do not have to accept the performance plan as is or resign from their employment.

Many employees who receive a performance plan, wonder if they should quit. Others are pushed to resign from their employment either by their manager or HR, sometimes with the offer of minimal severance if they do so. Let’s be clear – you DO NOT WANT TO QUIT! While that is the goal of your employer, that is often not in your best interest.

Employees that quit their jobs or resign from their employment generally do not get unemployment benefits. While this may seem minimal to some people, the benefits are ones that you are entitled to and why should you be denied these payments. Even if you decide to accept a severance package, you should generally not agree to resign from your employment.

Employees that quit may also lose out on unpaid bonuses and/or unvested stock, among others and may be subject to restrictive covenants that may otherwise not be enforceable. Generally if you are not employed on the payment or vesting date(s) then you lose these rewards that you have already worked hard for and earned and are denied such payment(s).

Moving forward on the performance plan, while stressful, allows you to continue getting a weekly paycheck and benefits (if you have these through your employer) for you and/or your family for at least a set period of time.

There may be changes in the company while you are on the plan and the person who previously thought you didn’t offer enough value or with whom there was a conflict, may be let go and your position may be safe. You may also be able to prove to your employer that you should not have been placed on the performance plan making it difficult for the employer to continue the plan and/or fire you. If you are able to transition while on the performance plan, an opportunity may arise internally that you can transfer into.

Staying on the plan also allows you time to look for a job while you are still employed, to possibly prevent a gap in your work history.

If you are placed on a performance plan, you should have the plan evaluated and question items within. You should not simply accept the statements within the performance review or the plan as factual. You should also question the motivation and timing of your being placed on the performance plan.

While it may seem like you have been targeted and/or that obtaining the goals in the performance plan is a moving target and you may want to simply give in and do as your employer recommends, you need to protect yourself and your family. If you have received a performance plan, don’t just sit back or follow the guidance of your employer or HR. You should find out your rights and options to help you navigate the best path for you. There are various ways to proceed based on what is optimal for you and/or your family.

Make it Happen! Take Action Now!

For more information about your options contact Sheree Donath to schedule a consultation.

EMPLOYEES CAN TAKE ACTION WHILE THEY ARE STILL EMPLOYED AND DO NOT HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL THEY ARE FIRED OR FORCED TO RESIGN!

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New Year Resolution – New Employment! Resigning from Your Job – Taking Steps to Avoid Possible Problems

Is your New Year’s Resolution to make changes in your job and/or career? Have you reached that point in your job that you say enough is enough? Are you considering just quitting? Do you feel that you have no alternative but to resign?  

If your New Year’s Resolution is to resign from your job – pause and read the following. There are many reasons NOT to resign from your job without a new job and careful consideration and some strategic thinking.  

For example, have you considered the following:
(a)  What is the best time to resign for you and your family?
(b) Do you know how much notice you must provide to your employer?
(c) Are you due to get a bonus? If so, must you be employed on the date bonuses are distributed to receive it?
(d) Is your family’s health insurance through your employer? If so, do you know your rights to COBRA or do you intend to obtain health insurance from a new employer?
(e) Have you signed anything that will restrict your future employment like a non-compete agreement, confidentiality agreement or inventions agreement?
(f) Do you have any issues to resolve with your employer prior to your departing?
(g) Have you already obtained alternate employment?
(h) Are you resigning for new employment, to make a lifestyle change or because your employer is pressuring you to leave?  

Besides the above factors, it is important to know that resigning from your job may in many situations preclude you from obtaining unemployment benefits.  

Prior to resigning from your employment it is important that you understand your legal rights and to determine if you have any legal claims against your employer for the way you were treated during your employment. Might you be entitled to severance based on your employer’s plan, past practice or because it may make good business sense for your employer?  

Additionally, it is important to have any agreements you signed reviewed so that you understand your continuing obligations to your employer.

For more information or to speak with Sheree Donath click here.

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Upon Termination, Employees are to Receive a Written Notice of Eligibility Stating They May Be Entitled to Unemployment Benefits

New York law requires that employers provide a notice that an employee may be eligible for unemployment benefits to any employee whose employment has been terminated or whose scheduled working hours have been reduced. The notice is to be in writing and given to the employee within five (5) working days.

The notice of eligibility shall be given at the time of each permanent or indefinite separation from employment, when there is a reduction in hours, when there is a temporary separation and any other time there is a interruption of continued employment that may result in partial or total separation.

The notice shall contain certain information as required by the Department of Labor. For more information, click here.

For those employees undergoing a job transition, (i.e. departing voluntarily or involuntarily), they should make sure that they have received all payments and benefits to which they may be entitled. For more information or to have your severance package reviewed, if applicable, contact Sheree Donath, Esq. to determine your rights and to understand any continuing obligations.

For a list of services offered, click here.

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Need Guidance on Navigating the Maze We Call Employment?

Donath Law, LLC offers guidance on navigating through the intricacies of the workplace. Whether it be daily interactions in the workplace or a job transition that is occurring voluntarily or involuntarily, we can help guide you in your next steps.

Job Transition: Offering guidance in determining your ideal new job and what factors to consider in making a job transition, including without limitation: termination vs resignation, compensation factors, flexibility, possibility of obtaining severance and/or enhancing any severance offer; job responsibilities and title; perks, relocation, benefits. Review all documentation related to the current and prospective roles to determine rights and obligations of the departing employee. Review employment agreements to ensure the employee is protected on the way into the new role.

Performance Plans: Review and evaluate the performance plan. Empower the employee to respond to the plan provided. Determining if this is a valid performance plan; helping you to respond to the plan; determining the timeframe of the plan prior to termination; discovering there are proper metrics and if they are achievable; deciding whether you want to try and perform under the plan or would it be better to exit the company possibly with severance.

Workplace Conduct/ Behaviors/ Investigations/ Discrimination: Monitor and guide daily workplace interactions. Assist in determining whether conduct rises to something improper and/or illegal and to take action as necessary. Counsel employees on how to respond to work related situations. Coach employees to push back when they have true workplace concerns. Prepare employees for meetings with colleagues, supervisors, HR. Help employees to understand and respond to workplace dynamics. Discuss possible outcomes, problem solve and work to determine what the employee wants the outcome to be so they can try to achieve that goal.

Workplace Promotions/ Performance Review and Compensation Discussions: Provide guidance on how to seek a promotion and/or position the employee to obtain recognition. Coach employee for compensation/benefit discussions (i.e., what to request/ how to request it/ what is important to make the employee happy/ who to request from). Support employee in preparing for performance review and submitting proper documentation and responding to the performance review documentation received. Counsel employee to seek additional compensation and/or benefits and/or perks. Guide employee in sharing this information with the appropriate decision-makers and showing their value to the employer.

Departing Employees:  Counsel employees who want to leave voluntarily or are being pushed to leave their employment. Discuss options re: resignation/ job hunting and replacing position/ transitioning from their role/ becoming a consultant/ what their U5 may report/ option to obtain severance benefits and what those would be/ benefits entitled to/ monies they are entitled to or might be giving up/ retirement option/ restrictions on their future. Discuss next steps for their future and how to get the person to that next chapter.

For more information or to obtain assistance, contact Sheree Donath, Esq. by clicking here.

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What is Mitigated Severance?

Severance packages may contain mitigated severance. What this means, is that the company is offering to pay you a set amount but may reduce that amount by any compensation, benefits, bonus that you may receive from another source. For example, should you do any work, whether it be part-time, full-time, as a consultation or in any other capacity, then you would be required to report that to your former employer and share with your former employer the payments/benefits you received for your services. At times, acceptance of a new offer may result in a forfeiture of your remaining severance.

Mitigated severance is problematic. A few of these include:

  • It potentially limits your collecting payment/benefits you were offered when you signed the severance agreement.
  • It may open you up to potential liability. For instance, employees who have restrictive covenants, are not reporting to their former employer information about their new current employer. This provides notice, of possible or perceived violations, that your former employer may not have obtained on their own after your departure.
  • It may deter you from seeking alternate employment opportunities during the duration of your severance period.

Severance packages should be reviewed prior to execution to ensure that you understand the terms within, what rights you may be giving up and any obligations you may have moving forward.

For more information on your rights and options, or to see if your severance offer can be negotiated and/or enhanced, contact Sheree Donath, Esq, at sheree@donathlaw.com or by clicking here.

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New York Pay Transparency Law – Salary Ranges Must Be Posted

On September 17, 2023 New York’s Pay Transparency Law went into effect. This law requires that employers with four (4) or more employees must include a “good faith” salary range in all external job postings, as well as internal postings for transfers and promotions. The law applies to employers posting for jobs physically in New York, as well as remote jobs or jobs located outside of New York that report to a supervisor, office or other work site in New York.

The “good faith” salary range must include the minimum and maximum annual salary or hourly range that the employer believes in good faith to be accurate at the time of the posting. Jobs that are commision-based must clearly state this in the advertisement.

Employers are prohibited from including other forms of compensation or benefits, including health insurance, retirement plans, PTO, vacation time, tips, etc. within the range of pay. Rather, employers may list these items as additional perks of the role.

The job description for the job, transfer or promotion shall also be posted, provided that their is a job description for the role.

Click here to obtain a fact sheet from the Department of Labor regarding the Pay Transparency Law.

The goal of the pay transparency act is to create pay equality.

A complaint for failure to comply with this law can be made to the Department of Labor who has the authority to impose civil penalties. Employers are also prohibited from retaliating (i.e. without limitation, refusing to interview, hire, promote, employ) against an applicant or current employee who has exercised their rights under this new law.

For more information on your rights and options or for assistance navigating your employment relation, contact Sheree Donath, Esq.

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What is the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA)?

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act requires “covered employers” to provide “reasonable accommodations” to known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. A covered employed must do so, provided that the accommodation will not cause the employer an “undue hardship”.

Some examples of the reasonable accommodations to be offered include: ability to sit or stand during the work day; receive closer parking; receive additional breaks to eat, drink, rest and/or use the bathroom; receive appropriate sized uniforms and/or apparel; be excused from strenuous activities; be excused from activities that would expose the individual to compounds not safe for pregnancy; among others.

An employer does not have to grant accommodations under the PWFA if it poses an “undue hardship” to the employer. Meaning, a significant difficulty or expense to the employer.

“Covered Employers” are private and public sector employers with at least 15 employees.

The PWFA prohibits the employer from denying a job or employment opportunity to a qualified employee or applicant because that person would need a reasonable accommodation. It also prohibits an employer from requiring an employee to take a leave of absence if a reasonable accommodation can be provided. An employer cannot interfere with an employee’s rights under the PWFA. Additionally, an employee cannot be required to accept an accommodation without a discussion first occurring between the employee and the employer. Furthermore, an employer cannot retaliate against an individual for reporting or opposing unlawful discrimination under the PWFA or participating in a PWFA proceeding or investigation.

The EEOC will be issuing regulations regarding the PWFA. The EEOC is accepting charges under the PWFA provided that the claims occurred on June 27, 2023 or thereafter. To see additional information on the EEOC website and/or to find out more information about filing a charge, click here.

Contact Sheree Donath, Esq. if you would like to learn more about your rights under the PWFA; need assistance requesting an accommodation; need job coaching or have general questions related to your employment.

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