Understanding Employee Representation & Consultations

Employee representation has been in the news with the United Auto Workers (UAW) strike and strikes by Amazon and Starbucks workers in the United States. Most notably, Global Amazon workers staged a strike in multiple European countries a few days before Black Friday last year. Employees use various types of worker representation to negotiate with management on issues such as wages, working hours, benefits, and acceptable working conditions. 

In this article, we’ll discuss employee representation and how SCC Legal, as General Corporate Counsel, can assist your NJ business with employment and labor relations issues.  

Types of Employee Representation   

There are four main types of employee representation divided into union and non-union representation. 

Unions are membership-based organizations representing the interests of workers in specific industries or occupations. Union representatives engage in a collective bargaining process with employers on behalf of their members.

Workers’ Councils. U.S. labor law does not permit work councils. In other countries, they are delegates elected by workers of a workplace or company to negotiate or bargain on their behalf on selected issues.       

Employee committees. Consisting of employees representing all levels of an organization and company management, employee committees identify staff needs and make recommendations on how to resolve highlighted issues.

Individual consultation. An employer representative and individual employee negotiate directly on issues. 

Benefits of Employee Representation  

The benefits of employee representation are a win-win for employees and employers. It nurtures good employment relations, enabling workers and management to communicate, negotiate and consult effectively. Employee representatives can be a sounding board for management when they want to implement organizational changes, thereby protecting the company’s brand and financial health. 

It also promotes employee health and well-being by ensuring workers feel they have some control over their jobs, which is especially important in times of rapid change or instability.

Legal Rights of Employees in the Workplace   

Local, state and federal laws protect the legal rights of U.S. employees in the workplace, and there is no single list of employee rights. Federal laws include several pieces of legislation protecting employees from discrimination, including the Equal Pay Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, and Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. 

Other federal laws protecting employee rights are the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Fair Labor Standards Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act, and Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA). Employers are expected to act fairly under these laws and protect the wellness of their employees. 

Legal Consultation for Employee Representation   

Are you a New Jersey-based business concerned about the potential negative impact of employee representation on your business? Do you want to be sure your business is fair to employees? The different labor law levels can be challenging for companies, especially when employees work from home or you have workers in different states outside of your main headquarters. 

New Jersey has several laws providing greater protection to employees than federal law, including pregnancy accommodation rights and health care continuation coverage obligations for small businesses. The highly-experienced business attorneys at SCC Legal in NJ can help your company with employment and labor relations issues to protect your business and be fair towards your employees. 

For more information on employment and labor law, or if you want to know how we can help protect your company against negative employee representation, please contact our team at SCC Legal today or visit our website at: https://www.scclegal.com/

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