Lynn Perry Parker, Esq. speaks to the small business committee with committee Vice-Chair Judy Stephenson
Vice-Chair Judy Stephenson welcomed the committee and introduced the speaker, Lynn Perry Parker, Esq. from McMillan Metro P.C. to discuss HR issues.
Ms. Parker is an attorney specializing in employment law and outlined pertinent issues facing small businesses and their employment decisions. One of the central topics discussed was the risk businesses may face when they attempt to switch from a system of hiring employees to utilizing independant contractors: such action may be unlawful and result in legal action being brought against the employer. Ms. Parker cautioned the committee members to tread carefully and seek legal advice as many businesses have inadvertently broken the law and exposed themselves to litigation. She stressed that a large percentage of such cases are the result of an employer's ignorance of the law.
As an example, she referenced the new Montgomery County Bill 19-12, the Displaced Service Workers Bill, which requires that contractors of certain, specific labor groups who win new contracts must employ the previous contractor's employees for at least 90 days after the switch. She emphasized the importance of familiarizing oneself with local, state, and federal legislation regarding each company's specific labor force.
Ms. Parker fielded questions from the committee on a variety of different liabilities companies may face regarding their employees. One committee member asked about the way an employer may be liable from less traditional work-related accidents harming their employees. The example given was an employee getting into a car crash while discussing work-related issues on a cell phone. Ms. Parker urged the committee members to review their respective employee handbook and ensure that such liabilities are explicitly forbidden, in writing, by the employer. She explained how a company ought to protect itself against legal actions by checking that all employment materials are up-to-date and comprehensive.