Preventive Law for Employers

Practice Areas

Ann F. Kiernan, Esq. practices employment law exclusively and represents only management. Since she is actively involved in preventive law, Ms. Kiernan frequently gives employment law presentations and works with management to develop legally compliant employee handbooks.

Employment Law

Employment law covers a complex network of statutes, regulations and court decisions that control how employers must treat employees, former employees, and applicants for employment. I have significant experience in interpreting,construing, and litigating New Jersey and Federal statutes and case law in areas such as employment discrimination, overtime compensation, retaliation, harassment, whistleblower claims, wrongful discharge, employment contracts, employee privacy rights, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Employers can unleash the power of human capital through understanding the law and using it appropriately. As Harvard Business School professor Constance E. Bagley points out in her 2005 book Winning Legally: How to Use the Law to Create Value, Marshal Resources and Manage Risk (Harvard Business School Press):

“Managers who view the law purely as a constraint, something to comply with and react to rather than use actively, will miss opportunities to use the law and the legal system for increasing the total value created and the firm’s share of that value.”

In working with employers, I stress practical and proactive compliance. Smart businesspeople know that it is expensive to litigate, and much more cost-effective in the long run to prevent problems. With a proactive approach such as preventive compliance, a business avoids the legal and other costs associated with lawsuits and claim settlements. In other words, good law is good business, too.

Employee Handbooks

Employee handbooks must serve several important functions. Workers are interested in when they are paid, how their pay is calculated, what their fringe benefits will be and what time off (with and without pay) they will get. The government wants affirmative action and non-discrimination statements, as well as other required notices, and sets standards for communicating facts about employee benefits. The employer wants to motivate proper employee conduct, protect itself from employee claims and brag a bit about how wonderful it is to work for the employer.

To avoid unexpected traps, employers must carefully draft their handbooks not only to communicate their kind intentions and make employees aware of the benefits to which they are entitled, but also as a management tool to communicate the ground rules. When employees know what they are entitled to and receive it as expected, they are less likely to go to outsiders (unions, government agencies or lawyers). When employees know what is expected of them, employers are more likely to win lawsuits complaining about discharge or discipline.

I have written and/or reviewed scores of employee handbooks. I have developed a model Employee Handbook, and will integrate your organization’s current policies and procedures to create a cost-effective and dynamic document that will serve the interests of the organization and its people. Contact me so we can work together on this fundamental documentation.

Manager and Employee Legal Training

Although “good intentions” go a long way, they are often not enough. In this age of quickly changing employment laws and increased work demands, failure to understand basic employment law and organizational policies can lead to disaster, including low morale, substandard productivity, and even lawsuits.

When you combine good intentions with the necessary legal/management skills, your organization will experience increased productivity, happier employees and a thriving workplace.Since 1997, I have been privileged and delighted to work with Fair Measures, Inc., in training executives, managers, human resources professionals and individual contributors in practices that prevent costly employee lawsuits, and create respectful workplaces for all employees.

For information on manager and employee legal training, contact Fair Measures at 800-458-0500 or http://www.fairmeasures.com/about/contact/default.asp.

For HR professionals, I do training, especially on the knotty issues presented by the intertwined FMLA-ADA-GINA laws, and on how to conduct internal investigations, in conjunction with HR Training Center.

Who is Ann Kiernan?

Ann Kiernan is an employment lawyer who has been practicing law in New Jersey for more than 30 years. She represents only employers and management and regularly provides management training companies big and small. Employment law is constantly changing, and Ann is familiar how these changes affect employers. To keep up-to-date and learn what issues are currently affecting businesses and employers in New Jersey, read the blog.

Contacting Ann Kieran

The Law Office of Ann F. Kiernan is located at

210 New York Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ
08901-1716.

Ann may be reached via telephone at 732-846-3201 and email.

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