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The Employee Rights Handbook: Effective Legal Strategies to Protect Your Job From Interview to Pink Slip


Nationally known workplace attorney Steven Mitchell Sack gives you all the information you need to be properly hired, protect yourself on the job, and fight back if you are unfairly or illegally fired. He tells you what to do, what to ask for and insist on, and how to protect your rights in those areas where workers are frequently exploited.

In clear language, this comprehensive book covers all steps in the ...

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Nationally known workplace attorney Steven Mitchell Sack gives you all the information you need to be properly hired, protect yourself on the job, and fight back if you are unfairly or illegally fired. He tells you what to do, what to ask for and insist on, and how to protect your rights in those areas where workers are frequently exploited.

In clear language, this comprehensive book covers all steps in the employment process-from when you apply for a job until you are fired or resign:

How to be properly hired

How to enforce your on-the-job rights

Steps to take if you resign or are fired

Protecting your reputation and favorable job references

How to negotiate and receive maximum severance, bonus, health insurance, and other benefits

How to hire the right lawyer - or win a case without one

With this book you have Steven Mitchell Sack The Employee's Lawyer always on call to give you the edge.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times
Sack looks seemingly everywhere job discrimination might lurk and where special accommodations, if any, sbould be made.
Nashville Tennessean
Sack's excellent book covers employment rights ranging from the initial interview to negotiating a termination. People who plan ahead will know how to negotiate and get more employment benefits.
Career Corner
The Employee Rights Handbook may very well be the authoritative text on the pitfalls of being an employee. Sack has managed to take all of this detailed, complicated, and relatively dry information and make it very readable and interesting. The book is well worth the money regardless of your occupation and locale.
Detroit News
Sack offers tips that all workers should use to empower themselves. If there's one message driving Sack through his work, it's know your rights.
New Woman Magazine
Simply written and easy to digest, this book may save you some serious money in determining what your rights are in the workplace. If you feel you have been discriminated against, want to know what the grounds are for an illegal firing, or are unsure of what kind of lawyer to see if you are planning to sue, you should get a copy.
Library Journal
Sack, author of 11 other legal titles (e.g., The Lifetime Legal Guide), has revised and expanded his previous, 2000 edition of The Employee Rights Handbook. Once again taking a linear path, Sack advises readers on topics from avoiding prehiring abuses and protecting on-the-job rights through postemployment litigation and finding and hiring a lawyer. His writing style is accessible, though real-life examples are insulated from reality by privacy considerations. Readers looking for a quick answer generally will be rewarded. There's an abundance of sample documents (helpfully listed in a secondary table of contents) and a glossary. The "Directory of Resources" from previous editions is absent here, probably a wise choice in a climate of high-speed change. VERDICT Readers looking for an all-in-one employee legal primer or layperson's quick reference should find this a useful tool.—Brian Walton, Tampa-Hillsborough Cty. P.L., FL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780963630674
  • Publisher: Legal Strategies Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/15/2010
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 620
  • Sales rank: 631,661
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

STEVEN MITCHELL SACK The Employee’s Lawyer® is a best selling author, lecturer and practicing attorney. He is the author of nineteen books, many in multiple editions. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of SUNY at Stony Brook and Boston College Law School, Mr. Sack has maintained a private law practice in New York City handling labor and employment matters for thirty years. His comments or the rights of fired workers have been reported in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and BusinessWeek. He has made numerous appearances on radio and television including Oprah, CNN, and CNBC’s Steals and Deals. He serves as General Counsel for many trade associations, including the National Association of Independent Publisher’s Representatives (NAIPR) since 1988. Mr. Sack hosted a national radio talk show for five years on jobs and careers on the i.e. america radio network and is the president of Legal Strategies Publications.
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Table of Contents

Author's Note xii

Introduction: Why You Need This Book xiii

Part I How to Be Hired Properly 1

1 Avoiding Prehiring Abuses 3

Illegal Advertisement and Brochures 3

Employment Applications and Applicant Screening 4

Illegal Questions at the Hiring Interview 6

Unfair Job Requirements 15

Disabled Applicants 15

Immigration Checks 16

Background Checks 18

Applicant References 24

Job Misrepresentation and Phony Employment Schemes 26

Abuses by Employment Agencies, Search Firms, or Career Counselors 29

Tips to Avoid Being Hired by a Deceitful Employer 34

2 Negotiating the Job 38

Checklist of Key Negotiating Points to Cover During the Hiring Interview 39

Other Matters of Concern 49

Confirming These Points in Writing 53

Turning an Oral Contract Into a Written Contract 56

Part II How to Protect Your On-the-Job Rights 61

3 Employee Benefits 63

Union Rights of Employees 63

Part-Time Employees 68

Leased and Temporary Employees 70

Statutory Employees 72

Employee Versus Independent Contractor Status 73

Consultants 79

Statutory Non-Employees 79

Comparable Worth 80

Failure To Pay Appropriate Compensation 81

Tips 82

Overtime Pay 83

Wages 87

Salary 89

Vacation Pay 90

Bonus 91

Commissions 92

Health Benefits 93

AIDS and Medical Coverage 97

COBRA Health Benefits 98

ERISA Benefits 101

Meals, Transportation and Related Benefits 106

Tuition Assistance 106

Working Hours 107

Time Card Procedures 108

4 Recognizing Employee on-the-Job Rights and Conduct 109

Lie Detector Tests 109

Access to Personnel Records 112

Access to Credit Reports and Medical Records 115

Employee Searches 117

Employee Interrogations 121

Wiretapping and Eavesdropping 122

E-mail Messages, Blogging, and Related Subjects 125

AIDS Testing 129

Genetic Testing 131

Drug and Alcohol Testing 132

Marijuana Use 142

Smoking in the Workplace 142

Free Speech 147

English-Only Rules 148

Voting Rights 149

Rights of Due Process 149

Asserting Union Rights 150

Off-Duty Conduct 150

Legal Activities Off-Premises 151

Personal Appearance Rules 153

Office Romances 154

No Solicitation or Distribution Rules 157

Rest Room Visits 157

Corporate Owned Life Insurance Policies 158

Informants 158

Workplace Safety 158

Workers' Compensation Benefits 161

Social Security Benefits 173

Right to be Warned Before a Massive Layoff 183

Employee Inventions and Suggestions 190

5 All About Discrimination 196

Federal and State Discrimination Laws 198

Sex Discrimination 202

Equal Pay 206

Sexual Harassment 210

Discrimination Against Gays and Lesbians 219

Work-Related Stress 220

Hazardous Jobs 221

Pregnancy Discrimination 223

Age Discrimination 233

Race Discrimination 260

Religious Discrimination 265

Handicap Discrimination 270

Retaliation Discrimination 277

Strategies to Enforce Your Rights 282

Part III How to Avoid Being Fired Unfairly and What to Do if You Are 291

6 Recognizing when you Have Been Fired Illegally 295

Statutory Restrictions 295

Asserting Union Rights 298

Fired for Serving in the Military 298

Whistleblowing 301

Implied Contract Exceptions 305

Fired in Breach of Contract Rights 307

Implied Covenants of Good Faith and Fair Dealing 308

Firing Due to a Legitimate Illness or Absence 309

Written Promises of Job Security in Contracts 311

Oral Promises of Job Security 312

Written Promises of Job Security in Company Manuals 314

Personnel Records 315

Refusals to Pay Expected Financial Benefits 316

Offers of Severance Pay 318

Reliance on Hiring Promises 320

Issues for Older Workers 320

Recognize the Warning Signs 322

Take it in Stride 338

7 Facing The Music and Taking Charge 340

Learning Why You Were Fired 341

How to Properly Handle the News 344

Stay Calm 347

Always Ask for More 349

Stay On at a Lower Pay and Grade 352

Appeal to Decency and Fair Play 353

Negotiating Strategies to Achieve Maximum Compensation 354

Protecting the Severance Arrangement 373

8 Post-Termination Issues 395

Unemployment Hearings 395

Resigning Properly 401

Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets, and Gag Orders 408

Defamation Lawsuits 433

Rights of Departing Employees 444

Part IV Collecting Your Due 449

9 Employment Litigation and Alternatives 451

Litigation 452

Court 453

Damages 457

Starting an Action 459

Discovery 464

Jury Selection 473

Opening Arguments 481

Trying the Case 484

Closing Arguments 495

Appeals 497

Pro Se Representation 508

Class Action Lawsuits 514

Administrative Agency Hearings 517

Mediation 520

Arbitration 525

Small-Claims Court 535

Benefits-Related Lawsuits 543

Breach of Contract Litigation 544

10 Hiring a Lawyer to Protect Your Rights 557

When You Need a Lawyer 558

How to Find a Lawyer 558

The Initial Interview 562

Confirming the Arrangement 568

Resolving Problems After the Lawyer is Hired 582

Conclusion 595

Glossary 597

Index 609

About the Author 621

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