Up and Coming
Rachel Brochert Roe: Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge, Traverse City
The Brief: Wayne State University Law School, J.D., 1994
Practice Areas: Business Law, Employment Law (wrongful discharge, sexual harassment, discrimination, contract and severance negotiations, wage and hour claims, employee handbooks, and drafting and enforcing non-competition agreements).
You help businesses avoid workplace litigation.
I work with businesses to avoid problems by doing things right in the first place. Most business owners want to do the right thing, but they just need help understanding how. If a problem can’t be avoided, I work to represent them in court.
What trends do you see in workplace-centered lawsuits?
Improper payment of employees—paying them as independent contractors when they should be paid as hourly employees, for example.
What are the top four things every business should know about employment law?
1. Make sure hiring practices are up to par. Most employers don’t realize that the employment application they buy from Staples, for example, may have illegal questions on it, or that there is information they could add to the application to protect their business. 2. Make sure you have a written employee handbook that identifies the rights and responsibilities of employee and employer.
3. Don’t terminate someone spur of the moment. Make sure you have documented the issues and can articulate a legitimate business reason for the decision. 4. When hiring high-level employees negotiate severance packages up front—it’s a lot cheaper then than after they leave.