How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr.

How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr.

How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Hogge Law Attorneys and Counselors at Law 500 E. Plume Street, Suite 800 Norfolk, Virginia 23510 (757) 961-5400 www.VirginiaLaborLaw.com This presentation is intended solely for informational purposes. It does not offered as legal advice. How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr.

Initial Communications How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Initial Communications Communications with Deceased Employees Family By Who? HR manager Employees supervisor

Senior management Owner of company How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Initial Communications Communications with Deceased Employees Family Extend condolences Communicate by phone or in person Caution: Avoid any statements that may suggest company is liable for employees death

Send the family a sympathy card, and a gifts such as flowers or a gift basket How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Initial Communications Communications with Deceased Employees Family Ask about service arrangements Ask whether coworkers are welcome Ask how family wishes arrangements to be

communicated to company How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Initial Communications Communications with Deceased Employees Family Determine wishes of family concerning sympathy cards, flowers, and remembrances Where should cards and flowers be sent? Does the family prefer flowers or donations to charity?

How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Initial Communications Communications with Deceased Employees Family Advise family of available compensation, benefits, and support services Be sure to inform family of any benefits available to cover funeral expenses Some families may wish to defer this discussion until after funeral

How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Initial Communications Communications with Employees Notify employees of the death Who notifies? HR manager Employees supervisor Senior management

Owner of company How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Initial Communications Communications with Employees Funeral If coworkers are welcome at funeral, inform them of when and where funeral will be held

If family prefers coworkers not attend, inform employees that the funeral is private Inform employees regarding sympathy cards, flowers, and remembrances Inform employees of time-off policies for attending funeral How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Initial Communications Communications with Employees Employee Assistance Programs and Counseling Resources

Companies with EAP should notify employees of the availability of EAP service and provide EAP contact information to employees Companies that do not have EAP should notify employees of the availability of private counseling or community services How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Initial Communications Communications with Business Contacts

Inform customers, suppliers, vendors who dealt with employee on a regular basis Who notifies? Depends on relationship Method of notification? Depends on relationship Carefully consider communications with customers having close relationship with deceased employee Replacement employee should be assigned immediately How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Moving Forward

How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Moving Forward Coverage of Deceased Employees Work Coverage alternatives Assignment to existing staff Assignment to temporary employee New hire / transfer How to Handle the Death of an Employee

Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Moving Forward Coverage of Deceased Employees Work Deceased employees desk and office Inspect promptly Retrieve critical work-related materials Identify and assign items requiring action Identify personal items and make arrangements with family for return

How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Moving Forward Coverage of Deceased Employees Work Deceased employees email Immediately back up all, including deleted items

Inspect in-box and respond promptly Inspect sent items and follow up as needed Inspect email folders and take appropriate actions Consider whether and how to inform senders and recipients regarding employee death Privacy issues with personal email Company policy should provide all email is company property How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Moving Forward Coverage of Deceased Employees Work

Deceased employees postal mail Inspect and respond promptly Consider whether and how to inform senders and recipients regarding employee death Redirect mail to new recipient Privacy issues with personal mail How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr.

Moving Forward Coverage of Deceased Employees Work Deceased employees voice mail Inspect and respond promptly Consider whether and how to inform senders and recipients regarding employee death Change greeting Redirect phone number or extension to new recipient How to Handle the Death of an Employee

Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Moving Forward Coverage of Deceased Employees Work Deceased employees computer(s) Inspect files promptly Identify and assign items requiring action How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Moving Forward

Company Property and Security Computer Systems Change password / disable deceased employee access to company network company data files company bank accounts company email company computers company website company web pages (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr.

Moving Forward Company Property and Security Desk and office Secure employees desk / office Inventory contents How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Moving Forward Company Property and Security

Office computer Secure employees computer Change password Detach from internet and network Back up or mirror hard drive Prevent deletion of files Scan for viruses and malware

How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Moving Forward Company Property and Security Cell phones, smart phones, tablets Retrieve devices

Change passwords Detach from internet and network Back up or mirror hard drives Prevent deletion of files Scan for viruses and malware How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Moving Forward Company Property and Security Company email

Change passwords Immediately back up all, including deleted items Scan for viruses and malware How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Moving Forward Company Property and Security Company credit cards Deactivate

Retrieve How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Moving Forward Company Property and Security Company identification cards and badges Deactivate Retrieve How to Handle the Death of an Employee

Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Moving Forward Employee Grief and Productivity Employers should monitor staff moral and productivity in the days and weeks following the death of an employee Understanding and responding appropriately to employee reactions is necessary for effective management How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Moving Forward

Employee Grief and Productivity Five stages of grief Denial Anger Bargaining Depression Acceptance How to Handle the Death of an Employee

Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Moving Forward Employee Grief and Productivity Typical coworker reactions to employee death Shock, numbness, disbelief Anger, irritability Sadness, remorse

Anxiety Decreased concentration and memory Headaches, stomach aches, muscle aches How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Moving Forward Employee Grief and Productivity Factors influencing employee reactions

Length of time deceased employee was member of work group Deceased employees relationship with coworkers Deceased employees tenure with company Deceased employees role in company Extent deceased employee was well known within company Circumstances of employees death (expected, unexpected) Other current workplace issues How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr.

Moving Forward Employee Grief and Productivity Employee Assistance Programs Can help organization cope effectively with death of an employee by providing services including advice to employers on how to best handle situations related to employee deaths on-site crisis management telephone support to employees counseling to employees Companies with EAP should notify employees of the availability of EAP service and provide EAP contact

information to employees How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Moving Forward Employee Grief and Productivity Private counseling or community services Private counseling and community services may be available to employees instead or in addition to EAP

Companies, especially those without EAP, should notify employees of the availability of private counseling or community services Companies without EAP should consider retaining a social worker or grief therapist to provide assistance How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Compensation and Benefits How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Compensation and Benefits

Payment of Wages and Accrued Leave Wages Identify and comply with any state law requirements for payment of wages earned by deceased employees How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Compensation and Benefits Payment of Wages and Accrued Leave Wages

In general, wages of a deceased employee must be paid to the estate of the employee or to the employees beneficiary All payment of wages should be frozen until proper documentation (death certificate, W-9 for estate or beneficiary) has been received Any uncashed paycheck issued to a deceased employee should be cancelled and a new check should be issued to the estate or beneficiary How to Handle the Death of an Employee

Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Compensation and Benefits Payment of Wages and Accrued Leave Wages The time the wages are paid to the estate or beneficiary (during the calendar year within which the employee died or in a later calendar year) will determine Income tax withholding Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) taxes How to Handle the Death of an Employee

Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Compensation and Benefits Payment of Wages and Accrued Leave Accrued Leave Identify and comply with any state law requirements for payment of accrued leave earned by deceased employees How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Compensation and Benefits

Payment of Wages and Accrued Leave Accrued Leave If no state law requires payment of accrued leave, then follow company policy regarding payment of accrued leave Any payment of accrued leave should be made to the estate or beneficiary of the deceased employee How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr.

Compensation and Benefits Distribution of Benefits Locate beneficiary designations as quickly as possible Meet with the beneficiaries to discuss the benefits they are eligible to receive and the process for making claims Obtain certified death certificates How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Compensation and Benefits Distribution of Benefits Some benefits affected by death of employee

Health insurance Life Insurance Disability Insurance Accidental death and dismemberment Workers compensation death benefits Pension / 401(k) How to Handle the Death of an Employee

Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Compensation and Benefits Distribution of Benefits Health care flexible spending accounts Determine balance prior to date of death Notify family members concerning access to funds How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Compensation and Benefits

Insurance Continuation and Conversion Health insurance should be terminated in accordance with the policy as of the date of death How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Compensation and Benefits Insurance Continuation and Conversion If COBRA applies, notify spouse and dependents How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Work-Related Deaths

How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Work-Related Deaths Employer Investigation and Risk Management Insurance Notify potentially responsible insurance carrier immediately Workers compensation General Liability How to Handle the Death of an Employee

Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Work-Related Deaths Employer Investigation and Risk Management Any work-related death should be immediately and thoroughly investigated The same applies to work-related injuries, especially those which may lead to death Investigation is necessary to assess risk for legal liability Workers compensation

Tort, if workers compensation does not apply OSHA How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Work-Related Deaths Employer Investigation and Risk Management Investigation basics

Internal written report Assignment of investigation Witness interviews Witness statements - written / recorded Photographs and other documentary evidence Investigative report to management How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Work-Related Deaths Employer Investigation and Risk Management Important employer policies

Safety and health Injury reporting Investigation Corrective action How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Work-Related Deaths Workers Compensation Workers compensation laws provide benefits to

employees suffering work-related injuries or death Medical expenses Disability benefits Death benefits How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Work-Related Deaths Workers Compensation Workers compensation may be available even if the

death of the employee results from a deliberate violent act by a coworker or third party How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Work-Related Deaths Workers Compensation Liability for workers compensation may depend on the specific legal test applied by the state where the employee is injured or killed Positional risk test

Actual risk test How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Work-Related Deaths OSHA OSHA establishes minimum health and safety standards for workplaces. Examples: Fall protection Bloodborne pathogen

How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Work-Related Deaths OSHA Sources of OSHA Standards Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act State OSHA laws How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr.

Work-Related Deaths OSHA Enforcement Federal: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (part of U.S. Department of Labor) State: State Agency (e.g., Virginia Department of Labor and Industry) Violations of OSHA standards leading to employee deaths can result in civil and criminal penalties

How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Work-Related Deaths OSHA Keys to OSHA compliance Adoption and enforcement of written employer safety and health policies meeting or exceeding OSHA standards Ongoing training of employees on occupational safety and health requirements How to Handle the Death of an Employee

Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Deaths of Employees Who Are Owners How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Deaths of Employees Who Are Owners Need for Planning When an owner of a business dies, a business can face great uncertainty and confusion, especially if the business is small A written plan for continuation or succession of the business following the death of an owner is needed to enable the business to continue or to facilitate its

winding up in an orderly fashion How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Deaths of Employees Who Are Owners Wills The most basic form of planning is a written will This can be especially useful for a sole proprietorship Key issues

What happens to the business? If the business is to be continued, who will inherit it? If the business will be wound up, who will receive the proceeds Who will operate the business in the interim? How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Deaths of Employees Who Are Owners Buy-Sell Agreements For corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies, the owners should execute buy-sell agreements

The surviving owners can be given the option to buy the interests of the deceased owner The surviving owners can be required to buy the interests of the deceased owner and pay the proceeds to the estate Important issue: how is the value of the owners interest determined? How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Deaths of Employees Who Are Owners Potential consequence of failure to adequately plan Litigation between beneficiaries Litigation between owners

Dissolution of business How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Deaths of Employees Who Are Owners Use of Professionals Effective planning for the death of a business owner requires thoughtful consideration of alternatives and careful preparation of important legal documents, and should involve, at a minimum, a certified public accountant and an attorney How to Handle the Death of an Employee Raymond L. Hogge, Jr.

We hope you found this presentation useful. If we can be of assistance to you, please contact us. Raymond L. Hogge, Jr. Hogge Law Attorneys and Counselors at Law 500 E. Plume Street, Suite 800 Norfolk, Virginia 23510 (757) 961-5400 www.VirginiaLaborLaw.com

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