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Alexander Hamilton Institute

Workplace retaliation claims may arise from numerous federal and state employment laws that forbid actions being taken against employees filing complaints under those laws. Possible forms of retaliation include firing, suspension, demotion, transfer, and even hostile work environments.

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Employers that make verbal promises of workplace job security in order to lure job applicants or retain employees leave themselves open to claims of breach of an implied employment contract. Restrictions must be placed on all oral communications so promises don’t turn into contracts.

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Waivers are designed to prevent employees from suing employers. But they must be written correctly and implemented fairly in order to prevent them from becoming the basis of employee lawsuits under the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA).

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The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) requires employers to give advance notice during a mass layoff or plant shutdown. Knowing those circumstances and the definitions involving WARN (e.g., plant closing, mass layoff, employment loss, faltering company, temporary shutdown) is a requisite for avoiding WARN violations.

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On May 21, 2008, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) was signed into law. The EEOC issued final regulations on Nov. 9, 2010, which took effect Jan. 10, 2011.

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Terminating an employee can produce a volatile employment situation. Wrongful termination claims lurk behind every discharge decision. So employers must know what to do before, during, and after termination to ensure the entire process is fair and legal.

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The Supreme Court and federal agencies now look askance at employers that do not train their workforce members to avoid sexual harassment and discrimination, race, national origin, and religious bias, age and disability discrimination, and all other areas protected by federal and state laws.

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Background checks into arrest and conviction records must follow strict steps, so employers know when and where it’s legal to request details of such actions, and where they must draw the legal line.  Sample hiring policies can help avoid legal liability when conviction records are in question.

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Workplace identity theft doesn’t discriminate. It’s just as prevalent in public and government workplaces as it is in the private sector.

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To better identify parents who are delinquent in their child support payments, states, under direction from the federal government, have implemented new-hire reporting.  Under federal law, employers must report a new hire’s name, address, and Social Security number, and the employer’s name, address, and federal Employer Identification Number.  State laws may require that more information be reported, or that employers report the hiring of independent contractors.  Most states accept faxed copies of the employee’s W-4 form, with the additional information written on it.

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