Employers don’t just have to protect employees from harassment by co-workers and supervisors. They’re also responsible for keeping employees safe from others they must interact with on the job. American Laser Centers, the largest laser hair removal company in the U.S., found that out the hard way.
According to a recent lawsuit filed by the EEOC, Hospital Housekeeping Systems of Houston violated federal law when it denied reasonable accommodations and discharged a housekeeper due to her disability.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court decision that allowed a teacher to display banners with the word “God” in the classroom.
Employees who complain about harassment are protected from retaliation. It follows that if the employee is promoted and gets a raise, he can’t argue that he was punished. One employee’s case before the 9th Circuit Court failed because his employer treated him well after he complained.
When an employer loses a discrimination or other job-related lawsuit, the employee who sued typically recovers attorneys’ fees in addition to any lost pay or other damages. The same isn’t true if the employee loses.
Sometimes, it becomes clear that an employee has been misclassified as exempt when she should really be an hourly employee. Employers that want to fix the situation can do so and avoid a lawsuit by offering the employee double her lost overtime pay, plus interest going back either two or three years depending on how the mistake happened.
It might make sense to give newer employees a bit more leeway when it comes to discipline for poor job performance. After all, sometimes it takes time to learn a job well. But if the newer employees happen to be younger than another, older employee who doesn’t get the same benefit of the doubt, you may spark an age discrimination lawsuit.
Here’s an important note for companies that use subcontractors to carry out work. The state Division of Occupational Safety and Health can cite your company for on-the-job injuries if it appears you were a controlling employer.
A new law allows the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) to levy fines of at least $5,000 against employers that misclassify workers and requires the employers to publicize their violations on their company websites. Employers face penalties as high as $25,000 for willfully misclassifying employees as independent contractors.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to reinstate a lawsuit based on a “one strike, you’re out” drug testing policy.