When employees quit, they often want to remain friends with their former colleagues and clients. Usually that’s fine, but sometimes it’s not in co-workers’ or clients’ best interests. That doesn’t mean, however, that the former employer can get a restraining order against the employee who quit.
Sometimes unions engage in “ambulatory picketing” and other practices aimed at publicly exposing allegedly bad employers. This can include following your company vehicles to work sites and picketing outside your business locations. The NLRA permits all these practices. However, union reps can’t trespass on your property.
Employees returning from military service are entitled to come back to their old jobs, and they have other limited job protections, too. But those protections don’t mean employers can never discipline or demote employees who have been serving in the armed forces. Just make sure you’re doing so for legitimate business reasons, such as documented poor performance.
Are you planning a reduction in force due to the poor economy? If so, double-check who is going to lose their jobs, paying particular attention to whether the burden falls predominantly on workers over age 40. If that is the case, make absolutely certain you have legitimate business reasons to back up your decision to fire them.
Minnesota employees who believe an employer has discriminated against them based on age or another protected classification can file complaints with both the federal EEOC and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. Employees have 90 days to file a lawsuit after the EEOC dismisses their case, but just 45 days to do so after the MDHR does.
It’s up to employers to determine which job functions are essential and which are not. When a disabled employee challenges an employer’s list of essential functions, courts generally won’t second-guess the employer if the list of functions passes muster against a few simple guidelines. When deciding whether job functions are essential, courts consider these factors:
Mesaba Airlines, which operates short-haul flights for Delta and Northwest Airlines, has reached an agreement with the EEOC on religious discrimination claims filed by several employees. The suit began when Mesaba fired customer service agent Linda Vellejos after she refused to work on the Jewish Sabbath.
Businesses that plan to lay off enough workers to trigger the federal WARN Act must give 60 days’ notice to employees and state officials. That’s supposed to allow state Rapid Response teams enough time to start helping find new jobs for soon-to-be displaced workers. But the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) says in many cases employer cooperation is grudging at best.
A federal trial court has refused to open the litigation floodgates for former employees who go directly to federal court instead of following the proper procedures before suing. Employees who want to sue for employment discrimination under Title VII are supposed to file a complaint with the EEOC or a state discrimination agency first.
If you pay commissions under a written compensation plan that covers commissions earned only while the employee works for your company, be careful how you handle terminations—and discussion concerning payment of further commissions. In some circumstances, you could inadvertently create additional liability for unpaid commissions …