Here’s a trend to watch out for as the economy continues to slow: As companies go out of business, employees sometimes lose access to their retirement funds. It’s not a new problem, but it’s one the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is trying to fix.
Some employees mistakenly believe that, just because they have been diagnosed with a serious condition, they are disabled and entitled to an accommodation. Employers can and should analyze the claimed disability to see whether it really substantially impairs one of the employee’s major life functions. The diagnosis alone is not enough. It’s just the starting point.
Sometimes, disabled applicants and employees try to insist on a particular accommodation. They expect employers to blindly agree to their suggestions without considering the expense or inconvenience. Don’t fall into that trap.
Discrimination at work is perfectly legal in some countries, and foreign-born managers and executives who work for U.S. employers may sometimes say things that show ignorance of U.S. laws. Those words can come back to haunt an employer that is sued for age discrimination.
People who identify themselves as Native Americans and believe they have been discriminated against may be able to sue based on two distinct claims for the same characteristic. Such individuals can claim discrimination based on national origin or race.
Employers may be in for a nasty shock if they assume that an employee who can’t return to work full time after taking FMLA leave doesn’t have the right to reinstatement. If they can perform the essential functions of their jobs on a part-time basis, then employers may have to agree to a reduced schedule.
Wal-Mart agreed Dec. 9 to pay $54.25 million to settle a seven-year class-action lawsuit with roughly 100,000 current and former hourly employees in Minnesota. All things considered, that was a bargain.
Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group has agreed to pay $895 million to settle a lawsuit alleging the health insurance company gave executives backdated stocks, a compensation scheme that lined the execs’ pockets but caused losses for investors.
Good news: Employees who claim to be whistle-blowers protected from discharge for complaining about alleged workplace problems under the Minnesota Whistleblower Act have to do more than make general allegations. A true whistle-blower has to show that his claim, if proven, would amount to a violation of a Minnesota law.
It can happen to the best manager or HR professional. You discipline or demote an employee, and then, when she files an internal grievance or asks the company to reconsider, you conclude she shouldn’t have been disciplined or demoted in the first place. What should you do?