Case In Point

Mindy Chapman Esq. is the founder of the nationally acclaimed “Workplace
Training that Clicks & Sticks™” and co-author of the American Bar
Association’s best seller and authority on civil rights training, “Case
Dismissed! Taking Your Harassment Prevention Training to Trial.” Case In Point is an entertaining look at the employment law cases impacting you today, plus practical ways to protect yourself and your company.

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The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is one tough wage-and-hour law. Playing with it can create drama and cause trauma—especially when it comes to paying overtime or, in a case this week, not paying overtime…
Have you ever thought of not hiring an applicant because he or she had previously declared bankruptcy? Maybe you thought that was discriminatory. But a court last week said, “Don’t worry.” Private employers won’t violate the U.S. Bankruptcy Code if they refuse to hire. But firing based on bankruptcy status is another story…
Does your call-in policy demand that employees contact their supervisor daily when they’re out sick? If so, can you still require that of employees who are out on FMLA leave? Here’s what a ruling said last week …
So you have written job descriptions that list essential functions of the job. That’s smart because the EEOC says disabled employees “must also be qualified to perform the essential functions of the job (with our without a reasonable accommodation) in order to be protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).” But what counts as an essential function? As this case shows, your opinion may differ from a court’s …
You’ve had it up to here. Now it’s time to fire a poor performing employee. As you’re about to do so, the employee wants to tell you something. But you tell her to “zip it.” Nothing she says will change your mind. As this case shows, you better zip it yourself and listen. Here’s why …
Say one of your employees tells the company doctor he’s had “homicidal feelings” and has thought about shooting his supervisor. It seems clear you could fire the employee if you have a zero-tolerance violence policy. But not so fast. As this case shows, if the employee recently filed a discrimination claim, the firing could be viewed as retaliation. Ugh!
Will a court acknowledge a company “policy” that doesn’t exist on paper? One court recently did—even though the policy wasn’t written anywhere—because the policy was being followed by all managers. Still, when in doubt, it’s best to write it out…
As an HR pro, you have an open door. And you’re always encouraging employees to ask questions about their benefits. But sometimes, that door needs to be shut … and so should your mouth. As a new lawsuit this week shows, repeating even the question asked by an employee can trigger a multi-claim lawsuit …
Adaptive technologies are allowing more Americans to get back to work after injuries, illnesses and other impairments. But make sure your supervisors realize that uneducated comments about those technologies and aids (in this case, a simple cane) can trigger expensive disability discrimination lawsuits …
Employees will be employees. You can only do so much to keep them from saying and doing boneheaded things. But once they do, must you respond to every single incident? Yes, you should, a court said this week. Otherwise, your actions could show your “indifference” to harassment claims.
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