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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In this new ruling, a court said an employee who was sexually assaulted on company property can sue her employer in court. This case serves as a lesson for all employers: You can’t argue that every on-site employee injury is subject to the exclusive and limited remedies available under state workers’ compensation law. With punitive damages hanging over their heads, employers now have real incentives to protect their employees from bad hires.

 

Yahoo! No really, YAHOO!! Last week, Yahoo's CEO got caught in a media firestorm over her decision to eliminate its employees’ working-from-home option. But let’s not get Yahoo’s business mandate confused with every employers’ legal obligations to consider flexible work arrangements when it comes to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Even Yahoo still must comply with disability rights laws. As this new court ruling shows, when employees suffer disabilities, you may have to loosen up your rigid work timetables …

We’ve been warned not to discipline employees for their Facebook rants about the company. (That could be “concerted activity.”) And we have to be careful not to use Facebook info when hiring. (That could be discrimination.) So can employers really use Facebook for anything these days? Yes, you can, says an important court ruling this month. If an employee is on FMLA leave, on vacation, on a beach, on a buzz … then Facebook may be your best friend.
Sometimes, employees are so sick they can’t call into work. So, they have a friend or co-worker do it for them. But, as a ruling this week shows, an employee’s request for FMLA leave can get lost in the translation. Here's how to correctly handle this old-school game of telephone ...
What would you do if you were hiring a lifeguard for a community wave pool and the applicant was deaf, but he was also certified as a lifeguard? A new court ruling this month shows how mistakes made in assessing the applicant's medical condition can leave an employer drowning in litigation ...
If I said “tweet” to you back in 2005, you would have thought I was playing charades. But with people generating more than 340 million tweets daily, Twitter has become a social media phenomenon … and an employment liability risk. One important issue: Who owns that Twitter handle? And if your employees post on their work-related Twitter accounts, can employees “take” those followers when they leave? ...
Does it seem like courts keep telling us we have to monitor all juvenile behavior in the workplace? Do we need to hire “conduct cops” for our hallways? A court ruling last week smacked some sense into the laws and said “no” — not all bad-boss behavior is automatically “discrimination.” Is this an early holiday gift to employers?
Last week, Hurricane-turned-superstorm Sandy impacted thousands of employers and cut power to millions of homes. East Coast workplaces may experience another impact nine months from now, when pregnancy rates are expected to spike. Pregnancies rose after New York City’s famous blackout in November 1965, and the same is expected on the East Coast after Hurricane Sandy. This serves as another incentive to brush up on the risks of pregnancy discrimination.
You know the old expression, “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” That’s a good guiding principle to create clear communication between people. Well, one court recently scratched that slogan altogether when it ruled that an employee doesn’t have to directly complain about race discrimination in order to hold an employer liable for it. How can that be? Read on …
Don’t you have enough to worry about with employees sexually harassing each other? But wait. There’s more. As a new ruling shows, employers can also be held liable for the behavior of third-party independent contractors in the workplace—even though they are NOT employees. Now, do we need an extra set of eyes and ears? Yes, indeedy it seems we do!
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