Employment Law

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Lately, courts have landed hard on attorneys who take so-called frivolous cases, hoping to wrestle a quick settlement from ­employers eager to make the case go away. That should theoretically reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits. It probably won’t.
The U.S. Department of Labor has opened a new front in its war to crack down on employers that misclassify workers as independent contractors: It’s helping states scour unemployment insurance records for evidence of misclassification.
In a few short weeks, California employers with 50 or more em­­ployees must change their training programs to include new material. Effective Jan. 1, anti-bullying training is mandatory for covered employers thanks to Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature on A.B. 2053 back in September.
Here’s a warning for supervisors and managers. When transferring an employee to another position, make sure you don’t make promises that create an employment contract. Such promises, under New York state contract law, don’t necessarily have to be in writing. Fortunately, they do have to be specific.
On July 22, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that amends the New York Human Rights Law by adding a new Section 296-c titled, “Unlawful discriminatory practices relating to interns.”
Does standing in line count as work? That was at the core of the Justice’s questions on Oct. 7 as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk (No. 13-433, U.S. Supreme Court, 2014).
Here’s a warning for employers facing litigation: Don’t wait to check whether the employee filed EEOC or other administrative claims on time. Raise the issue early.
When the EEOC issues a so-called “right to sue” letter, the recipient has just 90 days to file a federal lawsuit. But courts are increasingly reluctant to dismiss cases filed within a few days of the deadline.
OSHA has issued a final rule that goes into effect Jan. 1. Now is the time to train for it.

If your workplace seems as politically divided as the country, and the atmosphere is getting nasty, it’s time for you to step in. But will you be trampling on employees’ First Amendment rights if you ban all political talk?

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