Employment Law

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With more veterans returning from active duty service in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, employers are facing more reemployment claims. Under USERRA, service members are entitled to reinstatement as if they never left for deployment. That right includes seniority and allowance for promotions that would have occurred if they had not been deployed.

Sometimes, employers have to stand their ground and refuse to try an un­­workable accommodation.
The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act forbids discrimination by employers based on age when providing employee benefits, like severance. The OWBPA also ensures that no employee is coerced or pressured into signing legal waivers of rights under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

Conducting job interviews is one of the most legally dangerous tasks performed by managers. One misguided question could cause an applicant to think he or she was re­­­­jected due to one of the federally pr­o­­tected categories. Take this hiring quiz to see if you know which questions are legal and which are not:  

Reductions-in-force have become standard employer strategies for trimming workforces in tough times. Employers must analyze such layoffs to avoid discrimination lawsuits based on age, sex, and race, as well as comply with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN).
Last month the DOL proposed changes to child labor regulations for agricultural workers. The proposal would bar employees under age 18 from working in certain jobs, including grain elevators, silos, feed lots and stockyards.
Employers often insist that key employees sign noncompete agreements to ensure the employee will not use information or customer contacts gained during the course of employment to benefit a competitor. Several states have recently changed their laws governing noncompetes. In other states, courts have responded to unusual sets of facts to render surprising decisions.
Q. We have an employee who claims to belong to a religious sect I have never heard of. Their alleged holidays always occur on Mondays. Do I have to give her these holidays off?
OSHA has launched a new Occupational Noise Exposure page on its website that provides tips and tools to prevent noise-related hearing loss.
Confusion reigns over when employers are legally allowed to discipline employees for bashing the company on Facebook or other social media sites. Now the NLRB has published a report that summarizes the out­­comes and reasoning behind 14 cases it decided in the past year involving employees’ use of social media and the legality of em­­ployers’ social media policies.
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