Employment Law

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On June 24, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Marriage Equal­ity Act, which allows same-sex couples to be married in New York and to have, with certain exceptions, the same legal protections available to opposite-sex couples married in New York. The law has important implications for employer-provided benefits.

Even if an arbitration agreement is fair and evenhanded enough to meet California standards, employers still have to clear the hurdle of showing that employees knew about the policy and agreed to it. That means making sure that employees actually read the document—or at least sign off that they did or had the opportunity to do so.
Some employees believe that an em­­ployer can’t legally request a medical exam. They’re wrong.

Employers can offer severance payments to older workers they plan to terminate in exchange for a release of age discrimination claims. But the severance agreement must comply with the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act in order to stick. To comply with OWBPA, the agreement must be written clearly and simply enough that the employee can understand what he is signing.

It’s a blow to companies intent on acquiring another business and replacing current employees with new workers: The California Supreme Court has ruled that local governments can pass “retention ordinances” that require new owners to keep existing employees, at least temporarily.

West Troy Tool & Machine must respond to OSHA charges or pay $250,000 in fines, following a May workplace accident where a worker suffered crushing injuries. OSHA issued a citation for 11 serious safety violations at the plant.

If a government employee first files a claim with the Ohio Court of Claims, that bars related federal claims against a state agency’s individual supervisors. That may mean those supervisors will avoid individual liability for FMLA, FLSA and civil rights violations.

Q. Can we rely on a release of all employment claims when terminating a military service member or veteran?
Employees who claim they were trans­­ferred as punishment for complaining won’t get far if they sue. That’s because courts recognize an employers’ right to manage its work force, and that minor changes in job duties aren’t enough to justify a lawsuit.
Q. Our company has an office in Philadelphia. Can we ask about an applicant’s criminal and arrest record when recruiting employees to work there?
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