Employment Law

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Q. Has the penalty for employer violations of the Illinois Equal Pay Act recently increased?
The Texas Supreme Court has handed an important victory to Texas employers eager to avoid jury trials for employment disputes: It ruled that, as long as the employees are at-will workers, threatening to fire them for refusing to give up the right to a jury trial does not invalidate the agreement.
Manhattan celebrity chef Mario Batali has agreed to a $5.25 million settlement with waiters, bartenders, busboys and other floor staff at several of his restaurants.
Cal/OSHA has cited Lamont-based Community Recycling and Resources Recovery for 16 workplace safety violations after two brothers died from hydrogen sulfide gas exposure while working in a storm drain.

Q. During our introductory period, new hires accrue PTO but they can’t use it until after six months. Can we dock an exempt employee’s pay if he wants a vacation day or sick day during this time? Or, after the six-month period, if an exempt employee has exhausted his PTO accrual, can he be docked pay?

OSHA has updated its hazard communication standard to harmonize it with international standards. Com­­panies that manufacture, transport or have chemicals in the workplace must begin complying with the new standard by June 26.
As an HR professional, you may come across employment practices that you think violate the law. What you do with that concern and how you express it may make the difference between engaging in protected activity or not—and by extension, whether you can sue for retaliation if upper management punishes you.

You expect colleges and universities to prepare your youngest workers for their new jobs. But are you prepared for them? These digital natives quickly grow impatient with last year’s hardware and software. Hiring them puts more pressure on your organization to keep its technology ahead of the curve.

Facebook says it’s seen “a distressing increase” in reports of employers seeking to gain access to employees’ profiles. Several states are taking action.
Final regulations for implementing the Affordable Care Act now require all group health plans to provide employees and beneficiaries with an SBC and a uniform glossary of basic health benefit terms by Sept. 23. The summaries had been on hold while regulators drew up the final rules.