Employment Law

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Q. If an employee leaves company premises during his designated paid or unpaid breaks (without clocking out) to get food or go shopping, is the company liable if the employee is involved in an incident?
In March, the Texas Senate passed legislation allowing holders of concealed handgun licenses to carry holstered handguns in plain view. In April, the Texas House of Representatives passed H.B. 910, its version of the “open carry” law.
Omaha, Nebraska-based Skinner Bakery will rehire six workers and pay more than $112,000 in back pay at its Paris, Texas, facility following a National Labor Relations Board ruling.

Over the past year, several big companies have forked over big bucks to settle class-action lawsuits filed by interns alleging that they should have been paid for the time they spent getting a firsthand look at how the business world works. Employers felt compelled to settle following a string of high-profile lawsuits that went interns’ way, as well as the very clear Department of Labor rules on intern pay. But now the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a decision that may show the employers were a bit hasty in capitulating.

In recent years, the National Labor Relations Board has steadily, aggressively increased its scrutiny of employment policies found in almost every employee handbook. Seemingly well-intentioned and generally accepted policies have been found to violate the National Labor Relations Act because they are seen as chilling employee rights to engage in protected, concerted activity.
Here’s some good news—and more incentive to settle discrimination cases before the EEOC: If the agreement is signed, sealed and delivered, the employee can’t later sue in federal court to have the agreement invalidated—even if she has seemingly good reasons to argue she didn’t consent to or otherwise wasn’t capable of settling the case.
You may have heard about homeowners’ associations and towns demanding DNA tests when a pooch does his business on someone else’s lawn or in a public park. That’s fine for canines and their owners. But when an employer tried the same thing, the law intervened.
The Court of Appeal of California has reversed a lower court order denying arbitration and ordered the case into arbitration instead.
On July 1, 2015, medical cannabis became lawfully available under Minnesota’s Medical Marijuana Law (MML). The MML’s employment protections are more extensive than those offered in any other state legalizing medical marijuana use. Legal compliance will be challenging, making it important for employers to know what constitutes protected use and to understand the MML’s effect on testing programs and substance abuse rules.
The Supreme Court’s landmark decision legalizing same-sex marriage means HR departments must review company policies to root out all references to the gender of an employee’s spouse.