Employment Law

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Cases heard starting Oct. 6 will decide questions involving the reach of federal agencies that enforce employment laws.
Q. As the owner of a Texas company, I want to institute a policy that strictly forbids employees from bringing guns to work—both into the office building and in the parking lot outside. Can I legally draft such a policy?
Q. A number of my employees have stated that they will not be able to vote in the upcoming statewide election because their local polling centers are only open during these employees’ work hours. Should I give them some time off during the day to vote?
The California Supreme Court has issued a long-awaited decision in an important arbitration case. The decision is generally good news for employers seeking to use class-action arbitration waivers to deter wage-and-hour class actions. It’s less helpful to those attempting to fight off wage-and-hour “representative” actions.
McKees Rocks Industrial Enterprises has agreed to settle a retaliation case brought by a former employee who had complained of safety violations at the freight-handling company’s terminal near Pittsburgh. OSHA contends that the general laborer’s complaints led directly to an inspection by federal safety authorities—and that the man was immediately transferred and eventually fired as a result.
Q. What are the rules and laws about social media? We have employees who have generated Facebook pages with our company name. They are also posting information that we are not ready to publish—such as the opening of another store in a new city.

You may think that settling a class-action lawsuit puts an end to the matter, stopping further claims by an employee who was a member of the class. If you know an employee has filed another EEOC complaint or lawsuit, be sure to tell your attorney when the class-action suit is being settled. Otherwise, you may soon be back in court.

Q. Our smoking area is outside our building, but the smoke seems to be drifting into the ventilation system. An employee who is super-sensitive to smells has complained. Can we move smokers to their vehicles? Do we even need to provide a place for smokers onsite?
The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PCCS) has lost in its bid to stop a union election among its teachers. The Pennsylvania Cyber School Education Association, an arm of the Pennsylvania School Edu­­ca­­tion Association and the National Edu­­ca­­tion Association, sought an election to represent the teachers working for the PCCS.
Some employees don’t get help with their potential employment lawsuits until after the EEOC has tossed out their complaints. By then, it may be too late—unless the employer makes a common mistake and pushes for more details. Instead, let it go. That way, you might win the case even if the claim was potentially valid.
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