Employment Law

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Employers aren’t supposed to retaliate against employees who file wage-and-hour complaints against their employers. For quite some time now, there has been confusion over two things: first, whether the employee has to make a written complaint, and second, whether the complaint has to be made to a governmental agency like the Department of Labor. Now the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers New York employers, has settled the issue.

On April 29, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its unanimous decision in Mach Mining v. EEOC, a case that set new standards for challenging whether the EEOC engaged in a good-faith conciliation process before suing. In the wake of the decision, employers can expect more pre-litigation outreach from the EEOC.
Recent changes to the Minnesota Whistleblower Act and the way in which Minnesota courts interpret it should put employers on watch. Late last year, the Minnesota Court of Appeals extended the statute of limitations for MWA claims from two to six years. The ruling comes on the heels of 2013 amendments to the MWA, which, plaintiffs argue, expand the scope of the statute’s coverage.
Here are seven hot-button topics that California HR leaders should stay on top of. Practical advice will help you comply with a shifting employment law landscape.
Traditionally, plaintiffs learn by mail about their potential membership in a class-action lawsuit. Reaching mobile millennials may require a different tack.
The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Pennsylvania-American Water Co. violated the National Labor Relations Act when it disciplined two Pittsburgh-area workers for refusing to cross a picket line. The board also censured the company for removing a union letter from a bulletin board.
Employees of the Seafood Peddler restaurant in San Rafael have netted $185,000 after a jury determined the restaurant and its owner retaliated against them for cooperating with a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation into the eatery’s pay practices.
Three Middletown-based trash hauling businesses have settled with a labor union that says its members were wrongly made to pay for damage to garbage trucks.

Generally, only indigent defendants are entitled to a free lawyer to defend against serious criminal charges that may result in jail time. The practical result is that employers really don’t have to worry too much about wholly frivolous claims, since few attorneys will take such cases on a contingent fee basis. Recently, however, there has been a growing trend among judges to appoint free attorneys in employment cases.

Most OSHA accident investigations involve fairly mundane workplaces, such as construction sites, factories and farms. But last spring, OSHA investigators were called to look into safety issues in one of the world’s most unusual work environments—the circus.
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