Employment Law

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The usual wage-and-hour rules don’t apply to independent con­­tractors because they aren’t em­­ployees. But that doesn’t mean you can forget about the FLSA by deciding to just call some­­one an independent contractor. What really counts is how much control you assert over the individual in how and when she does the work.

The U.S. Supreme Court on April 16 dismissed an FLSA suit, reaching the somewhat obvious conclusion that a wage-and-hour case that fails to attract class members has no standing to proceed as a class-action lawsuit.
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that an employee who previously agreed to waive her right to file a class-action overtime lawsuit does indeed have to rely on individual arbitration of her claim.
President Obama’s picks to fill vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board face stiff opposition from some Republican senators who continue to object to controversial “recess appointments” that occurred in 2012.
An employee who works in outrageous conditions can sometimes quit, claiming she had no choice, and then sue for her “discharge.” However, most of those suits don’t get very far.
Before you decide to convert employees to independent contractors, remember that it isn’t the label that counts, but the actual work per­­formed. Calling someone an independent contractor doesn’t make him one.
Q. We run a courier service delivering time-sensitive documents around the Twin Cities by bicycle. Recently, an employee broke her leg while skiing. Now she is unable to perform her job as bicycle courier. Do we have to put her in a different job while her leg is in a cast?

Employees’ attorneys have come up with a unique way to interfere with an employer’s right to fire employees. Workers who fear that they’re on the verge of being fired are seeking temporary restraining orders to stop the discharge. Fortunately, not all judges are going along with the ploy.

Although public employers may be aware of their obligation to provide certain types of employees with an opportunity for a hearing before imposing discipline (such as a written reprimand), the line be­­tween a nondisciplinary counseling memorandum and a disciplinary reprimand is not always clear.
Participants in Ameriprise’s 401(k) plan are suing the investment firm, claiming it operated the retirement program for its own benefit, not its employees and retirees.
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