Employment Law

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The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that will decide whether a job applicant must specifically request an accommodation before an employer can be held liable for having a dress code that prohibits religious attire or grooming practices.
Q. One of my workers brought a backpack into work today that I have reason to believe contains illegal substances. The worker stored the bag in his company-provided locker. Can I search his belongings?
Employers occasionally become dejected over the prospects of defending against tort and other civil claims in state courts. However, a recent case out of Houston reaffirms that employers can and do win these kinds of cases—if they have implemented the appropriate policies.
A survey asked: “In which of the following areas has your organization seen the most employee lawsuits or class action over the past year?”

Under Minnesota’s workers’ compensation laws, employees who file workers’ comp claims are protected from retaliation. The law says employers can’t punish employees for seeking benefits. But some employers have been trying to preempt so-called protected activity when an em­­ployee is injured at work.

Here’s something to consider when you decide to add an arbitration clause to applications and require employees sign them as a condition of employment: You may end up forcing the em­­ployee into arbitration, but still become embroiled in other related litigation.
Yuba City, Ca.-based Dispatch Trans­por­­tation has settled an unfair labor practice charge with the Teamsters Local 137 and the NLRB.
The House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections has begun hearings to explore legislation that would “increase accountability” at the EEOC, an agency that “has spent a great deal of time and resources advancing a deeply flawed enforcement and regulatory agenda,” according to subcommittee Chair Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich.
The Seyfarth Shaw law firm has created a free report, the Social Media Privacy Legislation Desktop Ref­­er­­ence, that explains each current state law concerning social media and employees' rights to its use.
Q. We have seen that some companies are requiring their employees to agree to arbitration rather than a release of claims in their separation agreements. Is this an alternative worth exploring?
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