Employment Law

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Gargiulo Inc., one of Florida’s largest fruit and vegetable wholesalers, will pay $215,000 to settle sexual harassment lawsuits on behalf of female Haitian workers at its tomato packinghouse in Immokalee ...

Q. As part of our new employees' noncompete contracts, we've started including a clause that requires employees to repay the company (through payroll deduction) for training costs if they quit or are fired within one year. Are we OK legally? —S.M., Kentucky

Q. We need to change our severance policy, mostly due to declining business conditions. Can we reduce the severance amounts cited in employment agreements with certain staff as long as we notify them of the change? —J.C., Illinois

Q. One of our employees is on leave after giving birth. She may qualify for a position that recently opened up. Do we have an obligation to notify her of that opening? —R.D., Ohio

Q. Our business has 14 employees, and we pay 100 percent of their health insurance costs. One employee is out on workers' comp. Are we required to continue paying his health insurance, or can we offer him COBRA? —P.F., Delaware

Q. Can I ask employees who are already with the company to execute noncompete agreements? —L.T., Georgia

Because of a quirk in Pennsylvania law, employers may soon see an uptick in state-based employment lawsuits. Reason: A federal court clarified that all state employment claims must be filed within the appropriate state statute of limitations (one year, for example, on defamation cases). Employees can't wait to file a state claim until the EEOC or the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission completes its investigation, the court said ...

Expect this summer's blockbuster U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Burlington Northern v. White, to swell the number of retaliation complaints and legal claims ...

Q. One of our employees went on disability after a motorcycle accident. We terminated him at his request, as he wanted to cash out his 401(k). His doctor recently released him from disability, and he's seeking re-employment for a different position. Our owner is concerned that if he doesn't offer the ex-employee a job, we may face legal retribution. And he's concerned that if we do bring him back, we'll end up with a workers' comp claim from a slip/fall injury. Do we have any obligation to rehire this employee? —B.O., Pennsylvania

Courts view interns the same as employees: as “agents” of your organization. So should you. If you use interns or plan to, advise supervisors to manage them as closely as employees, if not more so. And apply your workplace policies to them ...