Employment Law

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Voters in Colorado and Washington state recently approved legalization of marijuana for recreational use, and 17 states have already OK’d medical pot. But take note: Employers—even in those states—can still set strict drug-use policies for their employees.
ERISA allows employees to sue if they believe they suffered retaliation for giving information or testifying in an ERISA proceeding. Until now, employers assumed that an employee had to at least make a formal complaint to the DOL before he could sue for retaliation. That’s no longer true.
Writing job descriptions for all of the positions in your company may sound like a lot of work, especially when they are not required by any law. But there are plenty of legal reasons why you should have them.

Q. An employee just notified HR he would like to take immediate leave under the California Family Rights Act. Can we require more notice?

If a recent 7th Circuit case is an indication, courts are taking a close look at whether groups of plaintiffs have enough in common to constitute a valid class. It may mean that em­­ployers will face fewer large class-action lawsuits.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against United Airlines in a disability accommodation case that could ultimately end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Q. We recently hired someone we didn’t know has a severe allergy to peanuts. If she even smells peanut butter, she has a severe allergic reaction, requiring her to use an EpiPen and head to the emergency room. Could we have refused to hire her if we had known about her allergies?

With President Obama taking the oath of office this month, employers are wondering what his second term will mean for them. Here is a sampling of the issues.
The former president of Pinehurst Bank in St. Paul will serve 42 months in federal prison following convictions on five counts of misapplying bank funds in a 2010 check-kiting scheme. The resulting losses forced the bank to close in May 2010.
Not every complaint about what might be construed as a benefit amounts to protected activity under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
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