Employment Law

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Employers that take their time to discipline troublesome employees who refuse to follow the rules often make out well if that employee later sues. That’s because they will have clear and unambiguous evidence that the employee deserved the discipline—not because he was a troublemaker, but because he couldn’t follow the rules others did.

Employers that praise employees for a job well done and provide pay increases along with promotions rarely lose so-called constructive discharge lawsuits. That’s because an employee who has been praised and rewarded will have a tough time claiming her working conditions were so onerous that she had to quit.

No doubt you have been warned many times that the best way to avoid discrimination lawsuits involving discipline is to treat everyone alike. The assumption is that by always being fair and punishing the same behavior, rule violation or poor performance the same, no one can argue that they were demoted, suspended or fired because of their protected status. But there is a situation in which you can—and probably should—treat some employees more strictly as a class.

Nobody likes a serial litigator, but don’t fall into the trap of punishing an employee for repeatedly filing lawsuits.
Continuing its attack on misclassification of employees, the U.S. Department of Labor has released new guidance that clarifies how companies should distinguish between employees and independent contractors.
To classify workers as either employees or independent contractors, the Department of Labor says employers should use this “economic realities” test.
Q. We have a question regarding our crews that work out of town and stay out for about four days. Can we be held liable if they get sick on a meal that was paid for by the company? We are thinking about paying a per diem instead to resolve this issue. If an employee is working on a road crew and takes off sick and stays in motel room, are we required to supply him the meal per diem?
As of July 1, California colleges, universities and post-secondary schools are required to bolster their compliance with new state laws regarding policies concerning sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. This new law requires schools to enter into agreements with local law enforcement and report crime statistics.
A federal court considering whether a broad arbitration clause included in an employment contract bars discrimination and retaliation claims has concluded it does. That’s good news if you use employment contracts and want to push any subsequent employment-related claims into arbitration.

Continuing its attack on the misclassification of employees, the U.S. Labor Department released new guidance on July 15 that aims to clarify how businesses should distinguish between employees and independent contractors. The guidance stresses that the FLSA's definition of “employment” is very broad, and that employers are probably violating the law if they’re treating workers who are integral to the business as independent contractors.

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