Employment Law

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Generally, only indigent defendants are entitled to a free lawyer to defend against serious criminal charges that may result in jail time. The practical result is that employers really don’t have to worry too much about wholly frivolous claims, since few attorneys will take such cases on a contingent fee basis. Recently, however, there has been a growing trend among judges to appoint free attorneys in employment cases.

Most OSHA accident investigations involve fairly mundane workplaces, such as construction sites, factories and farms. But last spring, OSHA investigators were called to look into safety issues in one of the world’s most unusual work environments—the circus.

The Affordable Care Act requires employers of 50 or more to provide lactation rooms so nursing women can feed their babies or express breast milk. The rooms must be clean and private—and importantly, they can’t be restrooms. Johns Hopkins University and Health System decided not only to meet the law’s requirements, but exceed them. The result is a model that other employers may want to copy.

The EEOC has lost an important test of a novel theory that could have changed how some severance agreements are structured. It wanted to forbid requiring workers to waive the right to sue if they were converted from employees to independent contractors.
Falling oil prices have forced many energy companies to cut their workforces until the market recovers. Former employees on the receiving ends of those cuts could try to recover lost income through lawsuits.
On the day new National Labor Relations Board rules took effect, dramatically speeding up the union election process, members of both houses of Congress introduced legislation to slow it back down.
Want to hammer home to company execs the need to enforce on-the-job safety? Make it personal.

If you don’t have a plan in place to respond to a union organizing campaign, now’s a time to draft one. On April 14, controversial new National Labor Relations Board rules took effect, dramatically speeding up the time between initial filing of a union election petition and actual balloting.

The National Labor Relations Board has released guidance on how its new, controversial “ambush” election rules will work, and the procedures are as bad as many employers feared.
Q. I hand a brochure titled “Job Information and Requirements” to each new hire I bring on board to my construction company. With the addition of new positions, I need to draft new brochures with job descriptions, but am having trouble determining the essential job functions. Is there a specific method that I can use to decide whether a job function is essential?
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