Employment Law

Need employment law advice? Your employee’s hungry attorney knows the latest on employment at will, reasonable accommodations, and more.

Minimize employer liability, optimize labor relations, bullet-proof your employee handbook and update your knowledge of ADA guidelines with our employment law advice.

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When employees represent themselves in court, their court documents are often woefully short on specifics. More courts are getting aggressive, quickly tossing out these pro se cases. That’s good news for employers.

Shakopee-based Hawkins Tree and Landscaping will pay $500,000 to pay misclassified workers as part of a consent agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor.

The ADA requires employers to work with employees who need reasonable accommodations. Show you did so in good faith by documenting the process. That means tracking email exchanges, taking notes during meetings and generally responding as quickly as possible. Be sure to note the employee’s actions, too.

Under the state’s workers’ compensation law, Pennsylvania employees have 120 days to report workplace injuries to their employers. But em­­ployers are free to require more immediate reports. Firing the employee for breaking a timely accident reporting rule doesn’t violate the law.

Sometimes, employers settle an employee lawsuit and expect that to be the end of the matter. But unless the settlement includes an agreement not to apply for any new job openings, the former employee may do just that. And if he’s not hired, he may allege retaliation for prior litigation.

Disabled employees who need reasonable accommodations are entitled to what the ADA calls the interactive reasonable accommo­­dations process. What exactly that means varies by the individual and may change over time. Employers that consider the interactive process as a one-time thing may end up in court.

Q. Our evaluation process includes commitment to the community. We give all employees “points” for volunteering. The points become part of their numerical rating and could affect their rating (satisfactory or unsatisfactory) and raise potential. We don’t pay for volunteering time. Are we violating the law?
As part of negotiated settlements or court judgments, employers often sign off on “consent decrees” in which they agree to take (or stop) a certain action or pay damages. The Labor and Employment Law Program at Cornell University has unveiled an online repository of consent decrees, searchable by type of claim.
A recent court ruling in California confirms that the Americans with Disabilities Act does not protect the right of disabled employees to use medical marijuana, even if it’s prescribed by a doctor. Reason: The ADA specifically notes that a person with a legally protected “disability” does not include someone who is currently using illegal drugs.

Non-compete agreements place legal contractual reins on ex-employees who are setting up competing firms or going to work for competitors. Non-disclosure agreements can be separate from non-compete agreements and restrict the disclosure of trade secrets, marketing plans and confidential information.

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