Employment Law

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The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on their own or their family members' genetic information. Employers cannot acquire or disclose genetic information, or use such information to make employment decisions.
Retaliation is prohibited under numerous state and federal laws. What must employers know to avoid accusations of retaliation?
Here are some nuggets of employment law advice from the speakers at this summer’s Society for Human Resource Management annual conference in Atlanta.

Q. I recently read about an employer laying off an entire division and then making those employees reapply for newly reconfigured jobs in that division. This sounds like a good way to get rid of deadweight and lower our payroll. Are there any legal problems with this? Will those who don’t reapply still be eligible for unemployment compensation?

Remember: Applicants—not just em­­ployees—are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act, as the following case shows.
Q. We have heard that employers are increasingly screening applicants online, including by going to their Facebook pages. Can we require an applicant who has a private Facebook page to give us the password to that page?
A white Chicago teacher was suspended for five days after he used the N-word in what he described as a “teachable moment.” The teacher used the epithet after he caught students passing a note containing rap lyrics that included the word.
The Tribune Co., the U.S. Department of Labor and Greatbanc Trust Co. have agreed to restore $32 million to the media giant’s employee stock ownership plan.
Q. Can we legally prohibit female workers from breastfeeding at work?
Think twice before shutting down one of several related businesses just to stop the spread of pro-union sentiment. It’s likely to prompt a lawsuit, and a court may well take organized labor’s side.
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