Employment Law

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Q. Can we reduce the wage rates of male employees in order to avoid Equal Pay Act violations?
Here’s a bit of good news for employers that try to accommodate disabilities but whose efforts are rejected out of hand: When you offer what looks like a reasonable accommodation and an employee refuses to even try it, you are no ­longer obligated to retain her. A worker who rejects an offered accommodation is no longer covered by the ADA if she doesn’t even try it first.
Q. Do the individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITIN) issued by the Department of the Treasury authorize an alien to work without any other documentation, such as an employment authorization? 
Using temporary workers can be an effective way to stretch your labor budget without making a long-term staffing commitment. But if a temp sues over alleged discrimination, you may not have saved much money. To prevent surprises, make sure you treat the temp as a guest—leave the employment details to the agency that supplies the temp.
A recent court decision on the availability of seating at work suggests the best approach may be to just offer everyone a chair. It seems employees sue without actually requesting a place to sit down.
A bill before the North Carolina House of Representatives would require employers to give employees notice of their employment status at the time of hire and when any material change in the employment relationship occurs.
Q. Our executive director wants to change an employee’s shift. The employee does not want the change. Can we force it? 
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in two lawsuits challenging a state law requiring judges to retire at age 70. A 1989 decision, Gondelman v. Com­­mon­­wealth, upheld the practice as constitutional, but several judges are asking the court to look at the issue anew.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a class-action lawsuit filed by a worker under the FLSA was properly dismissed because the ­worker’s suit was moot when she failed to accept an offer of judgment from her employer.

Like most employers, your em­­ployee handbook probably in­­cludes a disclaimer informing employees that nothing in the document creates a contract. But what if your handbook also includes a clause that says employee disputes must go to arbitration instead of state or federal court, where a run­­away jury might bankrupt the company? Bad idea.