Employment Law

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Q. My company uses a time clock to track the hours of nonexempt employees. When we determine the wages to be paid to employees, can we round up or down to the nearest five-minute increment?
Q. We sometimes require our hourly employees to commute from the office to a two-day meeting that includes company-sponsored social activities and an overnight stay. They then return to the office after meetings on the second day. How do we pay them for this time?
In a union workplace, the collective bargaining agreement outlines rights for both employees and the employer. It also defines the powers an arbitrator may have if called on to interpret the contract. If the arbitrator goes too far, a court can reverse his or her decision.
A federal court has refused to open up yet another avenue for employees who want to directly sue their em­­ployers.
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.

Employers continue to get marched into court for violating service members’ re-employment rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemploy­­ment Rights Act. Man­­agers on the front lines should be aware of the law and these common pitfalls:
On June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Afford­­able Care Act. But the decision does not mean that the validity of the ACA is settled once and for all. Future legal challenges, and, of course, the November elections, may determine the law’s ultimate fate, but for now, prudence is the wisest course of action. Employers should proceed as if the law is constitutional.
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