Employment Law

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A federal court has upheld a Cali­for­­nia state requirement that nurses who want to renew or apply for a professional license must submit a set of fingerprints along with their applications. The prints are needed to conduct criminal background checks.
North Carolina teachers whose contracts aren’t renewed by their school districts have the right to challenge those decisions in state court. That doesn’t mean they give up their right to sue later in federal court. In effect, teachers get two bites at the apple.
Q. We recently received a letter from an attorney representing one of our employees. It requested “all personnel files and records, including all medical ­rec­ords” that we have on this employee. The letter contained an “authorization” that the employee had signed, but which did not specifically name our company. Do we have to provide this information? What if we don’t? And is there any risk to the company if we do provide it?
In a case that’s already being appealed, a federal district court has ruled that a federal agency must enroll an employee’s same-sex spouse in the employee’s health care plan.
Golden Living Center, a nursing home in Dartmouth, faces an EEOC disability discrimination lawsuit in a case that highlights the difficulty of dealing with mental disabilities under the ADA.
Q. I run a nonunion construction contracting company. We recently received a letter from a union stating that they believe we are paying substandard wages and benefits. The letter asked us to provide any information we might have to show that they are wrong and that we are paying area standard compensation to our people. Does the union have a right to this information?
Some employees make a hobby out of suing employers. The next time you face a serial litigant, ask your attorney to try to persuade the court to ban further filings. More and more courts are willing to agree.
A Texas employer has “won” a case that shows why going without ­workers’ compensation insurance can be expensive even in the best of circumstances. It persuaded a Texas appeals court that an accident—not negligence—caused a nurse’s injury, but only after spending thousands of dollars to defend itself.

After years of employer uncertainty, the California Supreme Court has finally resolved what em­­ployers must do to provide meal and rest breaks. They must make sure employees are relieved of all duties during the breaks. However, they do not have to ensure that no work is performed during breaks.

The Texas Supreme Court has handed an important victory to Texas employers eager to avoid jury trials for employment disputes: It ruled that, as long as the employees are at-will workers, threatening to fire them for refusing to give up the right to a jury trial does not invalidate the agreement.
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