Employment Law

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Q. A new hire is refusing to provide his Social Secur­­ity number because he does not want taxes withheld from his paycheck. He argues that since he is Native American, the U.S. government is not entitled to tax him. Is he required to provide this information? Can we withdraw our employment offer if he continues to refuse?
On Dec. 1, 2011, a unanimous Illinois Supreme Court issued its decision in Reliable Fire Equipment Co. v. Arredondo et al., reaffirming that an enforceable noncompete agreement must be supported by a legitimate business interest.
When you change a disciplinary policy, make sure you document exactly when the change went into effect. That way, an employee who is punished more severely can’t point to the earlier disciplinary actions as evidence he was unfairly singled out.
Marathon Petroleum Corp. has paid a $700,000 fine for dumping benzene, a known carcinogen, into an unlined lagoon near the Mississippi River in 2010. Since the incident, Marathon has sold the facility located in St. Paul Park.
Ordinarily, employers aren’t liable for workers’ injuries. Workers’ compensation insurance covers them. But if managers ignore safety guidelines that they know could prevent injuries, the employee can sue.
Willmar-based Jennie-O Turkey Stores faces 11 safety violations after a machine at its Barron, Wisc., slaughterhouse cut off an employee’s arm.

What should you do if an employee produces a health care professional’s diagnosis of stress, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), along with a recommendation to reassign the employee? Do you accept that the employee is disabled and consider the reassignment as a reasonable accommodation?

Sometimes, a new job doesn’t work out—and the new kid on the block is the first to be let go in a downturn. That’s when his previous employer may be in for a surprise.
If you use arbitration to resolve disputes, now is a good time to have your attorney review your arbitration agreement. A federal court in Minnesota has recently concluded that a valid arbitration agreement may allow collective-action arbitration, even if the agreement itself never mentions the possibility.
Morgantown-based Morgan Truck Body has been cited for 24 safety and health violations at a factory in Georgia. The citations result from OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting Program, which scrutinizes industries with high occupational illness and injury rates.
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