Employment Law

Need employment law advice? Your employee’s hungry attorney knows the latest on employment at will, reasonable accommodations, and more.

Minimize employer liability, optimize labor relations, bullet-proof your employee handbook and update your knowledge of ADA guidelines with our employment law advice.

Sometimes, layoffs are inevitable, something that’s always hard—and often a legal minefield. Get it wrong and your attorneys’ fees can easily exceed the labor costs you hoped to save. Decide who should go in much the same way you decide who should fill a new position.

Q. We recently extended an employment offer to someone who was later determined to be unable to perform the job’s essential functions due to a visual impairment. As a result, we wasted a significant amount of time. Aren’t workers obligated under the ADA to disclose that they suffer from a disability?

Under Minnesota’s Whistle­­blower Act, employees who report alleged employer wrongdoing to their employer or the government are protected from retaliation. Those employees don’t have to be right about their allegations—they just have to act in good faith. If their allegations have an “objective basis in fact,” they are protected by the law.

A San Diego restaurant and catering company’s nine-year history of hiring undocumented workers came to an end in late 2011 when the owner pleaded guilty to federal charges.
Q. We hired a temp worker through an agency while one of our employees was out on a 12-week pregnancy leave. Five weeks after she started with us, she was injured at work. Are we responsible for her workers’ comp claim, or is the temp agency responsible?
Now there’s a price tag on an ADA case that has been percolating through Illinois courts for years. The Auto­­Zone chain of car-parts stores must pay $415,000 to a former manager who balked at doing custodial chores because of a debilitating neck injury.

Leasing employees may be conven­ient, but it comes with some risk—including unexpected liability for workplace injuries. If another organization’s employee gets hurt while working for you, you may be directly liable for the injury, even if he is collecting workers’ comp through his nominal employer.

Q. I will soon either sell my business or close it down. Either way, I will most likely have to lay off all eight of my employees. What are the legal requirements in Pennsylvania in connection with these layoffs?
Don’t make a common, but potentially expensive mistake. You can terminate an employee who isn’t ready to return to work when he has used up his FMLA leave without violating the FMLA. However, you may be violating the ADA by doing so.
The operator of a Mount Carroll grain elevator has settled U.S. Department of Labor charges it that broke federal child labor laws when it allowed a 14-year-old to work in a hazardous job that proved fatal.