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.

In a recent survey, The HR Specialist asked readers whether they’ve been sued by employees and, if so, what single piece of advice would they give to other HR professionals to help them avoid (or respond to) an employee lawsuit. Here are some of their suggestions:
As we enter 2012, it’s a good time to review employment policies and practices in light of the government’s aggressive efforts to enforce employment laws. The National Labor Relations Board, the EEOC, the DOL and its Office of Federal Contract Compli­ance Programs are all cracking down on employers.
The Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act, aka Wiretapping Act, prohibits employers from intentionally intercepting any wire, oral or electronic communications that take place on their premises. To stay legal, employers must know the definitions of, and exceptions to, the act; procedures to follow when monitoring employee electronic communications; and steps to limit legal liability when engaging in video surveillance.

Changing economic conditions and favorable rule-making in Washington helped U.S. union membership increase to 14.8 million workers last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Organized labor gained 49,000 new members in 2011.

There may be a class-action lawsuit lurking in your delivery charges if you automatically tack on extra fees for delivering pizza or other food directly to homes or businesses and that money doesn’t go straight to the delivery drivers.
The rules regarding union representation and unfair labor practices are complex and confusing for employees and employers alike. That’s reason enough to get expert help with any union-related problems, including what to do when employees vote out a union.
Do you worry that encouraging someone to retire when he’s facing disciplinary action could backfire? Relax. In most circumstances, a voluntary retirement that isn’t pressured or forced because of a threat of imminent discharge isn’t considered a constructive discharge.
Minnesota law doesn’t give employers a clear right to demand the return of copied documents when an employee leaves. It’s one reason that you may want an employment contract, noncompete agreement and confidentiality guarantee all wrapped up into one for employees who work with sensitive information.
Finding a reasonable accommodation is a two-way street. Both the employer and the disabled employee are supposed to engage in the ADA’s interactive accommodations process. But part of that interactive process includes determining whether the employee is, in fact, disabled. If he’s not, the process need go no further.
Employers, not disabled employees, have the right to decide which reasonable accommodation will be used. As long as the accommodation works and the employee is able to perform her job with it, no additional help is due.