Employment Law

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When an employee files for bank­­ruptcy, he’s supposed to list any claim he has against an employer as an asset—for example, a lawsuit that requests monetary damages. But what happens if the employer files for bankruptcy? Does the em­­ployer have to list any claim against it as a liability?

Many employers have workplace violence policies that prohibit em­­ployees from possessing firearms in or around the workplace. They’ll have to rethink those policies, now that Texas has a new law that limits most em­­ployers’ right to bar employees from having firearms in vehicles parked at em­­ployers’ parking areas.
From electronic employment veri­­fication to maternity insurance, Cali­fornia employers have new issues to consider, following recent enactment of these laws:
Good news for public colleges and universities: When staff blow the whistle on alleged wrongdoing and the institution has a sound policy for dealing with such allegations, the employee can’t also take the claim to federal court.
Fine Fare Supermarkets faces $62,000 in fines after OSHA inspectors found that all five emergency exits at a store in Brooklyn were kept locked during the night shift. OSHA standards require employees to be able to open an exit route door from inside at all times, without keys, tools or special knowledge.
It’s hard to create binding and en­­forceable arbitration agreements in California. Some courts considering California arbitration agreements have held that actions brought by em­­ployees under the California Private Attor­­ney General Act of 2004 (PAGA) can’t be blocked by arbitration agreements.

Public employees don’t lose their rights to free speech just because they work for a government agency. They retain the right to speak out on matters of public importance, and they can’t be punished for exercising that right. That’s why, if you work for the gov­­ern­ment, you should warn super­visors against any action that smacks of punishing employees for speaking out.

Texas employers have long been frustrated with the expense of defending against frivolous claims. Even when employers win a lawsuit, litigation can cost thousands in legal fees and lost productivity. Now at least some help is on the way. The Texas Legislature has passed the much-hyped “Loser Pays Law.”

Some disabled employees never tell employers about their con­­ditions—even if their disability could affect performance. And of course you know you shouldn’t treat employees as disabled unless they claim a disability. But what if you fire someone for poor performance?

A horrific accident that killed a worker in March 2011 has led to $186,300 in fines for Refuse Recycling, based in Marietta. Inspectors from OSHA were called to the plant after an employee was found dead inside a rotating drum that screens recyclables from other refuse.