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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.
Businesses come and go, especially during tough economic times. But sometimes companies just change names and corporate status, while essentially remaining the same entity. That doesn’t mean their legal obligations just disappear.
When disgruntled applicants or former employees file frivolous lawsuits, they often act as their own lawyers in court. So-called pro se litigants can’t go far unless the court agrees to waive their court fees. To stop meritless cases from clogging up appeals dockets, more and more federal judges are refusing to waive court fees.
Q. A few employees have complained that we use their Social Security numbers (SSNs) as their ID numbers. They’re concerned about identity theft. Is it legal to use Social Security numbers for ID purposes?