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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.
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.
Employers that miss a workers’ compensation premium payment may apply for a one-time waiver of penalties under Gov. John Kasich’s “Common Sense Initiative.”
Employees and their lawyers are getting more creative with their lawsuits. Not content to rely on federal anti-discrimination laws, they add claims under state law, too. That increases their chances of making a claim stick.