Employment Law

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The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court decision that allowed a teacher to display banners with the word “God” in the classroom.
Many frivolous lawsuits are filed by individuals who represent themselves—and who are so poor that they are exempt from paying filing fees. Courts are now refusing to allow appeals without payment of those fees if it seems clear the appeal would be brought in bad faith.
Here’s an important note for companies that use subcontractors to carry out work. The state Division of Occupational Safety and Health can cite your company for on-the-job injuries if it appears you were a controlling employer.
When an employer loses a discrimination or other job-related lawsuit, the employee who sued typically recovers attorneys’ fees in addition to any lost pay or other damages. The same isn’t true if the employee loses.
The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that private-sector employers must post a notice advising employees of their right to join a union. And a new amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law imposes a higher burden on employers that assert that accommodating an employee’s or pros­­pective employee’s religious observance or practice would constitute an “undue hardship.”
An administrative law judge has ruled that Norfolk Southern Rail­way must pay a former employee $122,199 in compensatory and punitive damages after it violated the worker’s rights under whistle-blower provisions of the Federal Railway Safety Act.
Former Cincinnati city employees’ union president Diana Frey has pleaded guilty to federal charges of embezzling more than $750,000 from the Cincinnati Organized and Dedicated Employees (CODE) union.
Don’t give in to the temptation to save money by writing your own arbitration agreements or using a standard template available from many arbitration services. Instead, have your attorney review your organization’s unique needs and draft a custom agreement.
When the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) cited the owners of a Caldwell County gran­ite mine for 103 safety violations, the company didn’t contest the resulting fines. But they didn’t pay them either, and now the MSHA is suing to collect.

Employers may be sold on the advantages of arbitration over litigation and want to give the proc­ess a try. But if they don’t do it just right, chances are they’ll end up spending more time and money. That’s because employees may go to court to challenge an employer’s right to arbitration, adding what amounts to a second lawsuit to the underlying complaint.