Employment Law

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Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized some form of medical marijuana use, even though the federal government continues to classify marijuana as an illegal drug. Pennsylvania hasn’t yet enacted a medical marijuana law, but that could change thanks to legislation that has been introduced in the General Assembly.

California’s Wage Theft Prevention Act, which went into effect Jan. 1, criminalizes willful violations for nonpayment of wages and sets civil penalties for failure to pay minimum wages. It also requires employers to provide employees with wage notices ...

Q. How does the recent amendment to the Uniformed Services Employment and Re­em­ploy­­ment Rights Act (USERRA) affect employers?
It’s no wonder Kane County Coroner Chuck West decided not to run for re-election this year. In addition to facing criminal charges that he stole a dead man’s television, West is being sued for retaliation by his second-in-command.

Some employees, forced to confront poor work habits, workplace mistakes or other disciplinary problems, decide to tell their employers that they have a disability. Don’t take the bait.

Q. A new hire is refusing to provide his Social Secur­­ity number because he does not want taxes withheld from his paycheck. He argues that since he is Native American, the U.S. government is not entitled to tax him. Is he required to provide this information? Can we withdraw our employment offer if he continues to refuse?
On Dec. 1, 2011, a unanimous Illinois Supreme Court issued its decision in Reliable Fire Equipment Co. v. Arredondo et al., reaffirming that an enforceable noncompete agreement must be supported by a legitimate business interest.
When you change a disciplinary policy, make sure you document exactly when the change went into effect. That way, an employee who is punished more severely can’t point to the earlier disciplinary actions as evidence he was unfairly singled out.
Marathon Petroleum Corp. has paid a $700,000 fine for dumping benzene, a known carcinogen, into an unlined lagoon near the Mississippi River in 2010. Since the incident, Marathon has sold the facility located in St. Paul Park.
Ordinarily, employers aren’t liable for workers’ injuries. Workers’ compensation insurance covers them. But if managers ignore safety guidelines that they know could prevent injuries, the employee can sue.