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Some employers believe that pregnant women aren’t entitled to time off for pregnancy-related matters because pregnant women aren’t disabled or unable to perform their jobs. That’s wrong and can land employers in big trouble. The fact is that prenatal visits and even bouts of nausea are the sorts of things that Congress considered when covering pregnancy under the FMLA.
Some employees facing discipline believe that if they file a discrimination complaint, they can escape trouble. If disciplined, they’ll cry “retaliation!” Smart employers counter this subtle form of blackmail by clearly documenting and time-stamping all decisions and the process that led up to those decisions.
Some employees think nothing of threatening their co-workers. Most employers disagree and aggressively move to stop such harassment. Courts are on the employers’ side: They’ll seldom second-guess a decision to fire the culprit.
Under limited circumstances, a job applicant might be able to win a discrimination lawsuit without actually applying for a job. For example, someone could conceivably prove that it would have been be futile to even bother filling out an application. Fortunately, such cases are rare.
It takes just one or two disgruntled employees to start an FLSA class-action overtime lawsuit. Be prepared to fight such lawsuits early and vigorously. Your best bet: Classify employees correctly in the first place.
Here’s some good news for employers that take sexual harassment complaints seriously. In Sutherland v. Wal-Mart, the 7th Circuit emphasized that an employer’s prompt response to an employee’s complaint of sexual harassment may protect it from liability.
This year is shaping up to be a tough one for organizations worried about employment law issues. So far, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided three big employment law cases—and every time, ruled in favor of employees. The latest expanded employer retaliation liability under the FLSA. But that’s not this year’s only pressing wage-and-hour problem. Pay attention to these other issues: