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Tales from the front lines …

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in Employment Law,Hiring,Human Resources,Overtime Labor Laws

Mexican food is great, but is it art? Antonio Garcia sued his former em­­ployer, a Mexican restaurant, for un­­paid overtime. The owners put forth a creative defense: that the cook was exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime requirements because he was a “creative professional.” Under that category, Garcia’s job would have to involve endeavors such as “music, writing, acting and the graphic arts.” The court said cooking didn’t fit and sided with Garcia. (Garcia, et al., v. Pancho Villa’s, ED NY)

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A 12-year paid vacation. Jill McGlone was suspended in 1998 from her ad­­­­min job for allegedly bringing a weapon to work. Then, it seems, the company forgot about her. She wasn’t fired and hasn’t done a day of work since. Yet she kept receiving paychecks. Last year, a new executive director realized the mistake. Now the payments have stopped, the HR director has been fired and the FBI is involved. The twist: McGlone has now sued her former employer—for wrongful termination! Oh, she wants unemployment benefits, too.

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Truthiness … by the book. As part of the hiring process at the Washington State Police, an applicant was re­­quired to take a lie detector test. He didn’t get the job. Did he fail the test? Nah! He left a copy of the book titled How to Beat the Lie Detector on the front seat of his car. An officer noticed the book when she parked next to the applicant’s car and reported it.

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Jehovah’s Witness gets the last ‘ho ho ho’ in Santa case. When a department store employee was fired for refusing to wear a Santa hat during the holidays, she sued for religious discrimi­nation, citing her belief as a Jehovah’s Witness. The case was settled recently. Result: The store paid the employee $55,000 and will provide annual training to managers about ­religious bias.

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