Sandro Polledri — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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Sandro Polledri

Q. We recently decided to start making copies of documents that employees provide to complete their I-9 forms (driver’s license, etc.).  Do we need to go back and complete new I-9s for employees hired before this date or ask them to provide the documents again so we can make copies?

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Q. Our employee handbook says nonexempt retail em­­ployees can take an unpaid 30-minute lunch break. However, our store is often very busy and employees often take lunch breaks of only 10 to 15 minutes. Should employees be paid?

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Q. Our company requires employees to work on weekends because those are our busiest days. When we hire, we ask applicants about their weekend availability. Now a few employees claim their religious beliefs have changed and they need time off on Saturdays or Sundays to attend church. Can we turn down the requests based on their original applications?

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Q. What are the new developments regarding overtime exemption for commissioned sales employees?

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While many district courts have found that commuting to work falls outside of the realm of an employer’s obligation to provide reasonable accommodations for disabled employees, some courts have opted to expand upon the ADA by ruling otherwise.

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Q. What recourse do employers have against employees involved in ‘Occupy [Wherever]’ protests during off-time?

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Q. How do I know when to classify a worker as a contractor or a true employee?

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Under what’s called the Cat’s Paw Theory, employers can’t de­­fend themselves against employment discrimination claims by saying they didn’t know a supervisor was biased. The theory was first introduced in Shager v. Upjohn, a 1990 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision.

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The National Labor Relations Board has been taking a close look at how em­ployers react when they don’t like what their employees post on Facebook. Sur­­prisingly, employers have won several of those cases.

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Q. Can we rely on a release of all employment claims when terminating a military service member or veteran?

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Q. Our company has an office in Philadelphia. Can we ask about an applicant’s criminal and arrest record when recruiting employees to work there?

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In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court in June rejected class-action status for an estimated 1.5 million female employees who brought gender-discrimination claims against Walmart, the country’s largest private employer. The issue before the High Court wasn’t whether Walmart discriminates against women, but whether the 1.5 million-member class was legitimate.

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The New Jersey Supreme Court has just made it easier for whistle-blowers to recover back-pay damages. In Donelson v. DuPont Chambers Works, the state’s highest court expanded the definition of “adverse employment action” and held that an employee can recover lost wages if the employer’s retaliation caused a disability that made the employee unable to continue working.

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Q. Our company has an office in Philadelphia. Can we ask about an applicant’s criminal and arrest record when recruiting employees to work there?

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Q. What are our obligations to inform employees of their rights against retaliation if they report wrongdoing at work?

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Q. What restrictions exist on advertising for job vacancies? We are flooded with applications and have considered limiting applications to the currently employed. We worry the unemployed have rusty skills. Can we say we won’t consider hiring unemployed people?

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In 2007, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination was amended to prohibit discrimination on the basis of “gender identity or expression.” To minimize the possibility of discrimination against transgender employees in your workplace, follow these tips:

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Q. Are there specific rules on when I must pay my employees?

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Can an employee who wants to prove discrimination take, copy and dis­close company documents? How does that square with the company’s right to protect what it deems to be confidential information? The New Jersey Supreme Court ­recently offered some guidance on this issue in Quinlan v. Curtiss-Wright.

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Q. We keep hearing that retaliation can be a bigger lawsuit worry for employers than even discrimination or harassment. What kinds of employment laws impose retaliation liability?

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