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Employment Law

Need employment law advice? Your employee’s hungry attorney knows the latest on employment at will, reasonable accommodations, and more.

Minimize employer liability, optimize labor relations, bullet-proof your employee handbook and update your knowledge of ADA guidelines with our employment law advice.

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Employers that take their time to discipline troublesome employees who refuse to follow the rules often make out well if that employee later sues. That’s because they will have clear and unambiguous evidence that the employee deserved the discipline—not because he was a troublemaker, but because he couldn’t follow the rules others did.

Employers that praise employees for a job well done and provide pay increases along with promotions rarely lose so-called constructive discharge lawsuits. That’s because an employee who has been praised and rewarded will have a tough time claiming her working conditions were so onerous that she had to quit.

No doubt you have been warned many times that the best way to avoid discrimination lawsuits involving discipline is to treat everyone alike. The assumption is that by always being fair and punishing the same behavior, rule violation or poor performance the same, no one can argue that they were demoted, suspended or fired because of their protected status. But there is a situation in which you can—and probably should—treat some employees more strictly as a class.

Nobody likes a serial litigator, but don’t fall into the trap of punishing an employee for repeatedly filing lawsuits.
Continuing its attack on misclassification of employees, the U.S. Department of Labor has released new guidance that clarifies how companies should distinguish between employees and independent contractors.
To classify workers as either employees or independent contractors, the Department of Labor says employers should use this “economic realities” test.
Q. We have a question regarding our crews that work out of town and stay out for about four days. Can we be held liable if they get sick on a meal that was paid for by the company? We are thinking about paying a per diem instead to resolve this issue. If an employee is working on a road crew and takes off sick and stays in motel room, are we required to supply him the meal per diem?
As of July 1, California colleges, universities and post-secondary schools are required to bolster their compliance with new state laws regarding policies concerning sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. This new law requires schools to enter into agreements with local law enforcement and report crime statistics.
A federal court considering whether a broad arbitration clause included in an employment contract bars discrimination and retaliation claims has concluded it does. That’s good news if you use employment contracts and want to push any subsequent employment-related claims into arbitration.

Continuing its attack on the misclassification of employees, the U.S. Labor Department released new guidance on July 15 that aims to clarify how businesses should distinguish between employees and independent contractors. The guidance stresses that the FLSA's definition of “employment” is very broad, and that employers are probably violating the law if they’re treating workers who are integral to the business as independent contractors.

On April 14, the National Labor Relations Board dramatically shortened the election periods for union campaigns. You may have been able to predict the result ...
A new NLRB rule that will make it easier for unions to organize a work site has been upheld as a valid exercise of the NLRB’s regulatory authority.
Employers use arbitration agreements to keep employment-related litigation out of the courts. But what if you don’t have an arbitration agreement in place when former employees file a wage-and-hour class action lawsuit against your company? Can you suddenly spring an arbitration agreement on current employees and expect it to work? Surprisingly, yes, according to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Q. If an employee leaves company premises during his designated paid or unpaid breaks (without clocking out) to get food or go shopping, is the company liable if the employee is involved in an incident?
In March, the Texas Senate passed legislation allowing holders of concealed handgun licenses to carry holstered handguns in plain view. In April, the Texas House of Representatives passed H.B. 910, its version of the “open carry” law.
Omaha, Nebraska-based Skinner Bakery will rehire six workers and pay more than $112,000 in back pay at its Paris, Texas, facility following a National Labor Relations Board ruling.

Over the past year, several big companies have forked over big bucks to settle class-action lawsuits filed by interns alleging that they should have been paid for the time they spent getting a firsthand look at how the business world works. Employers felt compelled to settle following a string of high-profile lawsuits that went interns’ way, as well as the very clear Department of Labor rules on intern pay. But now the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a decision that may show the employers were a bit hasty in capitulating.

In recent years, the National Labor Relations Board has steadily, aggressively increased its scrutiny of employment policies found in almost every employee handbook. Seemingly well-intentioned and generally accepted policies have been found to violate the National Labor Relations Act because they are seen as chilling employee rights to engage in protected, concerted activity.
Here’s some good news—and more incentive to settle discrimination cases before the EEOC: If the agreement is signed, sealed and delivered, the employee can’t later sue in federal court to have the agreement invalidated—even if she has seemingly good reasons to argue she didn’t consent to or otherwise wasn’t capable of settling the case.
You may have heard about homeowners’ associations and towns demanding DNA tests when a pooch does his business on someone else’s lawn or in a public park. That’s fine for canines and their owners. But when an employer tried the same thing, the law intervened.
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