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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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If your company is classified as a motor carrier, don’t expect the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (FAAAA) to protect you from misclassification claims. That’s the lesson learned by one motor carrier after a recent Cali­­for­­nia Supreme Court decision.
With great fanfare, Minnesota’s new Women’s Economic Secu­­rity Act was signed into law on Mother’s Day in May 2014. WESA is aimed at closing the gender gap by breaking down barriers to economic progress for women. It creates a number of new legal requirements and amends various existing laws.

Not long ago, the U.S. Supreme Court made it harder for em­­ployees to prove retaliation under Title VII anti-discrimination provisions. Under the New York City Human Rights Law, employees need only prove retaliation was an important motive in an adverse employment decision, not the only one.

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that will decide whether a job applicant must specifically request an accommodation before an employer can be held liable for having a dress code that prohibits religious attire or grooming practices.
Q. One of my workers brought a backpack into work today that I have reason to believe contains illegal substances. The worker stored the bag in his company-provided locker. Can I search his belongings?
Employers occasionally become dejected over the prospects of defending against tort and other civil claims in state courts. However, a recent case out of Houston reaffirms that employers can and do win these kinds of cases—if they have implemented the appropriate policies.
A survey asked: “In which of the following areas has your organization seen the most employee lawsuits or class action over the past year?”

Under Minnesota’s workers’ compensation laws, employees who file workers’ comp claims are protected from retaliation. The law says employers can’t punish employees for seeking benefits. But some employers have been trying to preempt so-called protected activity when an em­­ployee is injured at work.

Here’s something to consider when you decide to add an arbitration clause to applications and require employees sign them as a condition of employment: You may end up forcing the em­­ployee into arbitration, but still become embroiled in other related litigation.
Yuba City, Ca.-based Dispatch Trans­por­­tation has settled an unfair labor practice charge with the Teamsters Local 137 and the NLRB.
The House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections has begun hearings to explore legislation that would “increase accountability” at the EEOC, an agency that “has spent a great deal of time and resources advancing a deeply flawed enforcement and regulatory agenda,” according to subcommittee Chair Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich.
The Seyfarth Shaw law firm has created a free report, the Social Media Privacy Legislation Desktop Ref­­er­­ence, that explains each current state law concerning social media and employees' rights to its use.
Q. We have seen that some companies are requiring their employees to agree to arbitration rather than a release of claims in their separation agreements. Is this an alternative worth exploring?

Do you use independent contractor agreements that spell out details about how those independent contractors will get the work done? If so, you may soon face a class-action lawsuit from some of those contractors. That’s because the California Supreme Court has now made it easier to file class actions based on little more than what is in those contracts.

Using arbitration agreements can save time and money by keeping cases out of the court system. But if the agreement isn’t drafted well, the end result may be more litigation rather than less.
The California Supreme Court has ruled that federal immigration law does not preempt a California law that extends state law protections to all workers regardless of their immigration status. However, the court held that federal law does preempt state law on the issue of liability for lost wages for any period after an employer discovers that an employee is not authorized to work in the United States.
If your workplace is prone to injuries, get ready to submit more paperwork to OSHA.
Cases heard starting Oct. 6 will decide questions involving the reach of federal agencies that enforce employment laws.
Q. As the owner of a Texas company, I want to institute a policy that strictly forbids employees from bringing guns to work—both into the office building and in the parking lot outside. Can I legally draft such a policy?
Q. A number of my employees have stated that they will not be able to vote in the upcoming statewide election because their local polling centers are only open during these employees’ work hours. Should I give them some time off during the day to vote?
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