Efficient, responsive and knowledgeable

Mary handled a real estate purchase for me recently. She was efficient, responsive and knowledgeable. The best of all, she was flexible and demonstrated high level of customer care. I will definitely hire her again.

~Maggie, a real estate client

Whistleblower could sue for overtime claims

A medical technology worker in Virginia was concerned that her supervisor was altering employee time sheets to avoid paying overtime. She met with a company executive to talk about her supervisor’s practices – and was fired the next day. [Read more…]

Family and Medical Leave law now covers gay marriage

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act allows many employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a spouse who has a serious medical condition. Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor approved a new rule saying that this includes spouses in same-sex marriages. [Read more…]

Ban on discussing ‘company business’ with outsiders was illegal

Not many employers want their workers to criticize the company or gossip about the workplace with friends and acquaintances who don’t work there. But can a business actually ban its employees from doing so?

One company that tried recently was found to have gone too far. [Read more…]

Contractor isn’t liable for bias against subcontractor’s worker

When it comes to employment law, construction sites can be complicated places. That’s because there’s typically a general contractor who’s responsible for the whole project, but there are also a variety of subcontractors that are brought in to work on specific pieces of it. Inevitably, there’s a lot of interaction and coordination among everyone’s employees. And when something goes wrong, it’s not always clear who’s responsible. [Read more…]

Hospital tech can’t be denied job due to meth conviction

A hospital couldn’t deny a radiology technician a job based solely on the fact that he had a prior drug conviction, the Hawaii Supreme Court recently decided.

The applicant had served time in prison for possession of crystal meth with intent to distribute.

While he was in jail, he earned a college degree. When he got out, he began a program to get certified as a radiology technician, and was placed in a clinical rotation in the imaging program at a hospital. [Read more…]

‘Social anxiety disorder’ may be a protected disability

Christina Jacobs worked at a county courthouse in North Carolina. She suffered from “social anxiety disorder,” which makes it very hard for a person to handle certain situations involving interacting with others.

Christina was apparently doing okay when her job consisted of microfilming and filing. But when she was shifted to a deputy clerk position that required her to interact with the public, she started to have panic attacks.

She told her supervisor about her condition, and said she didn’t feel healthy working at the front counter. She also began treatment and made a formal request for the courthouse to accommodate her disability. [Read more…]

Wage-and-hour rules continue to trip up many businesses

Wal-Mart has more than 2 million employees, so you’d assume the company knows a lot about employment law. But the retailer was recently ordered by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to pay more than $150 million to tens of thousands of workers for violating the federal wage-and-hour laws.

What did Wal-Mart do wrong? The workers claimed that many of the stores were understaffed, so the managers compensated by making employees work through their rest breaks, take shortened breaks, or work “off the clock” after hours. [Read more…]

Wife shares in pension cost-of-living adjustments

A woman who received part of her ex-husband’s civil service pension at divorce was also entitled to share in his later cost-of-living adjustments, the Kentucky Court of Appeals recently decided.

When the couple divorced, the pension was divided equally between the husband and wife. [Read more…]

Going to jail doesn’t end father’s parental rights

The fact that a father was given a lengthy prison sentence for drug offenses doesn’t automatically mean he should lose his parental rights, says the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

The state had argued that the father’s rights should be terminated due to “abandonment and neglect.” [Read more…]

Wife who hid lottery winnings is a loser in divorce

When you’re going through a divorce, one of the biggest fouls you can commit is trying to hide assets so you can keep them for yourself. It’s usually easy to get caught, and you can be severely punished for not being truthful. [Read more…]

Most divorce documents can be shredded later – but not all

We’ve all heard horror stories about personal privacy and identity theft. That’s why many people shred all their sensitive documents after they no longer need them – including credit card bills, bank statements, older tax documents, and anything with PIN or Social Security numbers.

But what about divorce papers? [Read more…]

Woman who lived with male tenant wasn’t ‘cohabiting’

Many divorce agreements say that a spouse can stop paying alimony if the other spouse begins “cohabiting” with someone of the opposite sex who financially supports them.

A colorful case in Florida involved a divorced woman who owned a two-bedroom townhouse. To help make ends meet, she took on a male tenant who paid her $400/month in rent. [Read more…]

Couples are putting ‘social media clauses’ in their prenups

Prenuptial agreements are usually thought of as a way of protecting assets in case a marriage doesn’t work out. But they’re increasingly being used to protect a spouse’s reputation as well.

In the age of social media, it’s very easy for a bitter ex-spouse to humiliate someone in front of family and friends, or even thousands of strangers. [Read more…]

Missing prenup might still be valid

If someone signs a prenuptial agreement but can’t locate the original signed copy years later, it’s possible that it might still be enforced. It’s not a sure thing, but it’s possible, as a couple of recent court cases show.

In one case, a wealthy owner of strip malls and hotels in New York persuaded his fiancée to sign a prenup during a whirlwind three-week engagement by telling her that his dad would “cut him off’ if he didn’t get a prenup. On their honeymoon cruise, the couple ripped up the prenup documents and threw them in the sea. The wife’s original was gone – but the husband kept a photocopy. [Read more…]

Which spouse should get the house?

Aside from child custody, the most emotionally charged issue in a divorce is often who gets to keep the house. For most couples, a house is their most valuable asset, and it has an enormous symbolic value as well.

Sometimes the best plan is to try to keep the house. But not always. For many divorcing spouses, it’s smarter overall to allow the other spouse to keep the home (and the mortgage), and receive other assets instead. And some couples are better off if they jointly sell their home.

Here are some things to consider: [Read more…]