Employment Law Articles

‘Gender identity’ discrimination claims on the rise

Transsexuals and other employees who identify with a different gender than the one they were born with are beginning to bring job discrimination lawsuits.

While the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination doesn’t specifically mention “gender identity,” the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission believes that gender identity is covered by the law, and has begun bringing claims against businesses. One company in Minnesota has already paid a settlement in a case brought by the EEOC over its refusal to allow a transgendered worker to use a preferred restroom, and a federal appeals court has ruled that a transgendered individual could sue for wrongful termination. [Read more…]

Another ‘close call’ on who gets overtime

One factor in deciding whether employees are eligible for overtime is whether they exercise judgment and discretion in the course of doing their work. Employees who are empowered to make independent decisions typically don’t qualify for time-and-a-half.

When there’s a dispute about overtime eligibility, this sometimes leads to an ironic situation in which bosses claim in court that their workers are highly skilled decisionmakers, while the workers themselves argue that they’re just mindless drones. [Read more…]

Federal contractors must provide paid sick leave

Starting next January, companies that have federal contracts must allow employees to earn up to seven paid sick days per year, under new regulations issued by the Labor Department.

Employees can earn one sick day for each 30 hours spent on work related to the federal contract, up to seven days per year. These days carry over from one year to the next, although an employee who quits or is fired without using them doesn’t have to be compensated for them. [Read more…]

Worker could be fired even if boss discriminated

An employee could be legally fired for misconduct even if his supervisor “got the ball rolling” toward his termination as a result of racist attitudes, according to a federal court in Philadelphia.

The case involved a black school janitor and a female black principal who strongly disapproved of the janitor’s dating white women. The principal made inappropriate comments to the janitor, made false accusations against him, and told co-workers that he had “a target on his back.” [Read more…]

Cutting workers’ hours to avoid Obamacare may be illegal

The Affordable Care Act says that any company with more than 50 full-time employees must offer health care benefits or pay a penalty. A full-time employee is defined as someone who works at least 30 hours a week.

Some businesses have tried to get around this requirement by cutting workers’ hours to just below 30 hours a week. The idea is to avoid paying for their employees’ medical care while also avoiding the penalty. [Read more…]

Company sued for not protecting worker from ex-boyfriend

In a recent case in Missouri, a woman left work and got in her minivan in the parking lot to go home, only to find that her estranged boyfriend was hiding in the back with a gun. They had an argument and he shot her, causing a serious injury. She sued her employer, arguing that better security measures could have prevented the incident.

It turned out that a different employee had been kidnapped from the same parking lot a decade earlier, and in response, the company installed security cameras around the property. However, the company later disregarded advice to reposition the cameras to provide better coverage. [Read more…]

What rights do employees have to talk about politics at work?

This year’s presidential election has produced one of the most colorful and contentious political seasons in recent memory. It’s not surprising that employees want to talk about the candidates and the issues. For this reason, it’s important to know what everyone’s rights are – both those of employees who want to express their opinions, and those of employers who want to minimize disruptions and avoid having their staff members offend co-workers or customers.

While many people talk about “free speech,” it’s important to know that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution doesn’t protect every type of speech. All it really says is that the government can’t punish you for your speech. It doesn’t say that a private employer can’t punish people for their political opinions. [Read more…]

Company can’t ask for ‘inexperienced’ job applicants

A medical device company in Illinois posted an ad for a job in its legal department, saying it would only consider candidates who had no more than seven years of relevant legal experience.

It got a resume from 59-year-old Dale Kleber, who had previously served as general counsel of a Fortune 500 company, CEO of a national trade organization, and interim CEO of a different medical device business. The company didn’t even give Kleber an interview, and hired a 29-year-old instead. [Read more…]

49-year-old replaced by 42-year-old can sue

Salesman Robert Liebman was fired at age 49 after working for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company for 27 years. He sued under the federal age discrimination law, which prohibits discrimination against workers over age 40.

MetLife argued that Liebman’s firing couldn’t possibly be discrimination because it replaced him with someone who was 42 years old, and thus was also protected by the law.

But a federal appeals court in Atlanta said it didn’t matter that Liebman’s replacement was also over 40. As long as his replacement was “substantially younger,” Liebman could sue and have a jury decide if he was discriminated against.

Employers can be tripped up when requiring arbitration

A growing number of employers are requiring employees to sign arbitration agreements, saying that any future employment disputes must be resolved by arbitration rather than going to court.

Arbitration has a lot of advantages for businesses – it can be quicker and cheaper to resolve than a lawsuit, and the details of any disagreements don’t become a matter of public record.

However, if companies require employees to sign these agreements without thinking them through carefully, they can backfire. [Read more…]

Company sued for breaking oral promise not to fire someone

Denise Parker was an administrator at a nonprofit youth leadership organization for nearly 40 years, receiving consistently strong performance reviews.

But when the organization hired a new CEO, his management style lowered morale and made many employees worried about losing their jobs. Parker herself received a vague warning that there were people “lined up in the street” waiting to take her job. [Read more…]

Two mistakes companies make with non-compete agreements

A lot of companies require their employees to sign non-compete agreements (where the employee agrees not to work for a competitor for a certain amount of time after leaving the company), non-solicitation agreements (where the employee agrees not to seek business from the company’s customers after leaving), or confidentiality agreements (where the employee agrees not to divulge the company’s proprietary information to anyone).

But two recent cases show that companies can make mistakes with these agreements that render them legally invalid. [Read more…]

Workers with substance abuse issues benefit from ‘last chance agreements’

Substance abuse is a rapidly growing workplace issue, especially given the recent opioid epidemic. Many employers are scratching their heads wondering what they can do, and many employees affected by the problem are wondering if there is a way to save their jobs.

Of course, substance abuse is a major problem in the workplace, since it can lead to absenteeism, lost productivity, increased health care costs, and in the worst cases, accidents, injuries and even violence. [Read more…]

Worker fired for medical marijuana use

A Colorado company could fire an employee who tested positive for marijuana use even though he used the drug for medical purposes, and even though marijuana is legal under state law, the Colorado Supreme Court recently decided.

The employee sued under Colorado’s “lifestyle law,” which prohibits businesses from disciplining employees for lawful activities done on their own time.

But the court said that because marijuana use is still illegal under federal law, the “lifestyle law” didn’t apply. [Read more…]

Are commissioned employees entitled to overtime?

The C&C Salon company recently agreed to pay $800,000 to a group of hairstylists in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut who claimed they had been denied overtime pay. The salon company had originally argued that the stylists were commissioned salespeople and therefore were not entitled to overtime, but a federal judge approved the settlement and said it was fair.

The case is not at all unusual – many businesses believe that commissioned salespeople are not entitled to overtime. And in fact, the rules can be a little hard to follow.

So, when exactly can a salesperson collect both a commission and overtime pay? [Read more…]

Businesses must investigate harassment even if they’re skeptical

A company has a legal obligation to investigate all claims of harassment fairly and objectively – even if the company is initially skeptical and thinks the claim is bogus.

That’s the upshot of a recent case involving a Massachusetts hospital.

Michael Saxe was a security guard who claimed he was sexually harassed at work by a female co-worker after he declined to get involved with her. He complained to his boss, and the hospital’s HR director conducted an investigation. [Read more…]

Company in trouble for confusing timekeeping system

Donna Vitali, a bookkeeper at a property management firm, was supposed to get a paid hour-long lunch break every day. In reality, though, she frequently felt pressure to work through her lunch break.

While Donna’s work during lunch breaks didn’t automatically qualify as overtime, it counted toward the 40-hour threshold above which hourly employees have to be paid time and a half. So it mattered whether her work during the lunch breaks was tracked.

In this case, the company had an electronic timekeeping system. However, it was apparently very confusing, and had no clear way to capture time spent by employees working during a paid lunch break. Donna’s attempts to resolve the issue with the payroll department went nowhere. [Read more…]

Employee can’t be fired for gossip about possible layoff

LaDonna George drove a route for a vending machine company. She requested several days off the week after her father’s funeral. When the company denied her request, she became emotional, scrawled a note to the employer and left.

When she returned the following week, she mentioned to a fellow driver, Steve Boros, that she had seen an online job posting for a route driver. She wondered aloud to Steve whether their employer had placed the ad because it was about to fire one of its drivers.

Steve, believing he was about to be fired, approached the employer about it. The employer responded by firing LaDonna, for (among other things) spreading gossip and suggesting to other workers they were about to be fired. [Read more…]

Contractors, temps may have more rights

Businesses often go to great lengths to avoid treating certain workers as “employees.” After all, employees are typically entitled to benefits, minimum wage and overtime, workers’ compensation, and unemployment insurance. They can sue for discrimination or other misdeeds. And they can unionize.

Increasingly, though, the federal government and the courts are saying that more workers should be considered “employees,” whether employers like it or not.

For instance, the U.S. Department of Labor recently issued a new policy guidance warning that large numbers of workers who are treated as independent contractors or consultants are actually employees. The guidance makes clear that workers can’t legally be treated as contractors unless they are truly in business for themselves and are not dependent on the employer. [Read more…]

DNA tests are illegal even to investigate misconduct

A federal law called GINA (the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act) prohibits businesses from collecting genetic information, such as DNA samples, from workers. The main purpose of the law is to stop employers from firing workers whose predisposition to certain diseases might drive up the company’s health-care costs.

But a recent case in Georgia shows that the law applies even if a company collects such information for nondiscriminatory reasons, such as to investigate misconduct.

In that case, an unidentified employee at a food distribution company was repeatedly defecating in various spots throughout one of its warehouses. The company suspected the worker was doing this to protest certain company policies. [Read more…]

New mothers have a right to pump breast milk at work

Many employers are still unaware that new mothers have a legal right to express breast milk at work.

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, employees must be allowed reasonable break time to pump breast milk for nursing children. In general, employees are entitled to do this until the child is a year old, in a private place other than a bathroom. Discriminating against a worker because of her need to breastfeed might also be grounds for a sex discrimination lawsuit.

Many states have similar laws, and in some cases these state laws provide more rights to new mothers than the federal law.

Employees are being asked to waive class actions

A “class action” lawsuit is brought on behalf of a large group of people who have a similar complaint. Class actions are not uncommon in employment law, especially for wage-and-hour violations. While a single individual’s unpaid wages might not be large enough to make it worth bringing a lawsuit, a group of employees might be able to share costs and make the effort cost-effective.

Recently, employers have been trying to stop class actions by requiring workers to waive their right to bring one as a condition of employment. Back in 2012, only 16% of large employers required class-action waivers, but by last year that number had skyrocketed to 43%.

Are these waivers legally valid? That’s not entirely clear. [Read more…]

It’s easier to sue for religious discrimination

Two recent court cases have made it easier for employees to bring lawsuits claiming that they were discriminated against because of their religion.

In one case, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that a 17-year-old Muslim in Oklahoma could sue the Abercrombie & Fitch clothing chain for denying her a job because she wore a headscarf for religious reasons.

Samantha Elauf claimed she was rejected for a sales job at a store in Tulsa because her headscarf violated the chain’s dress code, which calls for an “East Coast preppy” image. [Read more…]

Late-night emails might entitle workers to overtime

These days, many employees feel like they’re never really “off the clock.” They’re expected to check e-mails at home, and occasionally to respond to emergency text messages from their boss or co-workers.

But the truth is, many workers in this situation might literally be “on the clock.” If they’re expected to check texts and e-mails at night in addition to working full-time during regular hours, they might be eligible for overtime.

For example, a group of salespeople at T-Mobile stores brought a lawsuit complaining that they had been given BlackBerry devices and were expected to answer e-mails and texts from other staffers and from customers outside of regular business hours. T-Mobile settled their claims for overtime pay. [Read more…]

Common mistakes in employee handbooks

Many employee handbooks are riddled with errors – they contain rules that are illegal, or that are unfair or confusing to employees, or that don’t protect the employer in ways they should.

As a general rule, companies should have their handbooks reviewed by an attorney on an annual basis to make sure they’re appropriate, current, and in compliance with the law. And employees who are concerned about provisions in a handbook shouldn’t hesitate to seek legal advice.

Here’s a look at some common issues, mistakes and problems that arise in employee handbooks: [Read more…]

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…]

U.S. slams local bakery for poor Spanish translation

A bakery in Chicago was facing a union election, and it warned its employees that if they joined a union and held a strike, it would “exercise our legal right to hire replacement workers.” It then translated this message for its Spanish-speaking employees, but the translator goofed. The translation said, in effect, that if the workers held a strike, the bakery would “exercise our right to hire legal replacement workers.”

The bakery won the election by a vote of 20-16. But the federal government set the result aside and ordered a “do-over.” Why? Because the poor translation could have been understood by the Spanish workers as an improper threat concerning their immigration status. [Read more…]

English-only rules can be illegal discrimination

Can employees be required to be fluent in English? The answer is yes … but only if speaking English is truly necessary for them to do their jobs safely and effectively. Otherwise, a company that has an English-only policy could get into legal trouble.

That’s what happened to a plastics manufacturer in Wisconsin that laid off 22 workers who lacked English language skills. The workers – most of whom were Hmong and some of whom were Latino – had apparently received good annual evaluations and didn’t need to be able to speak, read or write English to do their jobs.

The company claimed it targeted these workers for layoffs due to their “overall comparative skills, behaviors and job performance over time.” [Read more…]

Company that ‘forgave’ worker doesn’t have to do it again

Even though a company let an employee who engaged in hostile and abusive behavior “slide” and didn’t punish him, it can still fire him if he does it again, says a federal appeals court.

The case involved a sewer worker in North Las Vegas who had a long history of threatening and abusive behavior. The worker requested an accommodation for a hearing disability. A short time later, he was placed on leave after an incident where he swore at a co-worker. After an investigation of the incident, he was fired.

The worker sued, claiming he was discriminated against because of his disability. He said the city’s investigation of the swearing incident was just a pretext for discrimination, because he had engaged in similar misbehavior many times in the past and had gotten away with it. [Read more…]

Transgender discrimination is illegal, says U.S. Justice Department

A transgender person is someone who was born a certain sex but identifies with and lives as the opposite sex. The U.S. Department of Justice recently took the position that job discrimination against transgender people is illegal.

Specifically, the government says discrimination against transgender people amounts to “sex discrimination,” which is prohibited by federal law.

The decision means that the Department’s Civil Rights Division will be able to sue state and local public employers for discrimination on behalf of transgender individuals. [Read more…]

Companies can’t limit e-mail to ‘business purposes only’

A company that gives its employees access to its e-mail system can’t limit their use of the system strictly to “business purposes only.” That’s the word from the National Labor Relations Board.

The Board’s decision applies to both unionized and non-unionized workplaces.

However, the ruling is fairly limited, and it doesn’t mean that employees now have an unrestricted right to use company e-mail for humorous banter or idle chit-chat.

The issue arises because federal law allows workers to communicate with each other to address legitimate workplace concerns and grievances. Thus, a company can’t stop employees from using workplace e-mail to address these issues. [Read more…]

Immigration reform raises questions for many employers and workers

President Obama’s recent executive actions on immigration have opened the doors to potentially millions of workers, at the same time as they have made things much more legally complicated for employers. Both sides may now need legal help understanding how these actions affect their rights and responsibilities.

In particular, employers need to be very careful because there are a lot of uncertainties about how to legally treat workers who may be affected by the changes.

First, here’s some quick background: Back in 2012, President Obama put in place a program known as “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” or DACA. This program allowed certain young, undocumented immigrants to receive temporary permission to stay and work in America. [Read more…]

Worker sues for firing despite union agreement

A UPS driver can sue the company in court for sex discrimination after losing her job, even though her union’s collective bargaining agreement also established a grievance procedure for such claims, according to a federal appeals court in New Orleans.

UPS argued that the grievance procedure in the agreement was the employee’s only means of complaining. But the court said the union contract didn’t clearly limit discrimination claims to the grievance process, and therefore the employee could also file a lawsuit in court.

Workers could get reimbursed for use of personal cell phones

A company that required customer service employees to use their personal cell phones for work must reimburse them for the charges they incurred, the California Court of Appeals recently decided.

The employees brought a class-action lawsuit under a state law designed to prevent businesses from passing along their operating expenses to workers.

Even where employees had a cell-phone plan with unlimited minutes, the company still had to pay them a reasonable percentage of their cell phone bills, the court said. [Read more…]

Divorcing employees may be protected from discrimination

Many states have laws that protect employees from being discriminated against based on their “marital status.” A recent lawsuit in New Jersey suggests that these laws may extend to employees who are going through a divorce.

In the New Jersey case, the director of operations for a local rescue squad separated from his wife as a result of an affair he had with a co-worker on the squad. This made things extremely awkward in the workplace, because the man’s mother-in-law and two of his sisters-in-law also happened to work for the squad.

About a month later, the man’s boss fired him, noting that he and his wife were “going to go through an ugly divorce.”

The man sued, and claimed he had been discriminated against because of his marital status. [Read more…]

Are employees entitled to be paid when they’re ‘on call’?

Many jobs require employees to be “on call” when they’re not at work. But are employees entitled to be paid for this time? The answer, as so often happens, is, “It depends.”

A recent lawsuit involved a police officer and emergency medical technician in Maryland who was required to be on-call after her scheduled shift. She filed a lawsuit in federal court, claiming she was entitled to be paid for her on-call hours.

But a judge ruled against her. The judge said that during her on-call time, she wasn’t restricted in any way. She could stay in her home or she could travel around the area, and she could eat, sleep, watch TV, and spend time with her child. In other words, the fact that she was on-call didn’t interfere with her ability to engage in all her normal personal activities. [Read more…]

New rules for pregnant workers

Pregnant employees are entitled to certain rights under a federal law called the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. This law can sometimes be confusing. Recently, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued guidelines designed to clarify how the law applies to workers and employers.

Here are some highlights:

  • The law prohibits discrimination against workers who are pregnant, but it also prohibits discrimination against workers based on their having been pregnant in the past or their possibly becoming pregnant in the future. Among other things, this means that it might be illegal for a business to ask questions of a job candidate designed to probe whether the candidate has children or plans to have children in the future.
  • A business cannot force a worker to take leave just because she is pregnant. A business can force a pregnant worker to take leave only if the pregnancy makes her unable to do her job.
  • Only women can take leave for pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. However, if an employee offers parental leave to women after childbirth, it must also offer parental leave to men on the same terms.
  • An employer has to treat a pregnant employee who is temporarily unable to do her job the same way it would treat a non-pregnant employee who was temporarily unable to do a job. This means that if other employees would be given a temporary light-duty assignment (say, as a result of an on-the-job injury), then similar accommodations must be made for pregnant employees.

Company sued for retaliating against employee three years later

Deborah Malin worked in the IT department of a health care company. When she told her boss that she was going to report a co-worker to the human resources department for sexual harassment, her boss strongly discouraged her. But she reported the co-worker anyway.

Over the next three years, Deborah applied for several promotions, but she didn’t get any of them. Three years later, her department was reorganized, and she was demoted. She filed a lawsuit claiming that her boss had retaliated against her because of her harassment complaint three years earlier.

Her company argued in court that three years is a long time, and it didn’t make any sense to claim that Deborah was still being held back for something that happened literally years in the past. [Read more…]

Companies must stop harassment – even if it’s by non-employees

Everyone knows that a business can be sued if an employee is harassed because of race, sex, religion, etc., and the company doesn’t take appropriate action. But did you know that a business can sometimes be sued even if the harasser doesn’t work for the company?

That’s right – businesses sometimes have a legal duty to protect their workers from harassment by third parties, such as clients, customers, contractors, vendors, and other people they come into contact with in the course of their work.

A company that leases office space, for example, might have to protect against harassment by security guards or maintenance workers hired by the landlord, as well as by caterers and others who are brought in to do work on-site. [Read more…]

Worker fired shortly before her job anniversary can sue

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act applies to workers only if they have been on the job for at least a year. So does that mean a company that doesn’t want to accommodate an employee with pregnancy complications can fire her one day before her first-year anniversary, so she’s not eligible for protection under the law?

No way, according to a federal judge in Minnesota.

The judge sided with a property manager named Ena Wages who was fired after her doctor ordered her not to work more than 20 hours a week. [Read more…]

Employee can use up vacation time before taking family leave

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act allows certain workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a medical problem, for the birth of a child, or to care for an ailing family member.

Usually, businesses want to minimize the time that an employee is away from work. So a lot of companies have a policy that requires employees to use up their accrued paid vacation or sick time as part of their 12 weeks of leave.

Suppose an employee has two weeks of vacation, and wants to take off 12 weeks to care for a sick relative. A business that has such a policy could require that the employee take the vacation as part of the leave. The employee would be paid for two of the 12 weeks of leave, but would have no accrued vacation time left when he or she returned to work. [Read more…]

Training and orientation may have to be ‘on the clock’

In general, hourly workers are paid only for time they actually spend performing their job duties. But there are exceptions. For example, courts have recently ruled that workers should also be paid for time they spend putting on and taking off safety equipment, and even for time they spend showering before leaving the premises if they have been working with hazardous materials.

And according to a federal judge in Chicago, training and orientation for new hourly hires who haven’t started work yet should be considered paid time as well.

In that case, nearly 10,000 people hired to work as security guards for Securitas Security Services USA were forced to attend an unpaid orientation and training session before starting their employment. [Read more…]

Protections for disabled workers are expanding

Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, workers who are otherwise qualified for a position but who have a disability must be given “reasonable accommodations” that enable them to do the job.

In other words, if a worker has the skills, training and aptitude to do a job, but needs some modifications – such as a flexible schedule, a more handicap-accessible workplace, or minor alterations to job duties – the employer has to allow them, as long as they don’t overly burden the business.

For example, Jane Harris worked as a resale steel buyer for Ford Motor Company. Her job required telephone and computer contact with co-workers, and she received excellent performance reviews. However, she also suffered from a severe case of irritable bowel syndrome, which was so bad that she often couldn’t drive to work or get up from her desk without soiling herself. [Read more…]

Workers’ ‘right to complain’ is expanded by the U.S. government

Recently, a car salesman in Arizona met with the owner of the dealership and a couple of managers to complain about his wages, commissions and break times. During the discussion, the owner became frustrated and told the salesman that if he didn’t like things the way they were, he was free to seek employment elsewhere.

The salesman flew off the handle, and unleashed a torrent of obscenities at his boss. Not surprisingly, he was fired.

End of story, right? Not quite. Even though the salesman didn’t belong to a union, he complained to the National Labor Relations Board. And the Board decided that he had been wrongfully fired, and ordered the dealership to reinstate him with full back pay.

How could this be? [Read more…]