Employment Law Articles

‘Joint employer’ can create wage-and-hour issues

If your company relies on workers provided by a different entity, it is a good idea to have an attorney vet the arrangement. That’s because if that company is violating federal or state wage and overtime laws, you could find yourself on the hook for those violations as a “joint employer.” The key element in determining if you’re an employer is whether you exercise “direct or indirect control” over the worker’s work. A recent Massachusetts case

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Could ‘pre-selecting’ a job candidate be evidence of bias?

The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects workers over age 40 from negative employment actions, such as being turned down for a job, fired, passed over for a promotion,  or reassigned based on age. Many states have similar laws. A pair of recent cases sheds some light on how they work. The first case, from Michigan, involved Gregory Stokes, a longtime administrator for the Detroit Public Schools who had risen to the position of

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Employer pays for injuries worker suffers at retreat

Employers who hold offsite recreational retreats for their workers, particularly retreats involving alcohol, need to be very vigilant about safety or they might end up paying more than they planned. For example, in a Missouri case the owner of a fiberoptic cable company held a retreat for workers at a Lake of the Ozarks resort, where he rented a pontoon boat for employees to enjoy. The boss spent part of the day on the lake with

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Reopening presents traps for employers

The coronavirus pandemic has created an unpredictable landscape for employers. As of right now states are in various stages of their phased reopening plans and many employers have either brought employees back to the physical workplace or are planning to do so. Wherever you currently find yourself, it is critically important to meet with an employment attorney to identify potential hazards that might result in a lawsuit. Allegations of discrimination are possibly the biggest trap. When

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Will Medicare cover a coronavirus vaccine?

With the coronavirus pandemic responsible for nearly 200,000 deaths and disrupting life across the United States, likely the only way for the country to return to normal is an effective vaccine. When a vaccine is available, Medicare will cover the cost. Medicare covers vaccines in a variety of ways, depending on the vaccine. It may be through Medicare Part B, Medicare Part D, or a Medicare Advantage plan if you are enrolled in one. Part B

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Remember to consider transfers as an ADA accommodation

Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act an employer cannot fire, demote, refuse to hire or take other negative actions against a worker based on his or her disability. Additionally, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to enable otherwise qualified employees to do their job. A recent decision by a federal appeals court suggests that employers, in seeking to reasonably accommodate a worker with a disability, must look beyond simply modifying the worker’s current position

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‘Fair Chance Act’ to take effect next December

If, like a lot of businesses, your company does contract work for the federal government, you should be aware of the Fair Chance Act, a new federal law scheduled to take effect in December 2021 that bars the federal government and federal contractors from asking job applicants about their criminal history early on the hiring process. This new measure follows a trend of cities and states passing “ban the box” laws that prevent employers from using

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Investigate before taking action over alleged misdeeds

Employers must walk a fine line when they suspect an employee is engaging in misdeeds. On one hand, if they don’t act quickly and forcefully they could risk liability for harm to co-workers or customers. But at the same time, acting too quickly or forcefully poses the risk of liability for defamation, as recent cases illustrate. For example, a graphics company in Charleston, S.C., recently agreed to pay a significant settlement to former employee George Walton,

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Showing of ‘sex-based animus’ enough for bias claim

Under the federal Equal Pay Act, employers who pay unequal wages to men and women performing jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar conditions in the same organization face legal liability. To succeed, an aggrieved employee must provide “comparator evidence”: specific evidence that she is being paid less than a specific coworker for equal work. This can be a tough hurdle for a plaintiff to clear. But a recent decision from a

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Employees working from home? There are issues to consider

There is no employer in this country whose operations were not dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak this spring. While the coronavirus disrupted the workplace in countless ways, one of the biggest sudden adjustments was the massive increase in employees working remotely from home. For some employers, this was nothing new. For other employers, however, this probably has been a logistical adventure. Either way, having employees working from home raises a host of legal implications. That

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