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Have an attorney review your arbitration agreement

If you’re like a lot of employers, you have incorporated arbitration agreements into your hiring process because you like the efficiency they bring when it comes to resolving disputes with your workers. Arbitration is a much cheaper and faster process than going to court, and it’s certainly less unpredictable. But a decision last summer from the National Labor Relations Board suggests that it might be a good idea to have an employment lawyer look over your

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Employer unaware of medical condition couldn’t be sued

A worker who took opioids for his chronic pain couldn’t bring a disability discrimination suit against his employer after being terminated by directors who were allegedly unaware of his medical condition, a federal judge in Rhode Island recently ruled. Employee David Saad went to work as an assistant marketing manager for a tech company and was soon placed on a “performance plan” with several specific issues that he needed to address. Within a couple of months,

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‘Long-shift’ workers could recover for unpaid ‘sleep time’

If you’re an employee who works long shifts (for example, seven days on and seven days off, in which you’re technically always on duty), or if you’re an employer with such workers, it’s important to know that sleep time must be compensated. Federal regulations allow for certain arrangements under which sleep time is unpaid, but the regulations can be complicated, which is why employers need to run their policies by an employment attorney to make sure

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Worker’s comp bar not always impossible barrier

If your employee is hurt at work, he or she typically can’t bring a personal injury suit against your company in court. That’s because of the “worker’s comp bar.” In other words, the employee needs to file a claim in the worker’s compensation system, where the payments obtained may be less than the damages that might have been recovered from a jury or in a settlement. But don’t assume you’re safe from all suits for workplace

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Documenting performance issues can save employers headaches

One of the biggest traps an employer can fall into is failure to document employee performance issues. If an employee who has been demoted, disciplined or fired decides to sue you, claiming that you were motivated by impermissible prejudice, or that you acted in retaliation for something they did that is protected by the law, it will be very difficult to defend yourself without a solid, consistent record of all the legitimate problems the employee caused.

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Be sure to have ‘the talk’ with your kids before they leave home

When children turn 18 they are adults, regardless of how mature they actually are. As parents, you’re no longer entitled to access their medical records or make legal decisions for them without their permission. It’s unlikely they will have the real-world experience at that age to handle all medical and financial decisions on their own. This can feel scary, especially if they are leaving home to go to college or to work. It might feel scary

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‘Do it yourself’ divorce is full of risk

“Do-it-yourself” divorce apps and programs for preparing and processing forms have become more popular. While DIY divorce may turn out fine in some cases, it’s full of risk. If your divorce is simple (because it doesn’t involve kids, neither side is seeking alimony or support and you basically agree on how to split property) DIY divorce apps and tools may be OK. It’s still probably not a great idea, since the products cannot predict problems. For

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Wife can’t be forced to sell off property to pay large distribution to husband

A family court judge could not require a wife to liquidate her own separate property in order to pay a large distributive award to her husband, the North Carolina Supreme Court recently decided. The couple, Andrea and William Crowell, married in 1998 and divorced in 2015. Before they married, William started several small businesses that he claimed as his own separate property. Andrea claimed she had in interest in them as marital property. The court found

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Transfer assets to trusts with extreme caution (if at all)

If there’s one thing family courts hate, it’s a spouse who plays dirty by trying to hide assets in the hopes of avoiding having to split them as part of the marital estate. Doing so can bring stiff consequences, such as having to cede a bigger share of marital property, or getting hit with a judgment of contempt, or even criminal fraud charges (for securing property under false pretenses) or perjury charges (you signed your divorce

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Divorce and bankruptcy: which should I file first?

As we all know, life often doesn’t go as planned. Nothing illustrates this more than divorce. Bankruptcy is similar. You made financial plans, but for whatever reason your debts got out of control and you realized you might need a court to protect you from creditors and grant you a fresh start. Money problems and marital problems often go hand-in-hand, so it’s no surprise that divorcing spouses may also be considering filing for bankruptcy. Which should

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