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New law makes it easier to sue for wage discrimination

The first law signed by President Obama will make it easier to sue an employer for wage discrimination. The law will restart the statute of limitations for a pay bias claim with each new paycheck that is issued. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is named after Lilly Ledbetter, who worked as a plant manager for Goodyear Tire but realized only after some years had passed that she was getting paid less than her male counterparts.

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Employers spy on workers suspected of lying about family leave

Some employers are hiring private investigators to spy on workers and find out if they are abusing their time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act. There has been an increase recently in requests for time off under the Act, and a number of employers suspect that some workers are taking time off without a valid reason. Two federal courts have sided with employers in these cases.

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Worker who answered questions about harassment can sue for harassment

A worker who claims she was retaliated against after participating in an internal sex harassment inquiry about a co-worker can sue her employer for sex harassment, the U.S. Supreme Court recently decided. The employee was interviewed as part of the company’s investigation of allegations that a company director had committed sexual harassment. During the interview, the employee described incidents of egregious harassment against her and other employees. The director was verbally reprimanded but not terminated. The

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Independent contractor can sue for injury on the job

An independent contractor can sue for injuries on the job – even though the workers’ compensation law generally bars lawsuits for workplace injuries, an appeals court in California has decided. The worker was hired by a subcontractor to install a canopy at a gas station. He fell into a hole at the construction site and was injured.  He sued the general contractor and the subcontractor. The defendants argued that the suit should be thrown out because

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Grooming policy for employees may be illegal

Can an employer adopt a grooming policy that requires male workers who have contact with customers to be clean-shaven and have trimmed hair? Maybe … but this might amount to religious discrimination, according to a Massachusetts Supreme Court decision. The worker in this case was a technician at a Jiffy Lube service station. He was a Rastafarian and his religion did not permit him to shave or cut his hair. The company told him that if

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Employees can be forced to forfeit their stock

A company can force departing employees to forfeit their stock in the company in certain circumstances, according to the Connecticut Supreme Court. The company allowed employees to elect to receive restricted stock in lieu of bonuses or through voluntary payroll deductions. However, employees who quit or were fired for cause were required to forfeit the stock as well as the right to the amounts paid for the stock. The employees in this case argued that the

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Company didn’t have to give 60 days’ notice of layoffs

A company didn’t have to give 60 days’ notice of layoffs where it was forced to shut down operations due to the sudden loss of a major customer, according to a recent federal court ruling.  Normally, under the federal “WARN Act,” companies with 100 or more workers must provide 60 days’ notice of a plant closing or a mass layoff.  However, there is an exception for “unforeseeable business circumstances.”  The company’s financing problems resulted in its

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New family and medical leave rules go into effect

New rules apply to workers requesting time off under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA. Generally, FMLA allows workers to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave per year due to a serious health condition, a family member’s serious health condition, or a birth or adoption. The Act also allows leave due to a relative’s military deployment. Employees are eligible in most cases if they have worked at least 12 months for

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Credit card companies make it harder to get a mortgage

Some people are finding it harder to get a mortgage these days … because of their credit card company. Why? Because credit card companies have reacted to the recent economic downturn by reducing many cardholders’ credit limits and cancelling inactive cards. The companies’ goal is to reduce the risk of non-payment. The problem is that whether you can get a mortgage – or how good the terms of that mortgage are – depends to a great

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You might be paying too much in property taxes

Many people are paying too much in property taxes, and may be eligible for a reduction or a refund. Property taxes are calculated by taking the assessed value of your home and multiplying it by the local property tax rate. But since home prices in so many areas have decreased recently, it’s possible that the assessed value of your home is now larger than its actual value – in which case you might be entitled to

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