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Employment Law Articles

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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U.S. Supreme Court to discrimination defendants: ‘Don’t delay’

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, employees can take employers to court for discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. But the law requires that an employee first file a charge with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 180 days of the supposed violation (300 days if a state or local agency is investigating under state or local law). Only after receiving EEOC clearance can an employee sue the employer

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Parental leave discrimination can cost you

A recent class-action suit highlights the importance of ensuring that your parental leave policies do not discriminate against fathers. In the case, a male bank employee asked for 16 weeks of parental leave after his child was born. The bank’s parental leave policy allotted that amount to “primary caregivers,” but allowed only two weeks for “nonprimary caregivers.” The bank allegedly told the employee that, under the policy, birth mothers were considered the primary caregivers unless he

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Court recognizes ‘hostile work environment’ claims under ADA

A “hostile work environment” claim is one in which an employee claims an employer maintained a workplace so unbearable due to discriminatory actions of coworkers or supervisors that it was impossible for the employee to do his job. Courts have long held that under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, employers can be held accountable for harassment and discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin that create a hostile work environment. A

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Noncompetes for low-paid workers? Not so fast …

Loss of a good worker means the hassle of hiring a replacement, training the new person and getting other workers to pick up the slack in the meantime. It’s even worse if the departing employee had specialized skills, intimate knowledge of your operations and information such as customer lists or trade secrets that you want to keep confidential. That’s why many employers have workers sign noncompetition (or “noncompete”) and nondisclosure agreements, contracts under which workers promise

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Nursing mother claims on the rise

The case of Autumn Lampkins should serve as a warning to employers to be mindful of the needs of nursing mothers. Lampkins, an assistant manager of a KFC in Delaware, gave birth to a son and needed to pump breast milk. At first, her employer told her to use the restaurant’s single-stall bathroom. After a while, the employer became fed up with the bathroom being occupied, so Lampkins allegedly was made to express milk in the

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