Employment Law Articles

Employer can’t shorten statute of limitations for bias suits

A “statute of limitations” is a law that sets a deadline for filing a lawsuit. For example, if you’re bringing a personal injury case, depending on your state, you have a certain number of years after the date of the incident to bring your case. A lot of employers try to guard against the risk of lawsuits by having their workers sign contracts under which, should they decide to try and bring the employer to court

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‘Hairstyle discrimination’ potential trap for employers

Every employer wants their workers to represent the company well. This often means requiring that they maintain a “professional look.” And each employer has his or her own idea of what constitutes “neat, clean and professional.” But employers’ notions of what constitutes an appropriate “look” for the workplace can also be based on implicit biases embedded in their own culture, which is often the majority culture, and may be seen as a proxy for discrimination. Nowhere

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‘Service charges’ can create problems for employers

State and federal wage and hour laws allow employers to pay a sub-minimum wage (commonly known as a “tip credit”) to service workers, such as servers, bartenders, bellhops and parking valets, but only if those workers are spending most of their time on tip-generating work and making enough in tips to bring them over the minimum wage. Violation of these laws can result in lawsuits and fines. Some employers may try to make things more efficient

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Employer’s mistaken belief leads to discrimination claim

Federal law and most states forbid employers from discriminating against workers based on disability, meaning it’s illegal to fire, demote or refuse to hire someone because of their disability if they can do the job with reasonable accommodations. Generally, a worker claiming disability discrimination needs to show “animus.” That means they need to show an employer’s decision was based on prejudicial attitudes or ill will towards people with disabilities. But a recent California case should serve

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New federal overtime rules take effect

As an employer, you should know that the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires workers to be paid a federal minimum wage and that wage workers and certain “non-exempt” salaried workers who work more than 40 hours in a week receive overtime pay at one and a half times their normal rate for each extra hour. During the Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Labor proposed new regulations to double the minimum salary level under

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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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