Employment Law Articles

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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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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