Employment Law Articles

Supervisor’s remark leads to age bias claim

A recent Michigan case shows that even when an employee may have been fired for legitimate performance-based reasons, a lone stray remark suggesting improper motives could land you in court. In that case, Kenneth Lowe, a 60-year-old manager at a molding plant, was fired after 40 years with his company, supposedly for performance and behavior reasons and because his position was no longer necessary. According to the employer, a new general manager at the plant quickly

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Employer that fired worker for using CBD didn’t violate ADA

A municipal employee who used cannabidiol (CBD) for anxiety could not bring a disability bias claim against her employer for firing her after she failed a drug test, a federal trial judge recently decided. The employee, Mae Hamric, worked as a cultural arts program specialist for the Murfreesboro, Tenn., parks and rec department. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2011 but did not disclose that to the city when it hired her. However she later

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Federal court ruling on ‘joint employers’ creates uncertainty

A recent ruling by a federal court judge in New York expanding the definition of a “joint employer” may put employers who use staffing agencies at greater risk of wage-and-hour liability. The Department of Labor’s recent “final rule” had changed the standard for joint employment under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act for the first time in 60 years. Previously, in determining if a business was a “joint employer” of another company’s workers and therefore jointly

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Walmart settles claim over ‘physical ability tests’

A recent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission action against Walmart illustrates the dangers of hiring assessments that could be seen as discriminatory, particularly when they impact men and women differently. In this case, Walmart imposed a “physical ability test” on people seeking jobs at its 44 regional grocery distribution centers. Employees at the center take cases of grocery items from shelves and stack them onto pallets, which are then wrapped and loaded on to trucks to be

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Discrimination claims in Covid-19 era: a potential trap for employers?

The Covid-19 pandemic has created a lot of thorny issues for employers, such as navigating wage-and-hour laws with employees working from home, workplace safety regulations for those still at the office and the overall complexity of operating as normally as possible in an abnormal world. Additionally, there’s the reality that many businesses are struggling to stay afloat. While nobody likes to let employees go who haven’t done anything wrong, staying in business in many cases may

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‘Joint employer’ can create wage-and-hour issues

If your company relies on workers provided by a different entity, it is a good idea to have an attorney vet the arrangement. That’s because if that company is violating federal or state wage and overtime laws, you could find yourself on the hook for those violations as a “joint employer.” The key element in determining if you’re an employer is whether you exercise “direct or indirect control” over the worker’s work. A recent Massachusetts case

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Could ‘pre-selecting’ a job candidate be evidence of bias?

The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects workers over age 40 from negative employment actions, such as being turned down for a job, fired, passed over for a promotion,  or reassigned based on age. Many states have similar laws. A pair of recent cases sheds some light on how they work. The first case, from Michigan, involved Gregory Stokes, a longtime administrator for the Detroit Public Schools who had risen to the position of

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Employer pays for injuries worker suffers at retreat

Employers who hold offsite recreational retreats for their workers, particularly retreats involving alcohol, need to be very vigilant about safety or they might end up paying more than they planned. For example, in a Missouri case the owner of a fiberoptic cable company held a retreat for workers at a Lake of the Ozarks resort, where he rented a pontoon boat for employees to enjoy. The boss spent part of the day on the lake with

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Reopening presents traps for employers

The coronavirus pandemic has created an unpredictable landscape for employers. As of right now states are in various stages of their phased reopening plans and many employers have either brought employees back to the physical workplace or are planning to do so. Wherever you currently find yourself, it is critically important to meet with an employment attorney to identify potential hazards that might result in a lawsuit. Allegations of discrimination are possibly the biggest trap. When

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Will Medicare cover a coronavirus vaccine?

With the coronavirus pandemic responsible for nearly 200,000 deaths and disrupting life across the United States, likely the only way for the country to return to normal is an effective vaccine. When a vaccine is available, Medicare will cover the cost. Medicare covers vaccines in a variety of ways, depending on the vaccine. It may be through Medicare Part B, Medicare Part D, or a Medicare Advantage plan if you are enrolled in one. Part B

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