EMPLOYMENT LAW

The hot lawsuits of 2014: Discrimination, harassment

10/01/2014
A survey asked: “In which of the following areas has your organization seen the most employee lawsuits or class action over the past year?”

Court: Don't send FMLA notices via snail mail

09/30/2014
Typically, courts have recognized the “mailbox rule,” in which documents sent by regular postal mail are assumed to have reached the designated person. But a federal appeals court ruling is making employers question whether sending FMLA notices via regular mail is still acceptable.

Onboarding: How to prevent confidentiality breaches by new hires

09/29/2014
Although most employers are sensitive to the need to protect their own company’s confidential information, they may not be as attuned as they should be to the other side of the coin.

Is an employee entitled to take FMLA leave to care for her hospitalized adult child?

09/26/2014
Q. Would FMLA leave apply to an employee who requests leave time to care for her daughter who is over age 21 and married? The daughter’s illness required hospitalization, but her husband is overseas on active duty with the military.

Can we--should we--try to accommodate employee's traffic anxiety?

09/26/2014

Q. One of our employees claims that traffic gives her anxiety and wants to alter her work schedule to avoid driving during peak travel times. It wouldn’t be a big deal but we’re afraid that if we do it for her, we will start to receive similar claims from other workers who have similar commutes. Do we have to accommodate her?

Be prepared when employees become whistle-blowers

09/26/2014
Legislators are creating new protections for those individuals who report vio­lations to regulatory agencies.

Even courts can wind up in the EEOC's cross hairs

09/26/2014
The Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas faces an EEOC age dis­crimination lawsuit after it dismissed a 70-year-old employee.

Boss's stupid sexist comment may spur lawsuit

09/26/2014
Even a single comment can be enough to keep a sex discrimination case going—especially if the commentator happens to be a supervisor with firing authority.

Warn supervisors against comments on military service

09/26/2014
Here’s something to include in supervisory training sessions: Warn that negative comments about military service may put the employer on the defensive in the event the employee is terminated.

Inpatient treatment for alcoholism enough to prove disability to court

09/26/2014
Workers alleging disability discrimination generally have to show that they have a condition that substantially limits a major life function. But they don’t necessarily have to drag a doctor into court. They can prove a condition such as alcoholism by showing that they underwent inpatient treatment and suffered withdrawal symptoms while there.

Want to gauge readiness to return to work? Provide list of essential job functions

09/26/2014

Employees who take protected FMLA leave are only entitled to return to their jobs after leave if they are cleared to perform that job. Employers that want a specific fitness-for-duty certification must ask for more than just the certification. They also have to provide the employee with a list of the job’s essential functions for the doctor to use when assessing fitness for duty.

Complaining about unfairness isn't protected

09/26/2014
Life can be unfair. When an em­­ployee complains about unfairness at work, make sure you document the complaint and make some notes on exactly what she said. If you can show she never mentioned sex, race, age or some other protected characteristic as the underlying reason for the “unfair” treatment she complained about, she hasn’t engaged in “protected activity” and can’t bring a retaliation claim against her employer.

When unpaid 'gap time' doesn't violate FLSA

09/26/2014
With collective-action wage-and-hour claims on the rise, employers worry that they may be burned by unpaid work they didn’t even know employees were performing. But a recent appeals court decision provides a rare piece of good news: As long as employees haven’t worked more than 40 hours in any given workweek, so-called “gap time” between hours paid and hours worked doesn’t always mean liability.

House hearings explore how to rein in 'deeply flawed' EEOC

09/26/2014
The House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections has begun hearings to explore legislation that would “increase accountability” at the EEOC, an agency that “has spent a great deal of time and resources advancing a deeply flawed enforcement and regulatory agenda,” according to subcommittee Chair Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich.

Social media & HR: Know your state privacy law

09/25/2014
The Seyfarth Shaw law firm has created a free report, the Social Media Privacy Legislation Desktop Ref­­er­­ence, that explains each current state law concerning social media and employees' rights to its use.
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