EMPLOYMENT LAW

Understand basics of complying with GINA genetic information law

08/21/2014
The Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act, enacted in 2008, prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of their genetic information. It also bans harassing employees based on their genetic information and protects employees from retaliation for exercising their GINA rights.

In wake of NLRB decision, review independent contractor agreements

08/20/2014
Plenty of employers were concerned when the NLRB determined last month that McDonald’s Corp. will be considered a joint employer along with its franchisees in several upcoming unfair labor practices cases.

Pregnancy unnecessary for pregnancy bias suit

08/19/2014
A woman doesn’t have to be pregnant to sue for discrimination under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). Wait, what?

Are we courting trouble by denying accommodations to pregnant employees?

08/18/2014
Q. Since pregnancy does not qualify as a disability under the ADA, our company denies all special accommodation requests granted by otherwise healthy employees who are pregnant. Does this policy make us vulnerable to a lawsuit?

Does our automatic termination policy expose us to liability for ADA violations?

08/18/2014
Q. Our company has a leave-of-absence policy that states that any employee on leave longer than 12 months will be terminated. Our company’s leadership insists on this policy out of what they call business necessity. Are we opening ourselves up to risk?

Must we pay employees for unauthorized overtime when they check their messages?

08/18/2014
Q. We frequently have employees turn in time sheets with unapproved overtime—time they spend checking emails and voice mails. Do we have to pay em­­­­ployees for this time even though we have a workplace policy that prohibits unapproved overtime work?

LGBT added as protected class for federal contractors

08/18/2014
In a long-anticipated move, President Obama on July 21 amended Executive Order 11246 to prohibit discrimination by federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The DOL has until late October to develop regulations implementing the order.

NLRB rules McDonald's liable for franchisee's actions

08/18/2014
The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that McDonald’s Corp. may be liable for the actions of individual McDonald’s franchisees.

Kluwe punts on suing Vikings

08/18/2014
Former Minnesota Viking punter Chris Kluwe has decided to keep talking to team officials rather than file a $10 million lawsuit.

Involve attorney when honcho is alleged harasser

08/18/2014
Here’s a tricky situation that requires courage: An employee complains that a senior executive may be sexually harassing a subordinate. The best approach may be to contact your employer’s attorney for advice.

Warn supervisors against commenting on FMLA use

08/18/2014
Having employees out on FMLA leave is a hassle. But even worse trouble is certain if bosses make a big deal out of routine FMLA leave re­­quests.

OK to terminate after FMLA as long as you document business-related rationale

08/18/2014

Employers sometimes think it’s too dangerous to fire a worker who has recently returned from FMLA leave. But don’t let fear of a lawsuit keep you from making a reasonable and necessary business decision. Just make sure the employee’s use of FMLA leave didn’t motivate the discharge.

Manager hires only members of same class? Don't compound problems by firing them all

08/18/2014
In employment law, the adage that two wrongs don’t make a right is true. Don’t make the mistake an em­­ployer recently made when a super­­visor apparently favored members of his religion in hiring. It terminated them without providing a legitimate, performance-related reason.

One saving grace helped defeat bias lawsuit: Employee never applied for the job

08/18/2014
A court has concluded that em­­ployees looking for promotions or transfers have to make reasonable efforts to apply for a job before they can sue. That’s true even if they were discouraged from applying—unless it was obvious that applying would be futile and therefore ­pointless.

Beware retaliation after workers' comp claim

08/18/2014

Under Minnesota’s workers’ compensation laws, employees who file workers’ comp claims are protected from retaliation. The law says employers can’t punish employees for seeking benefits. But some employers have been trying to preempt so-called protected activity when an em­­ployee is injured at work.

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