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Employment Contracts

What’s the best way to legally limit the length of leaves of absences?


Q. How do we handle an employee who is on an indefinite leave of absence and does not know when he will be able to return to work?

Rely on union contract terms when working out disability accommodations


Dealing with a labor union has its headaches, but figuring out how to deal with disability accommodations isn’t one of them. The fact is, having a collective-bargaining contract in place can make that easier.

Maritime arbitration agreements enforceable, trump California law


The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that cruise lines and the unions who negotiate labor contracts on behalf of the “seamen” who work on cruise ships can agree that all disputes go to arbitration, and that employment contracts that include arbitration clauses are enforceable.

Planned state furloughs tied up in union lawsuit


Faced with California’s ongoing budget crisis, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenneger announced that all state workers must take two unpaid days off every month beginning in February. The austerity measure didn’t sit very well with two labor unions …

Review contract language before changing benefits


If your organization has a collective-bargaining agreement with a union, you must make sure you check with counsel before you make any changes to benefits. In some cases, promises made in past contracts—such as a promise to provide retiree health benefits—may be a binding, vested promise that cannot be undone.

Prepare to make clear-cut case before firing public employee working on contract


Ohio public school employees who work under contracts for a set term have the right to keep working until the contract runs out, absent certain “extraordinary circumstances.” But school districts that show exactly why an employee should be fired … are on solid ground when it comes to a later lawsuit.

A matter of trust: 4 ways to defend against employee disloyalty


North Carolina, like many states, recognizes that employees owe a certain level of duty to their employers. However, the North Carolina Supreme Court has specifically rejected any independent liability for breaching such duty.

Must we pay travel costs when light duty means a temporarily longer commute?


Q. One of our employees who normally reports to another facility has been out on workers’ comp and is now doing light duty in the office. Getting here adds an extra hour to his commute. I know we don’t have to pay for his commuting time, but what about his travel expenses?

Are mandatory arbitration agreements legal?


Q. We require that our employees to agree to resolve all disputes by binding arbitration, rather than going to court. I’ve heard some government agencies have ruled those kinds of arbitration policies illegal. I don’t think that could be right, but thought I better check.

Consider all possible costs when determining whether arbitration will save you money


When it comes to reducing the time and expense of litigation, be careful what you wish for. Attorneys often advise employers to consider adopting arbitration clauses to settle employment disputes. With arbitration, no jury is involved; the case stays out of court; there’s no bad publicity; and it may be cheaper—or maybe not.