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Employment Law

ADA: If employee’s preferred accommodation won’t work, you must explore alternatives

Here’s a reminder to make sure you pay more than lip service to following the ADA and its requirement to reasonably accommodate disabled applicants who are qualified to perform their jobs. As one employer recently learned, it’s not enough to become known as a welcoming place for disabled workers. You must follow through whenever a disabled employee requests a reasonable accommodation.

This is how you respond to a group of employees organizing and forming a labor union

How did Costco respond to a recent employee vote to unionize? Did it fire the organizers? Cut their hours? Trash-talk the union and its supporters? How about none of the above?

Accommodating Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in the workplace

If you have a worker who reveals a dementia diagnosis and requests reasonable accommodations, follow your usual ADA accommodations process. Determine if the employee is disabled and discuss possible accommodations using the ADA’s interactive process.

Child-labor violations cost $3.8 million, plus lost sales of compromised ‘hot goods’

One of the U.S. Department of Labor’s enforcement priorities is eliminating the illegal use of child labor. In 2023, the DOL stepped up enforcement, levying hefty fines.

NLRB takes on SpaceX in retaliation case

The National Labor Relations Board continues to exercise its power to regulate workplace conduct while enforcing the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRB just told SpaceX that it acted illegally when it fired eight employees for raising sexual harassment concerns. The case shows that increasingly, employees feel emboldened to speak out against what they perceive as management and CEO behavior that violates evolving workplace expectations of how business is supposed to run.

Effective March 11, new ‘independent contractor’ rule favors classifying workers as employees

The Department of Labor has issued a new final rule that will make it harder for employers to classify workers as independent contractors, not employees. The rule, Employee or Independent Contractor Classification Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, will take effect March 11. That’s when employers must begin applying what the DOL calls an “economic realities test” to determine if someone is truly a contractor or if he or she should be classified as an employee.

A neat trick, if you can do it: Countersuing employees who bring an FLSA lawsuit to make them foot the bill

This is the first case we’ve encountered where an employer sued employees for money related to its own violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Cost of a one-sided investigation: $15 million

Ignoring a complaint or summarily dismissing it almost guarantees you’ll lose a lawsuit if the complaining employee decides to sue. But how you conduct that investigation is crucial. Lean too heavily towards supporting the alleged victim, and the alleged perpetrator may be the one who sues you.

Review compensation practices to identify potential sources of pay inequity

Your employees probably no longer consider it taboo to discuss salaries and benefits with their co-workers and friends. That means they can easily tell how your compensation system compares with that of other employers. It also means they can easily spot inequities in how you pay employees up and down your org chart. If they determine that wage gaps exist, don’t be surprised if they decide to sue you for discrimination.

Employers beware: Supreme Court could make it easier to sue for discrimination

The U.S. Supreme Court recently held oral arguments in an employment law case that may make it much easier for employees to sue their employers. If a majority of the justices agree with an employee who claims her transfer was motivated by her employer’s discriminatory policies, the decision may also open the way for more lawsuits contesting employers’ diversity, equity and inclusion programs.