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Employment Law

In addition to applicants and staff, your customers have ADA rights, too

Employers tend to focus on accommodating disabled applicants and employees, but forget about accommodating disabled customers. They may not worry about accessibility unless a disabled applicant or employee asks for accommodations. That can be a mistake.

Prepare for possibility of a lawsuit by documenting every HR decision you make

You can never know which unhappy employee is going to sue you, or for what reason. That’s why it’s so important to document every HR decision and action. The more details you can include in your records, the better off you will be if an employee decides to sue.

Have attorney draft arbitration agreement

If you’re interested in using arbitration as an alternative to costly and drawn-out litigation, you may be tempted to use a general, restrictive arbitration agreement for all states in which you have operations. That can be a big mistake if you also have employees in California.

Neither ADA nor FMLA require indefinite leave

Disabled workers with serious health conditions have other time-off options once FMLA leave expires. But there is no requirement for employers to provide continuous, indefinite leave based on the mere hope that the worker will soon be able to return to work.

Asking for 3rd medical opinion gets a lawsuit in reply

Brock Services, a Houston maintenance company, faces an EEOC lawsuit after it terminated a scaffolding team leader due to his impaired vision.

Court: 5 weeks off could be reasonable accommodation

Not every disabled employee can return to work as soon as he’s used up all available leave. Firing him before even considering extra time off as a reasonable accommodation could trigger a failure-to-accommodate lawsuit.

Court: Merely being transferred to a new location isn’t enough to support a lawsuit

Employers have the right to manage their workplaces. That includes moving personnel where the employer needs coverage. Such a transfer, under similar conditions and with the same pay and benefits, isn’t an adverse employment action.

Nip harassing speech in the bud to protect against hostile work environment liability

Not every sexual comment at work is enough to create a hostile environment. If, for example, the target of harassing speech complains and the employer steps up to stop further comments, there are no grounds for a lawsuit. Here’s how that played out in a recent case.

Employee complaint about intimidation is your call to action: Investigate immediately!

Employers are making a mistake if they don’t immediately take action when a worker complains about intimidation and implied threats. While all complaints should be taken seriously, some require more immediate action and solutions.

Beware snarky anti-nationality comments

When supervisors make snide comments about an employee’s ethnicity and then demote or otherwise change that employee’s working conditions, those comments may be considered evidence of bias.