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Employment Law

Fear of snakes doesn’t qualify as a disability

02/01/2001
After a hospital switchboard operator heard that a snake had been seen in her workplace, she became hysterical and took leave for several months. When she returned, she was transferred to …

Keep your word: Reversing oral job offer can result in fraud claim

02/01/2001
Charles Cohen says he walked out of a job interview with an oral offer for a new job with an e-business service provider, a company that did work for his current …

High Court to review cap on damages

02/01/2001
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that could hold down awards in workplace discrimination cases. At issue is whether a $300,000 cap on compensatory damages that …

Legality of arbitration depends where you are

02/01/2001
Before you require employees to arbitrate claims against you, find out whether it will stand up in court. A federal court in California recently barred a law firm from requiring …

How to respond when unions come a knockin’

02/01/2001
No union, no problem. Right? Not really. Even if your company isn’t unionized now, you can’t afford to be oblivious. Just ask Amazon.com. In the thick of the holiday shopping …

State Law Varies on When Clock Tolls for Overtime

02/01/2001

Q. What’s the definition of a standard workweek? One of our employees claims that overtime is defined as anything over eight hours per workday. Is he correct? —P.F., Minnesota

Body Odor: Clear the Air Over Staff Dress Code

02/01/2001

Q. In the December 2000 issue, you discussed the topic of employees with body odor. We also have a staff member with body odor so bad that other staff members have complained and even threatened to leave the agency. The employee has been disciplined several times and required to go home without pay until she agrees to comply with the dress code. At what point can we legally terminate her? —A.S., Michigan

New schedule legal, barring contract or illegal reason

02/01/2001

Q. Our company of 15 employees manufactures labels in California. We have an employee whom we want to move from the day shift to the swing shift. Although this employee has the most seniority, he has the least experience with the presses we run during the day. When we told the employee of our plans, he said that moving him would be illegal. Is he correct? We are worried that if we move him and he quits, it won’t be the last time that we hear from him. —T.R., California

Employees online? Take a byte out of your liability

12/01/2000
No employer wants to explain to a court why jokes like “Why beer is better than women” are bouncing around the company e-mail system. But that’s the position more companies are …

Gambling on who may sue is a losing bet

12/01/2000
When racial tensions among third-shift employees at a Wal-Mart boiled over, Gail Robinson reported it to her managers several times. African-American co-workers called her “white bitch,” shoved and threatened her …