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Employment Law

Workers Can Limit Payments to Union


Q. We recently lost a union election, 6-3. What can employees who did not want any part of the union do now? Is there any way for them to get out of this? —K.F., Pennsylvania

Limit Employees’ Use of Phone While Driving


Q. The animal care officers who work for us spend 80 percent of their time driving and responding to rescue calls via cell phone. Requiring them to pull off the road while talking on their phones wouldn’t work. Is there another way to limit our liability? —D.R., Florida

Protect disabled staff from harassment

Starting today, plan to revise your anti-harassment policies and instruct your staff that harassment based on a worker’s disability is against the law. Reason: In a pair of landmark rulings, two …

Employee’s religious belief doesn’t let her dictate your business

Sandra Bruff was a counselor for an employee assistance program (EAP), but she balked at helping employees deal with their homosexual or extramarital relationships. That kind of advice violated her religious …

Go for the gold: Craft waivers that release you from all lawsuits

The teachers and students in the classroom where Mary Jefferson was a part-time aide regularly used derogatory terms for females, such as bitch, slut and whore. As a result, Jefferson filed …

Get separate signature to enforce arbitration agreements

When Lupe Romo filed suit after being fired, her employer argued that she had to take her complaint to arbitration. Reason: An agreement to arbitrate was part of the employee handbook, …

Don’t withhold promised severance when a former employee files suit

When Shawn Bernstein lost his job in a company merger, he sued under just about every discrimination law imaginable. The court threw out those claims, saying the company had legitimate reasons …

Requests for accommodation must be reasonable

After an argument between Manuella Reed and a co-worker, her plant manager told Reed she should walk away from altercations and contact a supervisor. Months later, Reed got into a heated …

Don’t let policies rot on a shelf; educate staff or lose your defense

Sprint wasn’t ignorant of sexual harassment. The company had distributed a human resources policy guide to all employees in 1990 and posted it in all offices. Its code of ethics urges …

Informal vacation policy can cost you.

Don’t leave any doubt about when workers are on vacation. Michael Pelletier’s employer fired him after 20 years on the job, claiming he failed to show up for three days …