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Broward’s wellness program survives ADA court challenge

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Broward County’s employee wellness program, which came under legal challenge after the county started charging $20 per paycheck to employees who refused to participate.

Tales from the front lines …

Mexican food is great, but is it art? A cook sued his former em­­ployer, a Mexican restaurant, for un­­paid overtime. The owners put forth a creative defense: that the cook was exempt from the FLSA overtime requirements because he was a “creative professional.”

Can you ask applicants to ‘audition’ via voice-mail?

It’s a hot hiring trend for sales positions and other jobs that call for great verbal skills: Asking job applicants to leave a voice-mail message in which they make their best pitch. Advocates say it’s an effective way to tell right away who has potential — and quickly weed out duds. But is it legal?

John Muir Health settles EEOC ‘latex bias’ charges

John Muir Health agreed to settle bias charges brought by the EEOC, claim­ing the East Bay hospital system dis­­criminated against job applicants ­perceived to have latex allergies.

Black Jacksonville firefighters sue for race bias in testing

A group of black firefighters are suing the city of Jacksonville and their union, alleging that white firefighters illegally had an opportunity to view promotional tests before they were administered.

Dayton: the next New Haven? Police hiring tests to be tossed


Dayton officials are poised to toss out 748 passing police-hiring exam scores and conduct oral interviews to improve minority hiring for the city’s police department. At first glance, the situation in Day­­ton seems to resemble the case in Ricci v. DeStefano, a 2009 U.S. Supreme Court case. There are important differences, however.

Members of protected group flunk job test? Make sure bosses aren’t manipulating system

If your pool of qualified applicants is demographically significantly different than your hires, there may be trouble afoot. Don’t count on pre-­employment job tests to automatically create fair hiring. If a quick internal audit shows that particular departments or managers have considered but not hired members of a protected class, you may want to look at whether the testing is being handled properly.

What can we ask job applicants? We want to make sure they can physically perform the work

Q. We are looking to hire several new workers in our receiving department. The job will require lifting heavy boxes. Can we ask applicants about any current medical conditions or disabilities that would prevent them from doing so? Can we ask applicants to pass a physical test to see if they can fulfill the requisite job duties?

Weed out substance abuse with ‘one-strike’ rule

Many employers have adopted strict drug and alcohol testing programs for all new hires—and strictly bar employment of anyone who tests positive. Now the 9th Circuit has ruled that applying the rule to a recovering addict is legal unless that addict can somehow prove that the rule discriminates against a class of disabled individuals—namely, recovering addicts.

Courts to serial litigants: Enough is enough! Lawsuit-happy employees may face fines


Some employees and applicants think that if they sue often enough, they’ll eventually end up collecting the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Fortunately, judges don’t like wasting valuable courtroom time on meritless cases. More and more, they are blocking efforts to file additional lawsuits by employees acting as their own lawyers.