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News Notes: Court To Review Microsoft Independent Contractor Case

Late last year, software giant Microsoft Corp. was ordered by a federal Court of Appeal to extend retroactive pension and stock purchase benefits-potentially worth millions of dollars-to employees improperly classified as independent contractors. (See CEA November 1996.) But now, the court says it will reconsider its decision-a potentially positive signal for Microsoft. A change in […]

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News Notes: Help On New Health Insurance Laws Available

Several federal laws affecting employee health benefits were added last year, including the Health Insurance Portability Act, the Mental Health Parity Act and the Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act. To help clear the confusion about these complex regulations, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued a booklet that answers some of the most common […]

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News Notes: Race Discrimination Claim Upheld, Damages Reduced

In 1994, we reported on the case of a black engineer and his supervisor who sued Hughes Aircraft. The engineer claimed he was denied promotions and raises because of his race. His supervisor charged that managers pressured him to fabricate negative performance reviews about the engineer, and when he refused to comply, turned him down […]

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News Notes: High Court Bars Retaliation By Employers Against Ex-Workers

The U.S. Supreme Court has just handed employers one more reason to keep quiet when asked to give a job reference for a former employee. Charles Robinson sued Shell Oil Co. for race discrimination after he was fired. Later, when Shell gave him a negative reference, he filed a second lawsuit charging that the bad […]

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News Notes: Insurance Commissioner Seizes Workers’ Comp Insurer

The state Insurance Commissioner has taken over control of Golden Eagle Insurance Co., California’s third largest workers’ compensation carrier. The action grew out of concerns about Golden Eagle’s financial solvency. The Insurance Commissioner is optimistic that several insurers will join together to operate Golden Eagle’s business through a new company, San Diego Casualty Insurance Co. […]

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Violent Employees: Failing to Adequately Investigate and Supervise Can Spell Trouble

Much has been said in recent years about the phenomenon of postal service workers and other employees who go berserk and harm co-workers or innocent bystanders. Now, in a new case, the post office was sued for more than $500,000 when an employee with a violent background attacked a tow truck driver. This lawsuit is […]

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Electronic Surveillance Update: When and How to Use Workplace Monitoring Devices Without Getting Sued

Employers are increasingly using surveillance devices to combat theft and drug abuse and improve overall security at work. But you could find yourself in serious trouble under federal and state laws if you’re not careful. We’ll look at two recent cases that focus on some complex issues involved in workplace surveillance.

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Reductions in Force: How to Do It the Right Way Without Getting Sued

Sales are down. Expenses are up. You’ve tried everything and it looks as if your only alternative is to eliminate jobs. These not uncommon circumstances can turn into a high-stakes gamble, particularly because the graying of the American workforce puts you at risk for expensive age bias claims. So when you’re facing a restructuring, it’s […]

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Drug Testing: Why Worker Who Tested Positive Won $380,000; Plus a Checklist for Avoiding Trouble

At first glance, this case might seem hard to believe. An employer is ordered to pay big damages to a worker who was fired for testing positive for drug use following a workplace accident. Why? Because of poor documentation and alleged race discrimination, both of which could have been avoided. With this case and the […]

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Workers’ Comp Fraud: Why Employer Was Ordered to Pay Insurer $3 Million

When you hear about workers’ compensation fraud, it’s usually by employees. But there are cases where employers are charged with cheating the workers’ comp system. In one of the biggest verdicts of this kind, State Compen- sation Insurance Fund-the state’s largest workers’ compensation insurer-recently won a $3.2 million judgment against a network of Southern California […]

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