How you respond to an employee’s announcement that she’s pregnant can present an array of legal pitfalls. You can get into trouble not only for overt discrimination, but also for seemingly well-intentioned efforts to protect her from stress or other hazards.
It’s not uncommon for employers to lay off workers and then outsource their job responsibilities to save money on employee benefits and other expenses. But now, a new U.S. Supreme Court ruling has exposed some serious hidden risks in this and similar practices.
The new Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is intended to make it easier for workers to retain health insurance coverage when they switch jobs, by limiting pre-existing medical condition exclusions. Recently, the federal government issued regulations spelling out your obligations under the law.
A worker is easily distracted and has trouble concentrating on what he’s doing. A supervisor is hostile and rude to co-workers. Another employee can’t seem to get to work on time and frequently appears groggy and withdrawn. You may think you have clear grounds for discipline or termination in situations such as these, but be […]
Most employers are aware that it’s illegal to retaliate against an employee who complains about discrimination. But did you know you are also at risk if you discipline or fire someone who merely supports a co-worker’s bias complaint? A Los Angeles employer recently learned this costly lesson when it was hit with a big jury […]
After reducing a huge backlog of cases, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed fewer charges last year but significantly increased the amount of money it won from employers. Settlements obtained before cases entered litigation totaled $145.2 million, just shy of the 1994 record of $146.3 million. Lawsuits generated another $51.2 million in awards last […]
A new court decision says the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) doesn’t require you to transfer an employee because of a bad working relationship with a supervisor. Sherrylen Weiler, a Household Finance Corp. manager, claimed she became disabled by depression, stress and anxiety following a performance review in which her supervisor raised his voice and […]
On April 17, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted to adopt rewritten and clarified workplace ergonomics regulations aimed at reducing repetitive motion injuries. The regulations probably won’t take effect before early July-assuming threatened lawsuits from employer and labor groups don’t cause further delays. We’ll have a full report in an upcoming issue. […]
The most recent drug testing survey published by SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories indicates the number of workers who test positive for drug use is at an all-time low. Only 5.8% of more than 4 million workplace drug tests the company performed in 1996 were positive, a 13% decline from 1995. Of special interest to California […]
Employees who work at Mervyn’s Department Store have filed two lawsuits accusing the retail chain of coercing them into working up to 80 hours a week without overtime. One lawsuit, filed on behalf of 1,300 hourly “team coordinators,” claims they were forced to work “off the clock” through lunch and breaks and were not paid […]