Employee Defamation Suits: Loose Lips And Sloppy Investigations Land Employers In Court

Workplace investigations have become a critical function of human resource managers. If an employee is accused of wrongdoing and you don’t conduct a prompt and thorough inquiry, you run the risk of being sued and hit with big damages for claims ranging from sexual harassment to wrongful termination. But as several recent cases show, conducting […]

Legislation Update: Governor Signs New Bills On Unemployment Claims And Health Coverage; What You Need To Know

Governor Wilson recently approved two laws, one of which will make it easier for smaller employers to offer health benefits to part-time workers, and the other which changes the unemployment insurance rules to allow benefits to employees who are victims of domestic violence. Both measures take effect on January 1, 1999. Here are the key […]

News Notes: Ex-Worker Who Took Family Leave Sues For Refusal To Rehire

A former employee who claims his employer refused to rehire him becausehe took too much family leave can sue under the federal Family and MedicalLeave Act, according to a federal appellate court. Mark Duckworth had takena 52-day medical leave from his job at Pratt & Whitney, Inc., becauseof a punctured lung. When he was subsequently […]

News Notes: EEOC Backlog Reduced; Race Bias Charges Most Common

Although the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has receivedan average of more than 85,000 charges a year since 1992, the agency recentlyannounced it has slashed its pending caseload by nearly half in the lastthree years, partly by offering more mediation-based alternative disputeresolution. Complaints of race discrimination top the list (36% of allcharges filed), followed by […]

Independent Contractors: IRS Issues Employer-Friendly Rules For Resolving Classification Disputes

An IRS audit claiming you misclassified workers as independent contractors rather than employees can be frustrating and expensive to resolve. But recent changes in IRS procedures for handling independent contractor classification problems may take some of the sting out of dealing with the government. New Rules For Independent Contractor Disputes Under the prior rules, if […]

Religious Discrimination: Ruling Examines Whether Seniority System Must Give Way To Accommodation Requests When Religious Attire And Dress Codes Clash

If an employee tells you that a religious belief prohibits them from working on certain times or days, you usually must try to accommodate the person unless it would be an undue hardship. But what if your workers’ schedules are set by a seniority system? Do you still have to make a special accommodation for […]

News Notes: New Retirement Plan Information Available For Employees

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation has published a new guide to assist workers in understanding how defined benefit pension plans operate and the rights and options of plan participants. “A Predictable, Secure Pension for Life: Defined Benefit Pensions” is available by calling (888) 878-3256 or on the Internet at Also, a new Department of Labor […]

News Notes: WARN Act Violation Requires Employers To Pay only For Workdays

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) requires employers with 100 or more employees to give workers at least 60 days’ written notice of a pending mass layoff or plant shutdown. Instead of giving notice, you can pay workers for the 60-day period. Now, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal, which covers California, has […]

News Notes: Employers Sued By Testers For Hiring Discrimination

Undercover testers-individuals who apply for jobs solely to scope out hiring bias-continue to cause trouble for some employers. The owner of five San Francisco McDonald’s franchises is the latest lawsuit target. Several African-American job seekers were allegedly told that no positions were available or were told to apply in a “ghetto” neighborhood. Others were flatly […]

Settling Wage And Hour Disputes: New Case Suggests Important New Provision To Add To Your Agreements

Employers frequently insert confidentiality provisions into termination and settlement agreements to prevent others from learning the details of the arrangement or other sensitive information about the company. And once an employee signs such an agreement, you may think that’s the last you’ll hear of it. But a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision shows that nothing […]