News Notes: Court OKs Trading Pension Benefits For Signed Releases

It’s common to ask employees who accept early retirement to agree to waive future legal claims against you in exchange for higher pension payouts. But is it legal? Two years ago, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that Lockheed Corporation violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) when it did just that. The […]

News Notes: Are New Standards Coming For Religious Expression At Work?

President Clinton has announced new guidelines clarifying how and when religious beliefs can be expressed in the federal workplace, and they could be expanded to the private sector. Among other things, the guidelines say federal workers can pray together at lunchtime in empty conference rooms and display religious art in their personal work areas. Proselytizing […]

News Notes: Simplified Pension Plan Administration Rules In Effect

The U.S. Department of Labor has eased the paperwork burden for administering employee pension plans. Under new regulations that recently went into effect, plan administrators no longer have to automatically file summary plan descriptions or summary material modifications with the department. However, you must still provide summary plan documents to employees.

News Notes: Wilson Kills Measure To Reinstate Daily Overtime

Governor Wilson has vetoed a bill that would have reinstated overtime for private sector, non-union employees working more than eight hours in a day. The veto moves California one step closer to joining the federal government and most other states in requiring time and a half only after 40 hours in a week, although legal […]

Truth In Hiring: Employer Misrepresents Job Duties And Pays For It; Preventive Steps You Can Take Now

When you’re interviewing applicants, it can be tempting to paint an overly rosy picture of the job to snare a good candidate. But be careful. If what you say isn’t accurate, you could wind up on the wrong side of an expensive fraud lawsuit. We’ll tell you about one employer who recently had this problem […]

News Notes: Minimum Wage Headed Up To $7.25?

On top of the minimum wage rate hikes enacted last year, a new measure has been introduced in Washington to boost the minimum wage to $7.25 by 2002. The current schedule ups the minimum wage to $5.15 on September 1, 1997, and to $5.75 on March 1, 1998. We’ll keep you posted.

News Notes: Home Depot Socked With Big Retaliation And ADA Verdict

An Oakland jury has ordered Home Depot to shell out almost $1.7 million for retaliating against an employee who complained about sexual harassment and failing to accommodate her under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Denise Restivo, a computer systems coordinator, was demoted and transferred after charging that managers made sexual remarks and mocked the company’s […]

News Notes: Use Caution When Advising Employees About Retirement Benefits

Carol Becker, a terminally ill Eastman Kodak Co. employee, put off taking early retirement in favor of going on long-term disability. She planned to retire a few months later, but then died just three days before her retirement date. Her husband sued Kodak, claiming it violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because a company […]

News Notes: Deluge Of Overtime Misclassification Claims Not Letting Up

There has been a surge of class action lawsuits filed by workers seeking huge damages for back overtime based on claims that they were improperly classified as managers exempt from overtime laws. Now, more than 600 low-level managers have sued Robinsons-May Inc., a retailer with 46 department stores in California. The workers contend that although […]

News Notes: Microsoft Loses Independent Contractor Class Action Lawsuit

Reaffirming its decision from last fall, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal covering California has ruled that employees who were misclassified as independent contractors by Microsoft are eligible to participate retroactively in the company’s lucrative stock purchase program and possibly its pension plan as well. Part of Microsoft’s problem was that its forms and […]