Terminating And Disciplining Employees: Employer To Pay Four Years’ Back Wages For Firing One-Man Striker; Important Tips For Avoiding Labor Law Problems

If an employee makes unjustified complaints about wages and hours, you may be tempted to brand the person as a troublemaker. You might even take disciplinary action if the griping continues. But a new National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling cautions that even a one-employee protest can be a protected activity under federal labor law-landing […]

Hiring Temps And Independent Contractors: Employers Brace For Fallout From New Microsoft Ruling; How To Avoid Owing Benefits

The federal appeals court covering California ruled several years ago that software giant Microsoft Corp. had to pay certain retroactive employee benefits to workers improperly classified as independent contractors. Now, the same court has made clear that its earlier ruling will require Microsoft to provide millions of dollars in stock-purchase rights not only to contractors, […]

News Notes: Religious Employees Not Covered By Anti-Discrimination Laws

A California Court of Appeal has ruled that employment decisions made by religious institutions about ministerial employees, like clergy members, are not covered by state anti-discrimination laws. The case was brought by a female chaplain at Chapman University. The chaplain claimed that her hours were cut back in retaliation for reporting incidents of alleged sexual […]

News Notes: Pension Reform May Be Coming; IRA Payroll Deductions Urged

Several bills pending in Congress could impact your pension plans. HR 1102 would increase the amount workers can contribute to 401(k) accounts and require faster vesting of matching employer contributions. It would also introduce new Roth 401(k)s and 403(b)s, allowing employees to contribute after-tax dollars but receive tax-free retirement benefits. Another measure, S 659, would […]

News Notes: New Medical Child Support Notice Expected This Year

The federal government is developing a new employer notice dealing with court-ordered medical support obligations for children of divorced or separated parents. The “National Medical Support Notice” will notify you of your obligation to withhold pay when necessary to enroll a noncustodial parent’s child in an employer-provided healthcare plan. Although new regulations were to be […]

News Notes: EEOC And Labor Department Team Up their Enforcement Efforts

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor have announced plans to share information and resources in enforcing anti-discrimination laws. Among other things, staff in the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division will be trained to detect violations of equal pay laws and share their findings with the EEOC. The agencies tout the […]

Bias In Promotions: Are Your Procedures Adequate? A 4-Point Checklist

You’ve probably put a lot of effort into implementing a well-defined and nondiscriminatory application process for hiring new employees. But many employers don’t always apply the same careful planning when it comes to promotion decisions-an oversight that can be costly. In one recent case, an African-American employee successfully sued her employer for damages after being […]

Personal Liability Of Supervisors: Latest Ruling Increases Your Risk Of Getting Sued

Late last year, the California Supreme Court ruled that only employers-not individual managers and supervisors-can be forced to pay damages for workplace discrimination claims arising out of routine employment decisions. But the ruling left the door open for lawsuits against individual managers for harassment or retaliation. Now, a new decision illustrates just how easily a […]

Wrongful Discharge: Why Four Workers Fired For Eating Candy On The Job Won $20 Million; Avoiding Termination Mistakes

You fire an employee for breaking a company rule. This common event may not seem risky, but a recent verdict shows that how you handle a termination can often get you in more trouble than the firing itself. In fact, Wal-Mart is now facing a whopping $20 million verdict partly because of how it discharged […]

Military Leave: New Ruling Addresses Rights Of Employees Who Serve—Do You Know Your Obligations?

As thousands of reservists are being called to military action in the Balkans and taking leave from their jobs, it’s a good time to brush up on the intricacies of the federal law that protects the rights of workers who serve in the armed forces. And a new federal court decision upholds the special benefits […]