News Notes: Court Changes Its Mind On Retaliation And Religious Accommodation Cases

The federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal has reconsidered two opinions it issued last year. In one case, the court had ruled that the anti-retaliation provisions of the federal wage and hour laws don’t protect workers who are fired for griping about overtime violations directly to their employers rather than to the government. The court […]

News Notes: Supreme Court Raises Hurdle For Job Bias Punitive Damages

The U.S. Supreme Court has made it harder for employees to win punitive damages under federal anti-discrimination laws. The case involved a suit by a female attorney who claimed she was denied a promotion because of her sex. The court agreed with the employee that punitive damages are available when an employer acts with “reckless […]

Disabled Workers: High Court Says Employees Can Make Inconsistent Statements About Disabilities; Impact On Employers

Can workers who swear to be totally disabled on an application for Social Security benefits turn around and sue you under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), contending they’re qualified to work despite their disability claim? Two recent court decisions – one from the United States Supreme Court and the other involving a Northern California […]

Equal Pay: New Case Spells Out When Pay Differences Can Be Legal

If equal pay issues aren’t visible on your radar screen, they should be. That’s because both the government and disgruntled employees continue to target employers who violate equal pay laws. Congress is actively debating a bill that would strengthen federal equal pay rules (see the Special Supplement on pending legislation in this month’s Bulletin). And […]

Age Discrimination: Court Rejects Claim By Older Worker Who Lost Job After Restructuring; A Case Study Of What The Employer Did Right

Many human resource managers worry about age bias suits whenever there’s a reorganization and older workers who don’t fit in the new company structure are terminated. But if you can show that your motives are business-related and you handle the situation properly, you’ll go a long way toward avoiding liability. Here’s a look at one […]

Investigating Sexual Harassment Complaints: Why Utilizing Outside Investigators Is Becoming More Complex—And Controversial

Employers are frequently reminded of their legal obligation to promptly and thoroughly investigate all sexual harassment complaints and, as a result, often call in lawyers or specially trained consultants to conduct a complete and objective inquiry. But a controversial new government opinion suggests that using outside investigators could result in your inadvertently breaking a federal […]

News Notes: Court OKs Tax Deduction For Employer-Provided Meals

Employers who provide on-site meals to certain workers have been given a break by the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal. Boyd Gaming Corp., which owns casinos in Nevada, offered workers free meals in an on-site cafeteria because it required them for security reasons to remain on the premises for their entire shift. But when […]

Americans With Disabilities Act: Historic Supreme Court Ruling Limits Liability For ‘Correctable’ Disabilities

A number of cases in recent years have raised the thorny issue of whether the Americans With Disabilities Act protects workers whose disabilities don’t necessarily affect them at work because they take medication or use corrective devices. Now, in a trio of important new decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned the Equal Employment Opportunity […]

News Notes: Waitresses Awarded Over $2 Million For Harassment And Retaliation

A Southern California jury has ordered an employer to pay $2,331,319 to two waitresses who said they were sexually harassed by other employees and then retaliated against after they complained. Rebecca Barklage and Malissa McCard worked at Birraporetti’s Restaurant in Costa Mesa. They claimed that the kitchen staff and several busboys repeatedly harassed them. One […]

News Notes: Big Child Labor Settlement

Sears Roebuck & Co. has agreed to pay a $325,000 fine to settle allegations that it violated federal child labor laws. Investigators allegedly found violations involving a total of 227 minors at over 60% of the Sears stores that were investigated. The violations included allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to operate power-driven equipment and letting teens […]