Legal Issues

Discrimination claims must be based on good faith

October 17, 2018
Complaining about discrimination is considered protected activity. Punishing employees for com­plaining may be retaliation even if it turns out that the original claim was meritless. However, the original complaint must have been made in good faith.

Teen’s mom wants more info on firing: Do I legally have to answer her questions?

October 16, 2018
Q. The mother of a 16-year-old whom we fired called me asking for more information on the termination. Must I answer questions?

Lessons from the Courts: October ’18

October 15, 2018
It might be a good practice to regularly check all your emergency exit doors to ensure that people can escape through them in the event of a fire or other emergency.

DOL weighs in: Pay for participating in wellness activities?

October 9, 2018
More and more employers are providing various wellness incentives as part of their medical insurance plans to promote healthier lifestyles and choices. A new opinion letter addressed whether employees should be paid when they participate in certain activities.

Employees’ frequent toilet breaks may be a medical issue

September 19, 2018
Home improvement giant Home Depot has agreed to settle a disability lawsuit for $100,000 when it fired an employee for leaving her post to make emergency runs to the restroom.

The ‘new’ ADA: How to handle employee disabilities

September 16, 2018
When Congress expanded the Americans with Disabilities Act in 2009, it broadened the circle of people eligible for ADA rights even wider. That has led to a spike in people filing ADA-related legal claims. Here’s what managers need to know about the ADA:

Embarrassing emails could wind up being aired in court

August 31, 2018
Remind supervisors to choose their words carefully when composing emails. Generally, all forms of communication are fair game for discovery during litigation.

Is it legally safe to terminate an employee soon after they refuse a relocation?

August 28, 2018
Q: “If we’ve verbally notified an employee (three months ago) that their job is moving (due to restructuring/reorganization) to another state, effective next month—and the employee refused the job/relocation (first right to refuse), what is the risk if we lay off the employee now?”

Can poking fun at a regional accent rise to the level of harassment and discrimination?

August 28, 2018
Q: “We have an employee with a thick Boston accent. Several of his co-workers imitate him, like ‘Where did you pawk your caw today?’ He doesn’t seem to mind, but I can’t really tell. Since there aren’t any protected characteristics at play—such as race or national origin—would that type of ribbing get us in trouble if we don’t stop it?” – Kevin, Maryland

What laws govern employees’ flex time?

August 10, 2018
Q. A number of employees in our office work flexible schedules, while many put in a traditional 9-5 workweek because their tasks and duties require them to be there within those hours. Are there any laws I need to be aware of by having this arrangement?