Legal Issues

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?

Reorganization can justify termination decision

August 6, 2018
Courts are naturally suspicious when employees who have filed lawsuits end up getting fired. But when an employer can explain that someone lost her job because of a valid business reason, courts seldom second-guess that decision.

Lessons from the Courts: August ’15

July 27, 2018
Always look at a person’s qualifications, rather than conjure up ideas and stereotypes as to why a person with a disability who’s otherwise qualified can’t do the job.

Prevent workplace discrimination

July 25, 2018
Cases of perceived discriminatory behavior in the workplace are all over the news these days. As a supervisor, you can help prevent it from affecting your team by taking these steps.

Are we allowed to ask if a prospective employee has medical coverage?

July 23, 2018
Q: “My manager had job applications made that ask: ‘Do you have medical coverage? If so, with who?’ Is that allowed or not?” – Nikkie, Florida

When workers are sent home due to an issue with the building, are they still paid?

July 23, 2018
Q: “Our building experienced a water main break that shut down our restrooms. Since OSHA requires restroom facilities for employees, we sent everyone home. Exempt employees still receive their salaries, so they’re paid for the day. Do we need to pay our hourly workers who performed no work that day?” – Calvin, Virginia

Keep It Legal: August ’18

July 13, 2018
A delivery driver fired shortly after he requested medical leave had recently received a performance rating of “exceptional” with a comment addendum stating “no complaints from customers,” but was told he was being fired for customer complaints.