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Managing Your Business Under Mandatory Evacuation

Posted in Labor Law, New Legislation and Regulations

Imagine this: Your business lies within a zone that is subject to a mandatory evacuation order from emergency response and law enforcement officials.  Imagine that the evacuation order arises from a fire or imminent flooding.  What do you do?  Shut your business and get out of course.  Most evacuation orders are short lived and the hazardous conditions are realized or not within a short period of time.  But what happens when the evacuation order persists for a number of days or even weeks?  Your plant operations or business remains shut down.  You may have compelling business interests that demand attention during an extended evacuation order.  You may need to respond to security alarms and alerts, or ensure that the premises are adequately secured.  There may be a fear of product spoliation or destruction, and you may face a serious temptation to send a minimal or skeleton crew into the area covered by the evacuation order in order to ensure that those business concerns are addressed.

Lawyers are trained to look at scenarios like this in reverse.  The employer sends a skeleton crew in to secure the premises or ensure that essential processes are completed or that products do not spoil. Something bad then happens.  The wildfire burns down the surrounding area or the flood arrives and employees are injured.  Now what?

To read the full article, visit the HRUSA blog at http://blog.hrusa.com/blog/managing-your-business-under-mandatory-evacuation/

Neutral Solutions: Mediation

Posted in Employment Contracts and Agreements, Labor Law, Reductions in Force, Retaliation and Wrongful Termination

The Neutral Solutions Team at Weintraub Tobin specializes in Mediating employment disputes both pre and post litigation. Employment disputes are some of the most contentious and aggressively litigated cases in federal and state courts. The employee is adamant that the employer treated him or her unjustly and violated the law, and the employer reasonably believes that it acted fairly and the employee’s claim is without merit. Based on the disruption and negative impact this type of aggressive and protracted litigation can have on the lives and businesses of those involved, mediation is a smart and worthwhile alternative. For more information, please visit our Employment Mediation Page.

Federal Court Prohibits Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Posted in Discrimination

Introduction

For the first time, a federal appellate court has determined that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”). Under Title VII, an employer may not take an adverse employment action against an employee on the basis of a protected characteristic, such as race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. On April 4, 2017, the full panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana that sexual orientation is a protected class that may be used as a basis to bring a discrimination or retaliation suit under Title VII.

Read the case discussion on the HRUSA blog here: http://blog.hrusa.com/blog/federal-court-prohibits-sexual-orientation-discrimination/.

Employers May Be Liable For Violence Away From Work

Posted in Employee Privacy Rights, Employment Contracts and Agreements, Labor Law, New Legislation and Regulations, Retaliation and Wrongful Termination

Intentional torts committed by employees are difficult for employers to both anticipate and protect against. When an employee commits a criminal act against another employee or a third party, the law generally considers whether the employer knew or should have known that the employee posed a danger in deciding whether a duty to protect against the harm was owed. However, an employee’s dangerous propensity is often difficult to predict.  Employees rarely make overt criminal threats or give unambiguous indications that they intend to cause harm. Further, employers are judged in retrospect, and with the benefit of hindsight, in deciding whether seemingly innocuous comments or acts should have been taken as warning signs that the employee posed a danger.

CASE DISCUSSION

On March 24, 2017, in Anicich v. Home Depot U.S.A., the Seventh Circuit extended the duty of Illinois employers to protect against criminal acts by an employee occurring away from the workplace, when a supervisor uses his or her “supervisory authority” to compel an employee to attend a private event under the threat of termination or job reduction.  The case arose out of a supervisor’s rape and murder of a subordinate employee during a trip to attend a family wedding in a different state, when the supervisor had previously threatened to either fire or reduce the employee’s hours if she did not attend.

To read the rest of the article, visit the HRUSA Law Blog at: http://blog.hrusa.com/blog/employers-may-be-liable-for-violence-away-from-work/.

Neutral Solutions: Workplace Investigations

Posted in Employee Privacy Rights, Employment Contracts and Agreements, Labor Law, Retaliation and Wrongful Termination

The Neutral Solutions Team at Weintraub Tobin specializes in conducting independent investigations into complaints of misconduct in the workplace. At Weintraub Tobin, we take pride in the top-notch investigations conducted by our experienced group of attorney-investigators.  Our attorneys have conducted hundreds of investigations for private companies, for-profit companies, non-profit companies, cities, counties, and state agencies, school districts, community college districts, and other special districts. For more information, please visit our Workplace Investigations page here.

Requiring Employees to Prove Eligibility to Work in the U.S. Can Lead to Liability

Posted in Labor Law, Retaliation and Wrongful Termination, Wage & Hour

As the national controversy continues to swirl around immigration issues, a federal appellate court this week faulted an employer for demanding that an employee provide information to prove “‘legal right to work in the United States … as required by the Immigration Control and Reform Act of 1986.’”  The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (“Ninth Circuit”) ruled in Santillan v. USA Waste of California, Inc., Case No. No. 15-55238, that Gilberto Santillan — a 53-year-old, Spanish-speaking garbage truck driver — did not have to “provide proof of employment eligibility.”

The appellate court said that was so because Santillan, who had worked for the employer for 32 years, had been fired and then reinstated shortly before his employer required him to provide such proof.  It may come as a surprise to employers to learn that an employee who is fired and then reinstated may not have to prove his or her eligibility to work in the U.S. upon reinstatement, but that is the case under federal law. Brenden-Begley-05_web Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Employers Can Pay Wages With Payroll Cards

Posted in Labor Law, New Legislation and Regulations, Wage & Hour

Pennsylvania’s Wage Payment and Collection Law requires employers to pay all wages, other than fringe benefits and wage supplements, due employees on regularly scheduled paydays designated in advance by the employer in cash, bank check, or direct deposit. As of May 4, 2017, Pennsylvania employers will have another option to pay employee wages each pay period.

On November 4, 2016, Governor Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 1265 which amends the banking code to allow employers to use a payroll debit card on which an employer can load an employee’s wages each pay period.  The payroll debit cards work like an ATM card but without the employee needing to have a bank account to access the funds.  The sponsor of the bill introduced this option to provide an option to employees to avoid the costs of check cashing and money orders for those with little or no access to traditional banking.

The amendment allows for employers to use the payroll debit cards with certain restrictions that are intended to ensure that employees have access to the full amount of their wages, with unlimited, no-cost access to their accounts.  Read what these restrictions include at: http://blog.hrusa.com/blog/pennsylvania-employers-can-pay-wages-with-payroll-cards/.

Sexual Orientation Discrimination Not Recognized Under Title VII

Posted in Discrimination, New Legislation and Regulations

Federal law has long prohibited discrimination based on a person’s sex. In recent years, several courts have held that discrimination based on failure to conform to a gender stereotype is a form of prohibited sex-based discrimination. But courts across the country have been more divided about whether those same laws preclude discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation. According to a federal court in Georgia, the answer is no. In a decision handed down on March 10, 2017, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a former Georgia hospital worker’s claim that she was fired because of her sexual orientation. In Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital, the court held that Title VII does not cover such claims.

To read the case, please visit the HRUSA Blog at http://blog.hrusa.com/blog/sexual-orientation-discrimination-not-recognized-under-title-vii/.

Neutral Solutions: We Help You Connect the Pieces

Posted in Labor Law, Retaliation and Wrongful Termination

L&E social media puzzle adThe Neutral Solutions Team at Weintraub Tobin can help you avoid expensive and protracted litigation. We specialize in:

  • Training supervisors on various workplace issues, including preventing harassment, discrimination, and retaliation; workplace health and safety; and managing leave laws.
  • Conducting independent investigations into complaints of misconduct in the workplace.
  • Mediating employment disputes both pre and post litigation

For more information please contact:

Lizbeth “Beth” West 916.558.6082 or lwest@weintraub.com

Vida L. Thomas 916.558.6058 or vthomas@weintraub.com

Meagan D. Bainbridge 916.558.6038 or mbainbridge@weintraub.com

Changing Overtime Policy May Constitute Retaliation

Posted in Employment Contracts and Agreements, Wage & Hour

They say that everything is bigger in Texas.  That now may be true for the risk that an employer’s change to its overtime policies will result in a claim filed by an employee alleging retaliation in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  That increased risk stems from a ruling by the Texas Court of Appeals for the Fourteenth District in January 2017.  In that case, Tooker v. Alief Independent School District, the appellate court ruled that a change in the employer’s stated overtime policy constituted a materially adverse employment action.

To read the full article, visit the HRUSA Blog at: http://blog.hrusa.com/blog/changing-overtime-policy-may-constitute-retaliation/