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BUSINESS LAW: Accurate evaluations – a necessity

We have noted several times it is of great importance to employers to completely and accurately document performance problems. The consequence of not doing so was apparent in a recent case.

August 16, 2014 1:02 pm

BUSINESS LAW: Firearms at work

Indiana is in the minority of states which, on a limited basis, permits employees to carry firearms to work.

August 02, 2014 10:08 am

BUSINESS LAW: Pretext for discrimination not found

In prior articles, we have noted that when an employee raises a discrimination claim (age, race, national origin, etc.), the employer can defend itself by establishing a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for the decision. When this occurs, the employee must establish that the stated reaso…

July 19, 2014 12:26 pm

BUSINESS LAW: Religious dress and grooming

The number of claims of religious discrimination has grown significantly over the past several years. Within these claims are those relating to an applicant’s or employee’s dress or grooming.

April 26, 2014 4:23 pm

BUSINESS LAW: Law protects employees in military service

In the past, we have discussed the Uniformed Services and Reemployment Rights Act, also known as USERRA.

March 20, 2014 5:37 pm

BUSINESS LAW: The fish aren't biting

The Better Government Association recently reported on an employment-related case, which is worth reviewing.

February 22, 2014 4:08 pm

BUSINESS LAW: Equal pay claims

Should women be paid the same wages as men for equal work? Should women be paid the same wages as men for jobs that require equal skill, effort and responsibility – or that are performed under similar working conditions?

February 08, 2014 4:45 pm

BUSINESS LAW: Trainees and training

The Fair Labor Standards Act addresses the topics of using trainees and training existing employees. Both concepts are rule driven.

January 04, 2014 12:16 pm

BUSINESS LAW: Race discrimination claims

As we have noted in the past, Title VI prohibits employers from discriminating against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment based on that individual’s race.

December 21, 2013 11:43 am

BUSINESS LAW: Meal and break periods

The compensability of meal and break periods is covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Three basic rules apply.

December 07, 2013 10:09 am

BUSINESS LAW: Racially biased workplaces

Sometimes, it seems like the sports section is more like a legal update. Recently, you may have followed the story about the Miami Dolphins.

November 23, 2013 11:35 am

BUSINESS LAW: Three different employment issues

Usually, we discuss one case per article. Today, we deviate from the norm by discussing three different matters:

October 05, 2013 3:51 pm

BUSINESS LAW: Belligerent employees can be fired

When accused of discriminating against an employee in a protected class (gender, race, etc.), an employer defends by asserting a legitimate non-discriminating/non-retaliatory business reason for its decision.

September 21, 2013 9:27 am

BUSINESS LAW: Religious accommodations

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of religion. The law requires a covered employer to provide a reasonable accommodation for an employee’s request to participate in a religious observance or practice if an accommodation would not ca…

August 10, 2013 2:48 pm

BUSINESS LAW: Pregnancy claim will be heard

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination based on “pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.”

July 27, 2013 10:28 am

BUSINESS LAW: Hostile work environments

In our last article, we analyzed two cases which addressed the creation of a hostile work environment. One more case in this trilogy adds additional insight on this issue.

June 01, 2013 4:08 pm

BUSINESS LAW: A single comment can create a claim

The law does not guarantee a perfect workplace. Courts do not want to be super-human resource departments, potentially reviewing every slight felt by employees.

May 18, 2013 3:37 pm

BUSINESS LAW: Religious discrimination found

As noted in the past, federal law prohibits employment discrimination based on religion.

May 04, 2013 10:35 am

BUSINESS LAW: What defines a medical inquiry?

One given principle of the Americans With Disabilities Act provides that employee medical information obtained from “medical examinations and inquiries” must be treated as a confidential medical record. The issue is what is an inquiry?

April 06, 2013 12:45 pm

BUSINESS LAW: Essential functions under the ADA

In order to be protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act, the employee must be able to perform the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodations.

March 02, 2013 9:25 am

BUSINESS LAW: Notice under the FLMA

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, a covered employer must give a qualified employee FMLA leave to care for the employee's family member(s) with a serious health condition.

February 16, 2013 4:03 pm

BUSINESS LAW: Returnign veteran can be terminated

In previous articles, we have discussed the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. A recent case held that under USERRA, an employer can terminate a returning veteran.

February 02, 2013 3:51 pm

BUSINESS LAW: Trainees under the ADA

Pursuant to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), in order to be protected, the employee must be qualified to perform the duties of her job.

January 12, 2013 5:45 am

BUSINESS LAW: Honest belief as a defense

In our last article, we discussed age discrimination claims. Today, we will examine one key defense available to employers.

December 09, 2012 12:00 am

BUSINESS LAW: Age discrimination claims in the the workplace

As the workforce ages, we can expect to see an increase in age discrimination claims in the workplace. A recent case shows how these claims can arise.

November 25, 2012 12:00 am

BUSINESS LAW: Rotating shifts and the ADA

In our last article, we discussed whether transferring a qualified disabled employee to a vacant job position was a required reasonable accommodation under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

October 27, 2012 11:00 am


Under the Americans With Disabilities Act, or the ADA, an employee with a disability must be able to perform the essential functions of her job, with or without accommodations. Determining a job's "essential functions" can be critical.

September 15, 2012 12:00 am

BUSINESS LAW: What is a treatment?

The Family and Medical Leave Act is one of the most difficult statutes for employers to work with.

August 11, 2012 12:00 am

BUSINESS LAW: Hostile work environments

As we have noted in the past, employees can allege hostile work environment claims based on race or national origin.

July 28, 2012 4:53 pm

BUSINESS LAW: Alienage is not a protected class

Immigration reform has been a hotly contested issue. President Obama's recent executive order further focused attention on the status of individuals who are illegally in the United States.

July 01, 2012 12:00 am

BUSINESS LAW: Attendance as essential function is employers' duty to prove

Common sense would seem to suggest regular attendance is an essential function of every job. This is an important concept.

May 20, 2012 12:00 am

BUSINESS LAW: Criminal background checks

Surveys suggest a substantial percentage of employers routinely use criminal background checks when hiring new employees. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commssion has just issued new guidelines, which limit this use.

May 06, 2012 12:00 am

BUSINESS LAW: Timing can be everything in retaliation claims

In a typical retaliation case, an employee will claim an adverse employment decision, often termination, was in retaliation for the employee having exercised a protected right.

January 07, 2012 12:00 am

BUSINESS LAW: Outside activities and the ADA

In order to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act, or ADA, employers must carefully consider all requests for reasonable accommodations from employees with disabilities.

December 16, 2011 12:48 am

BUSINESS LAW: Reinstating returning service personnel

President Barack Obama's announcement that our soldiers in Iraq will return by year's end refocuses attention on the re-employment rights of employees who were called into active duty.

October 28, 2011 12:00 am

BUSINESS LAW: USERRA leave differs from FMLA leave

For employers, it is difficult to comply with just one of the employment statutes we often discuss. Just think how difficult it is when the employer must coordinate two or three statutes at the same time.

May 29, 2011 12:00 am

BUSINESS LAW: Retaliation claim prevails

In previous articles, we have noted that claims of retaliation are increasing. Employers face great risk in these claims, especially when an adverse employment action falls close in time to an employee's exercise of a protected right.

May 14, 2011 12:00 am

BUSINESS LAW: The cat's paw

In the 17th century French fable, The Monkey and the Cat, a monkey convinces a cat to pull chestnuts from a fire. The cat burns his paws.

May 01, 2011 12:00 am

BUSINESS LAW: What is a similarly situated employee?

To prevail on a sex discrimination claim, a female employee must demonstrate that similarly situated men, subject to the same company policy, were treated more favorably.

April 17, 2011 12:00 am

BUSINESS LAW: Wage and hour claims increase

There was a time when most litigation arose at intersections, when cars, and later attorneys, collided. Now, unfortunately, the workplace is the most fertile place of litigation.

February 27, 2011 12:00 am

BUSINESS LAW: Same-sex sexual harassment can be unlawful

Same-sex sexual harassment claims are rare. However, this type of harassment can be unlawful.

November 21, 2010 2:34 pm

BUSINESS LAW: Men entitled to protection from harassment

In a sexual harassment case, the conduct complained of must be "unwelcomed." Can this element ever be proven in a case where a male employee complains he is being harassed by a female co-worker?

November 07, 2010 12:00 am

BUSINESS LAW: Hostile work environment

In order to establish her claims of a sexual based hostile work environment by non-supervisory co-workers, a female employee needs to show that she was subjected to unwelcome sexual harassment and that the harassment was based on her sex.

October 24, 2010 12:00 am

Heed worker harassment claims

It is imperative that employers have adequate  anti-harassment policies, that the policies are publicized and that supervisors are trained in them. But even the best written policy fails when not enforced.

August 22, 2010 12:00 am

Reasonable accommodations provided – and rejected

This is the third article relating to the Americans With Disabilities Act. This time we examine the obligation to provide reasonable accommodations. Once an employer receives a request for a reasonable accommodation, it should open up a dialogue with the employee toward the end of finding a …

July 30, 2010 11:01 am

ADA may apply to work schedules

In previous articles, we have noted that at the heart of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is the obligation of employers to provide reasonable accommodations to help disabled employees perform the essential functions of the job.

July 11, 2010 12:00 am

BUSINESS LAW: Terminating employees with impairments

Last time, we revisited the Americans With Disabilities Act and what constitutes a disability. In a recent case, the ADA issue related to the circumstances when an employer can terminate an employee with a known disability.

June 12, 2010 12:00 am

BUSINESS LAW: Progressive discipline policies prove beneficial

Typically, a progressive discipline policy provides that corrective action usually starts with a verbal warning, followed by a written warning, then a final warning and ultimately termination.  

May 15, 2010 12:00 am

BUSINESS LAW: Changes to the ADA

We have frequently written about the Americans With Disabilities Act.

September 27, 2008 12:00 am

A tricky case with the ADA

This is the 12th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). In this column, we frequently discuss the ADA, in large part because so many new cases are being filed under it.

September 07, 2002 12:00 am
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