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November 21, 2014

Top Fourteen Ways to Make a Plaintiff’s Lawyer Happy

Filed under: General HR Buzz1:30 pm

An employment lawyer who typically represents employees against employers recently published this list (on HR Daily Advisor) of the top fourteen things employers do that make it easier for a plaintiff’s lawyer to sue them and win. Here is the list:

1)     the employer gives no reason for termination or relies on at-will employment;
2)     the employee is fired for performance but recently got a good evaluation;
3)     the timing of the termination is bad, (e.g. an internal protected complaint is followed closely in time by termination);
4)     the employer ignored prior notice of a legal issue;
5)     the company had prior complaints about the same issue or person;
6)     the employer did an internal investigation that was superficial;
7)     the employer believed the employee was just trying to get in the retaliation protection bubble, (e.g. “She’s only bringing up her complaint because she just got written up.”);
8)     the employer submits an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge response that is not well written;
9)     the employer does not follow its own policies;
10)  the company issues a gag order once a charge is filed;
11)  the company ignores a pre-lawsuit letter from a lawyer, thus missing a chance to make a lawsuit go away;
12)  company witnesses seem ill-prepared, too clever, or even clueless while testifying about what happened;
13)  the employer humiliates or dehumanizes the plaintiff; and
14)  the employer documents are missing or inadequately prepared.

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November 13, 2014

News Reports Say Positive Employee Drug Tests On the Rise

Filed under: Drugs,Hiring & Jobs2:26 pm

A national employment law firm news site is reporting that the rate of employee positive drug tests has increased for the first time in about a decade. The entity making the study handles drug testing from employers all across the country. The study indicated that use of marijuana and amphetamines have fueled the increase, notably in the states of Colorado and Washington where recreational marijuana use is now legal under state law.  You can read the news report here.

With the voters in two more states, Alaska and Oregon, along with Washington D.C. recently passing recreational use of marijuana, we aren’t likely to hear the end of this topic any time soon.  Keep your eye on this subject, as other states have pending legislation.

 

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November 5, 2014

Train Now or Be Sorry Later!

Filed under: ADA & Disability,Compliance,Discrimination — Tags: 2:20 pm

Can a one-armed security guard be effective?  A jury recently found for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) who sued an employer for unlawfully discriminating against a licensed security guard who lost his right arm in a car accident.  The employee, Alberto Tarud-Saieh, was removed from his post because of a customer complaint about his disability.  In fact, it was the president of a community association that stated, “This company is a joke.  You sent me a one-armed security guard.”  The company responded by removing Tarud-Saieh from his post and not reassigning him to another post, thus terminating his employment.

Treating a disabled individual based on customer preferences, stereotypes, and assumptions as to what the employee can and cannot do is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Instead, a disabled individual should have the opportunity to be considered based upon their actual abilities to perform the job.  Tarud-Saieh was awarded $35,922.  Besides the award to their former employee, the company must also engage in training and implementing anti-discrimination employment policies.

This is a good example of how sound policies and a little training can go a long way to protect your company from charges of discrimination.  Training managers to understand what constitutes discrimination under the ADA is vital to ensure an equal employment opportunity for all.

 

Source:  www.eeoc.gov.

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