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So far Murphy Law has created 179 blog entries.
6 04, 2018

Can You Be Fired For Attending Rehab for Alcoholism?

By | 2018-04-06T13:27:51+00:00 April 6th, 2018|Americans with Disabilities Act Claims, Family and Medical Leave Act Claims|0 Comments

Is Alcoholism A Disability? Alcoholism can be considered a covered disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). An employer may not discriminate against an individual based on a history of alcoholism if that person has been rehabilitated and no longer uses alcohol. In the absence of undue hardship, the employer must allow certain employees with a history of alcoholism to take leave to attend a rehabilitation program. An individual who returns to work and later has a relapse may also be protected under the ADA. The ADA protects alcoholics who are in recovery and no longer using alcohol. An individual who is actively using alcohol is not protected by the ADA. Employers are not required to hire or continue employment of an individual who is actively using alcohol. In addition to the protections provided by the ADA, the Family Medical and Leave Act (FMLA) protects an eligible employee from being fired for taking leave to attend a rehabilitation program. The FMLA provides eligible employees with unpaid, job-protected leave each year for up to 12 weeks to address serious health conditions. Alcoholism rehabilitation and treatment for alcoholism that involves inpatient care or continuing treatment may be considered a health condition [...]

3 04, 2018

Have You Been Retaliated Against For Asserting Your Rights At Work?

By | 2018-04-03T14:58:46+00:00 April 3rd, 2018|Workplace Discrimination, Wrongful Termination & Retaliation|0 Comments

What is Retaliation? Retaliation takes place when an employee engages in "protected activity" and his or her employer takes “adverse action” against the employee because of that activity. An employee engages in protected activity when he or she objects to, or opposes, unlawful conduct such as employment discrimination. For example, if an employee complains that an employer denied a promotion based on the employee’s disability, that constitutes protected activity. If the employer transfers the employee to a less desirable job as a result of the complaint, that would constitute an adverse action and therefore, retaliation. Adverse actions include denial of promotion, failure to hire, denial or reduction of job benefits, demotion, providing lower performance evaluations, job transfers, changing schedules, and suspension or termination of employment. Verbal or physical abuse can also be adverse actions, as well as threats designed to deter participation in protected activity, such as threatening to report immigration status or to contact the police. Retaliation means any adverse action taken by an employer that might “deter a reasonable person from engaging in protected activity.” An employer is not only prohibited from taking action against the individual who complains about unlawful conduct or files a discrimination complaint. The [...]

23 03, 2018

Should You Sign A Severance Agreement?

By | 2018-03-23T16:26:43+00:00 March 23rd, 2018|Non-Compete Clauses, Severance Agreement Review|0 Comments

Signing a Severance Agreement Can Affect Your Rights When your employment comes to an end through a layoff, resignation, or termination and your employer offers a severance agreement, you are placed in a time-sensitive, emotional decision – whether to sign it. That decision can drastically alter your finances and possibly future job opportunities. Exercise caution if you are being pressured into signing a severance agreement on the spot. You may be entitled by law to a specified amount of time to consider the severance agreement before signing it. For example, under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), an employee over the age of 40 who is laid off is entitled to 21 days to consider whether to sign a severance agreement. If part of a group layoff, the employee is entitled to 45 days under the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA), which also provides a seven-day right to revoke period after signing. What is a severance agreement? A severance agreement is a contract created by your employer that typically requires you to waive your right to sue in court for wrongful termination based on age, race, sex, disability, and other types of discrimination in exchange for a specified [...]

16 03, 2018

Can A Disabled Employee Request To Work From Home?

By | 2018-03-16T13:14:21+00:00 March 16th, 2018|Americans with Disabilities Act Claims|0 Comments

Is working at home a reasonable accommodation? An employee’s disability or medical condition may temporarily or permanently prevent the employee from accessing or reporting to the job site, or from performing his or her job functions there. If the employee can perform his or her job at home, without undue hardship to the employer, the employee can request to work at home as a reasonable accommodation. A reasonable accommodation is a modification that enables the employee to perform the essential job functions of his or her position. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. Importantly, because working at home is a type of modification of workplace policy under the ADA, a disabled employee may request to work from home, even if other employees are not permitted to do so. What happens after an employee requests to work from home as a reasonable accommodation? Generally, following the employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation to work at home due to his or her medical condition or disability, the employer and employee engage in the “interactive process,” a meeting during which they strive to reach an agreement. The ADA requires that an employee [...]

9 03, 2018

How To Request A Reasonable Accommodation At Work

By | 2018-03-09T14:31:47+00:00 March 9th, 2018|Americans with Disabilities Act Claims, Workplace Discrimination|0 Comments

What is a reasonable accommodation? The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. A reasonable accommodation is a modification to a disabled employee’s work environment that enables the employee to perform the “essential job functions” of his or her position. To be eligible for a reasonable accommodation under the ADA, an employee must show that he or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The employee can request a reasonable accommodation if a workplace obstacle prevents the employee from competing for a job in the hiring process or performing a job, or bars the employee from equal access to any employment benefit. Types of reasonable accommodations There are many types of reasonable accommodations that an employer can be required to provide to a disabled employee. An employer can be required to make the physical facilities accessible to an employee, modify the employee’s work schedule, restructure the job, reassign the employee, allow the employee to work from home, or allow the employee to take leave. For example, an employee may tell a supervisor that he or she temporarily needs to start work an [...]

2 03, 2018

Are You Entitled To Be Compensated For Travel Time?

By | 2018-03-02T19:38:51+00:00 March 2nd, 2018|Overtime Class Actions, Wage Theft & Unpaid Wages|0 Comments

Travel Time Compensation For The Non-Exempt Employee The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay overtime to non-exempt employees, for time worked that exceeds the employee’s usual work time in the employee’s field. Generally, hours worked over 40 hours in a week must be compensated at least one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay. When determining the number of hours an employee has worked and the corresponding amount of regular pay and overtime pay, employers are required to count certain hours of travel time as work time. The Portal-to-Portal Act, which amended the FLSA, attempted to clarify the travel time compensation issue. State and local laws may provide additional protections to employees in terms of travel time compensation and countable work hours. In addition, contracts, customs, and practices, including collective bargaining agreements, may impact an employee’s right to travel time compensation. Some uncertainty and confusion as to compensated travel time remain among employers and employees alike. An employer may fail to count travel time hours as compensable or may fail to count those hours appropriately. Employees are cautioned to keep careful records of their travel hours. Examples of paid and unpaid travel time Pursuant to [...]

23 02, 2018

Third Circuit Allows Subgroup Disparate-Impact Age Discrimination Claims

By | 2018-02-23T13:37:54+00:00 February 23rd, 2018|Workplace Discrimination, Wrongful Termination & Retaliation|0 Comments

Is 50 the new 40 in age discrimination disparate-impact claims? It's been a little more than a year since the Third Circuit decided Karlo v. Pittsburgh Glass Works. In Karlo, a subgroup of employees age 50 or older alleged age discrimination in favor of younger employees who were age 40 or older – and thus also within the class of employees protected by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). What is a subgroup disparate-impact claim? In addition to prohibiting intentional discrimination against older workers ("disparate treatment"), the ADEA prohibits facially neutral practices that harm older workers more than younger workers ("disparate-impact"), unless the employer can show that the practice is based on “reasonable factors other than age.” A so-called “subgroup disparate-impact” claim alleges age discrimination against older workers, even though the majority of workers retained after a layoff are over 40. In other words, a “subgroup” of employees over the age of 50, within the protected class of workers over the age of 40, may claim that a reduction-in-force disproportionately impacted them due to their age. Why is the Karlo case important? In deciding Karlo, the Third Circuit allowed subgroup disparate-impact claims to proceed in the states under its [...]

22 01, 2018

New Jersey Strengthens Protections for Nursing Mothers at Work

By | 2018-01-22T12:39:05+00:00 January 22nd, 2018|Pregnancy Discrimination|0 Comments

Returning to work as a breastfeeding mother Going back to work after a new baby can be stressful enough on its own. When you have to worry about expressing breastmilk during the workday as well, things can be doubly stressful. Let’s discuss your rights as a nursing mother, including a new law expanding protections for working nursing mothers in New Jersey. New State Law in New Jersey Protects Nursing Mothers from Workplace Discrimination On January 8, 2018, Governor Chris Christie signed a law prohibiting discrimination against women who breastfeed in the work place. Under the new law, women cannot be fired or discriminated against based on breastfeeding at work. The new law expands the civil rights protections provided by the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination to include breastfeeding mothers. The law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for mothers to nurse or pump milk for their babies. Employers must allow breaks during the day for women and a private location for women to pump milk for their babies or breastfeed. The new law extends existing protections provided by the Affordable Care Act to include exempt (salaried) employees as well as all employers, including small businesses with less than 50 workers. [...]

5 01, 2018

Why HR Departments May Fail Victims of Harassment

By | 2018-01-05T15:05:48+00:00 January 5th, 2018|Sexual Harassment|0 Comments

HR managers are charged with protecting the company, not necessarily employees “Close the door,” your boss says as you walk into his office. Once inside, he tells you that one of your clients made a serious complaint about you. Your job could be on the line. Your boss moves closer to you. He touches your arm and says that he can make the whole thing go away if you agree to meet him at a hotel after work. You get out of the office as fast as possible and go straight to human resources. Later that day, you’re fired. Unfortunately, this type of scenario isn’t uncommon. Many employees are under the impression that their company’s HR department is there to protect them. The truth is more complicated. HR Departments also exist to protect the employer. Let’s discuss a recent New York Times article about the conflicting role human resources departments play in harassment cases—and why they often fail employees. HR’s Role in Harassment Complaints The Times article provides several examples of how HR investigations often don’t go far enough. Two common scenarios stand out: Ignored complaints, or Complaints that aren’t taken seriously. In one of the cases detailed in the [...]

22 12, 2017

What Should You Do About Sexual Harassment?

By | 2017-12-22T01:56:41+00:00 December 22nd, 2017|Sexual Harassment|0 Comments

 When the headlines hit close to home You’ve read the articles about sexual harassment that are all over the news. You’ve read the #MeToo stories and stared at the faces of Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” cover. You’ve heard the news reports on television. Maybe you’ve begun to think about your own work situation and the behavior you’ve tolerated for years. Sexual harassment on the job can make you feel embarrassed, emotionally upset, or fearful. As you try to do your work, you should not be forced to avoid or discourage offending behavior. Maybe you think you have no power—that tolerating sexually harassing behavior is a cost of remaining employed. It’s not.  It is against the law and a violation of your civil rights. Let’s discuss what you should do if you are being sexually harassed at work. What is Sexual Harassment? Sexual harassment occurs when a coworker, supervisor, or customer harasses you because of your sex. While it includes behavior such as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other conduct of a sexual nature, other types of behavior also constitute sexual harassment. Harassing behavior can also include offensive remarks about gender—even if those comments are of [...]