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Recent Employment Law News for Dec 12, 2013
Restaurant Allegedly Refused to Hire Older Workers
Wed, 11 Dec 2013 16:44:24 - Pacific Time
Ruby Tuesday, Inc. will pay $575,000 and provide equitable relief to settle a class age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).The EEOC alleged that Ruby Tuesday engaged in a pattern or practice of age discrimination against job applicants who were 40 years of age or older at six of the chain's restaurants located in West Mifflin, Greensburg, Altoona, Du Bois, and Indiana, Pa., and in Beachwood, Ohio, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). According to the EEOC, the restaurant chain also failed to preserve employment records, including employment applications, as required by the ADEA and EEOC regulations. EEOC General Counsel David Lopez commented that, "This case demonstrates the agency's ongoing commitment to challenge discriminatory barriers to hiring…Vigorous law enforcement efforts on behalf of older workers are critical to the EEOC's mission to eradicate barriers to employment." Read More..
OSHA Launches Online Form for Whistleblower Complaints
Wed, 11 Dec 2013 04:23:15 - Pacific Time
Whistleblowers covered by one of 22 statutes administered by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will now be able to file complaints online. The online form will provide workers who have been retaliated against an additional way to reach out for OSHA assistance online. The new online form prompts employees to include basic whistleblower complaint information so they can be easily contacted for follow-up. Complaints are automatically routed to the appropriate regional whistleblower investigators. In addition, the complaint form can also be downloaded and submitted to the agency in hard-copy format by fax, mail or hand-delivery. The paper version is identical to the electronic version and requests the same information. Read More..
IRS Issues 2014 Standard Mileage Rates
Wed, 11 Dec 2013 01:00:27 - Pacific Time
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued the 2014 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. Beginning on January 1, 2014, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) are as follows: 56 cents per mile for business miles driven; 23.5 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes; and, 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations. The business, medical, and moving expense rates decrease one-half cent from the 2013 rates. The charitable rate is based on statute. The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating a vehicle. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs. In California, according to the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) an employer’s obligation to reimburse an employee for business expenses related to the use of a vehicle is satisfied by using the IRS mileage rate. Read More..
Hospital Sued by EEOC for Disability Discrimination
Wed, 11 Dec 2013 00:42:03 - Pacific Time
Providence Hospital, a full-service hospital in Washington, D.C., has been sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for allegedly refusing to accommodate a disabled employee and then discharging her because of her disability. According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Louise McFadden, who worked as a medical assistant for Providence Hospital, suffered a disability-related injury. McFadden returned to work, and according to the EEOC, she was cleared to work full-time, but was told that she had to use a cane to ambulate. Allegedly, there were vacant positions at the hospital that McFadden could have been placed into as an accommodation for her disability; however, the EEOC alleges that Providence Hospital would not allow McFadden to return to work in any capacity until she received medical clearance to return to work without the use of a cane. McFadden was allegedly placed on medical leave and then discharged after her leave was exhausted. The EEOC charges that under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the hospital had an obligation to reassign McFadden to a vacant position that she could perform. Read More..
Employers Beware: Wage and Hour Claims are Costly!
Thu, 05 Dec 2013 19:55:45 - Pacific Time
Although many employers have not yet been sued for an alleged wage and hour violation, if it happens, it often is quite shocking for the employer. The claims are expensive to defend and can result in significant damages, payable of course by the employer. Further, many employers do not have Employment Practices Liability (EPL) insurance, and those who do have such coverage for employment related matters often mistakenly believe that their EPL policy provides coverage for wage and hour claims. Unfortunately, the majority of EPL policies exclude coverage for wage and hour claims, and when such coverage is available it is often only for defense costs. Thus, employers should check their EPL polices to determine whether or not coverage for wage and hour claims is offered and if not contact their insurance broker to discuss obtaining such coverage. All employers should have some form of EPL coverage in place to protect against the plethora of employment related claims that can arise from the workplace. Read More..
Grocery Store Allegedly Fired Employee Because of His Epilepsy
Thu, 05 Dec 2013 17:19:18 - Pacific Time
The Food Farmacy, Ltd. and J&T Enterprises, LLC, doing business as Foodworks, a chain of grocery stores in Connecticut, will pay $25,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to the EEOC's suit, Foodworks allegedly asked disability-related questions of a class of applicants before offering them jobs. The questions included "Do you have any health problems?" on applications and asking applicants in interviews whether they had any health/ physical problems; whether they were on any medications; and if so, which medications. The EEOC also alleged that when an employee with epilepsy had a seizure at work, Foodworks fired the employee a few days after the seizure, despite the employee having performed his job successfully and presenting medical documentation indicating he was capable of returning to his normal work day. Read More..
Employer Allegedly Refused Employee’s Request to Bring Service Dog to Work
Thu, 05 Dec 2013 17:12:31 - Pacific Time
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit against Direct Optical, Inc., a Michigan eyewear retailer, for allegedly discriminating against an optician because of her disabilities. The EEOC has charged that Direct Optical discriminated against Laurel Miller because of her disabilities -- generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder -- when it denied her request to use her service dog at work. The complaint further alleges that Direct Optical terminated Miller because of her disability (including for minor performance issues that her service dog could have prevented), and in retaliation for her accommodation request. The EEOC is seeking injunctive relief prohibiting Direct Optical from discriminating against other employees with disabilities; equitable relief that provides equal opportunities for qualified employees with disabilities; lost wages; compensatory and punitive damages; and other relief. Read More..
Employee Allegedly Fired for Complaining About Treatment of Haitian Workers
Wed, 27 Nov 2013 19:56:45 - Pacific Time
Mountaire Farms, Inc., will pay $48,000 to settle a lawsuit for retaliation filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Mountaire Farms is an agricultural food processing company. According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Frantz Morette began working as a translator for a group of Haitian workers at Mountaire Farms' Lumber Bridge facility. The EEOC alleges that Morette complained repeatedly to his supervisors and the human resources department that the Haitian workers were being treated poorly by supervisors as compared to their non-Haitian coworkers. Morette told management that supervisors often refused to allow the Haitian workers to take bathroom breaks while allowing non-Haitian workers to do so and refused to provide the Haitian workers with the training necessary for the higher-paying jobs at the facility. The EEOC further alleges that Morette notified company managers that a supervisor was refusing to allow a Haitian worker to take a restroom break while allowing other non-Haitian workers to do so. A few days later, Morette was allegedly fired for his complaints. Read More..