A recent California law that would have made it illegal to put mandatory arbitration clauses in employment contracts has been held up by an injunction from a federal court. The new anti-arbitration law faced a great deal of controversy, as employers have made arbitration agreements an increasingly common part of their employment contracts. The injunction was issued as part of a lawsuit by employers attempting to prevent the law from coming into effect, as it would have this year. Continue reading “California Anti-Arbitration Law Held Up by Federal Injunction”
Vox reported that employees of the department store Sears were let go after the retailer announced it was shutting down its stores. Many store associates were told they would receive an eight-week severance package, but, according to the article, after two weeks, the checks stopped coming after Sears announced it was filing for bankruptcy. Meanwhile, Sears executives were allowed to collect $25 million in bonuses after the filing, according to the Chicago Business Journal.
Continue reading “Workplace Closures and Severance Pay”
Restrictive covenants are provisions in employment agreements that prohibit a person from working for a competitor after leaving his or her employer. The effect of such clauses varies greatly. In addition from limiting a former employee’s job opportunities, a restrictive covenant allows an employer to restrict the former employee from starting a business or forming a venture with others that competes against the former employer; contacting or soliciting former or current customers or employees of the former employer; and using confidential knowledge, trade secrets and other privileged information learned while working for the former employer. Many employers also place time and geographical restrictions in these covenants.
At the start of the new year (2014), the Pregnancy Accommodation Law acted as a new amendment to the already-expansive New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). The law took effect on January 30, 2014, for newly-hired employees and is about to take effect for existing and current employees on May 30th.
A former examiner at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has claimed she was fired as a result of her complaints about practices at Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. However, a federal district court in New York has dismissed the claim, stating the conduct alleged by the former examiner does not violate the whistleblower protection provisions of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act.
The Supreme Court recently ruled that lump sum severance payments made to laid-off employees can be subject to FICA taxes. This overrules a decision by the Sixth Circuit Court, which ruled that such payments did not have to be taxed.
In the case of U.S. v. Quality Stores, the store claimed $1 million in FICA tax refunds when it laid off thousands of employees after entering bankruptcy in 2001. In the fall of 2012, the Sixth Circuit ruled that the severance was not subject to FICA taxes.
As an employee, you spend much of your time and energy dedicated to your work and career. In return, you expect compensation but you also expect to be treated fairly, honestly and with respect. Unfortunately, workplace discrimination occurs all too often around the country and it acts a reminder of the difficulties many employees have to face.
Although it may seem to be a primitive concept to many, that pregnant women deserve the same protections that other groups receive regarding employment laws, it is not the case. While there have been some small and local victories, a national victory has yet to be gained.
Despite the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978’s bar on discrimination toward pregnant employees, many American women are forced out of their jobs or denied accommodations that would allow them to continue working once they become pregnant.
Ramon Alcantara, a former employee of Pebble Beach Co. for over 20 years, alleges he was fired as a result of age discrimination late in 2013. According to the complaint, Alcantara, who is over 55 years of age, injured his back while replacing a 50-pound pump motor at the beach and tennis club.
Diana St Gerard, 64, a nurse in the mental health unit at Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre, Long Island claims that she was mocked by colleagues who said her Haitian accent was “irritating.” More importantly, Ms. St Gerard alleges that she was fired after complaining that several white staffers discriminated against her, minority patients and their families. She went on to explain that a co-worker even mocked her with a voodoo doll because of her nationality.