Category archive: General

Lewellen v. Franklin: Missouri Supreme Court Holds Statutory Cap on Punitive Damages Unconstitutional

On September 9, 2014, the Missouri Supreme Court unanimously struck down the State’s punitive damage cap in Lewellen v. Franklin, 2014 WL 4425202 (Mo. banc Sept. 9, 2014). The plaintiff in Lewellen was a 77-year-old widow with less than $1,000 of monthly income who contracted to purchase a vehicle with National Auto Sales North’s (“National”)…

Checking the Criminal History of Applicants? – The law has changed

Effective January 1, 2015, the new Illinois Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act takes effect. The Act, signed by Governor Quinn on July 18, 2014, prohibits private employers with 15 or more employees from inquiring about or into, considering or requiring disclosure of criminal record or criminal history of an applicant for employment until the…

Evaluating Employees… If you do it, do it right

Employee evaluations are not fun. But, they can be important for many reasons. A properly executed evaluation can benefit both the employer and the employee by increasing efficiency and productivity and providing valuable and constructive feedback to the employee. It can also help an employee feel engaged in their work and connected to the organization….

Starbucks Barista Gets NLRB Backing Second Time Around

Note to Employers: don’t fire a worker who tells his boss to “go f *** ” herself in front of customers, then blow it by blaming the termination on his pro-union activities.

CLEAN UP ON AISLE 7: NLRB Nixes Kroger of Michigan’s Online Communications Policy

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently ordered the Kroger of Michigan Company (Kroger) to cease and desist maintaining its online communications policy, because it is “overbroad” and tends to chill employees from exercising their collective bargaining rights. Anita Granger was given a written warning for violating part of the policy, which barred employees from…

New Rights for Pregnant Employees on the Horizon

Legislation that would make it a civil rights violation for an employer to refuse to make “reasonable accommodations” for pregnant employees is nearer to becoming law. House Bill 8 amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to give pregnant employees a right to reasonable accommodations for conditions related pregnancy, childbirth or pregnancy related medical conditions. The…

CAUTION: Schedule Changes for an Employee Already Accommodated Under the ADA Can Violate the Act

Last month, the Northern District of Illinois recently ruled in Isbell v. John Crane, Inc., that an Employer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA” or “the Act”) when it unilaterally changed an Employee’s later start time as an accommodation for her difficulty functioning in early morning. For two years, the Employer granted the Employee…

MISSOURI EMPLOYERS BEWARE: The Missouri Supreme Court Lowers Standard of Proof for Work Comp Retaliation Claims

On April 15, 2014, in Templemire v. W & M Welding, Inc., the Missouri Supreme Court continued its pro employee interpretation of the employment at-will doctrine by significantly reducing the causality standard for a workers compensation retaliation claims. Prior to this ruling, Missouri law had long required an employee to prove that the alleged retaliatory…

The High Price of Not Posting EEOC Notices Just Got Higher

The EEOC recently announced an increase in the penalty for employers who fail to conspicuously post the equal employment opportunity (EEO) notices of rights of employees and job applicants. The penalty per violation has almost doubled as of April 18, 2014, from $110 to $210.

Severance Agreements: Employer Beware

In settling an existing charge of discrimination, administrative complaint or lawsuit, employers, upon advice of counsel, routinely obtain a release of all claims from the employee. This includes releasing any claims already asserted and any other potential claims the employee could assert in the future. Employers also utilize severance agreements as a means of minimizing…

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