EMPLOYER-EMPLOYEE: SOME THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW WHICH MAY KEEP YOU OUT OF COURT – PART I

Here are five points relating to the employer-employee relationship which very few employers and employees know about.  Hopefully, they will help you avoid unnecessary and expensive problems.

“I know that I can be liable under the Arizona Workers Act if I have an illegal employee, but most of my work is done with independent contractors.” Under the Arizona law, you are also liable for using independent contractors if you know they are illegal.

“We treat our female employee fairly, and let her off when she has a baby, but now I have a couple men wanting time off when their wives have babies.”  You are not required to give maternity leave or paternity leave, but if you give either one, you have to give both.

“If I don’t want to do drug testing, I don’t have to.”  In most cases, that is true.  However, If you comply with the provisions of the Drug Testing of Employees Act, you will enjoy protection against litigation involving employees using drugs.  The same goes for the Blacklisting laws: you don’t have to use them, but doing so can give you protection against liability in connection with referrals.

“I get those ads from people selling the laminated posters for federal and Arizona requirements.  The ads say I have to get them, but I don’t want to pay, and besides they’re space-consuming and ugly.”  The posters which apply to your business must go up, and it is in your interest to put them up.  For instance, if a worker gets hurt on the job, you want her under workers comp, not the court system.  But if the workers comp poster was not up, she will be able to jump to the courts and sue you for much more.

“Employees getting garnished is an unnecessary expense imposed on my administrative people.”  That may be, but know that it is illegal to take action against an employee because he is getting garnished.

More tips next time. . .

 

EMPLOYER-EMPLOYEE: WHAT ARE THE RIGHTS OF A PREGNANT EMPLOYEE?

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 provided protection against discrimination on the basis of sex.  But it turned out that that category was too general to protect one group of people, namely, pregnant women.  So in 1978, the Civil Rights Act was amended by the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act to include pregnancy in the prohibition against sexual discrimination.

 

What does that mean for pregnant women?  Basically, they are entitled to the same protections that apply with respect to age and disablement discrimination.

 

Pregnant women cannot be denied what they would be entitled to if not pregnant with respect to hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotion, layoffs, training, fringe benefits (like leave and health insurance), or any other term of condition of employment.  If she experiences any medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, she is entitled to the same special dispensations that any other temporarily disabled employee would get, like light duty, alternative assignments, or disability leave.  The PDA also makes it illegal to harass a woman about her pregnancy to the point that the work environment becomes hostile or offensive.  It is also illegal to make an adverse employment decision (e.g., demotion or termination) on the basis of the pregnant condition.

 

Pregnant women are also protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires that the employer make reasonable accommodations for the pregnant woman, unless this puts the employer to an undue burden.  Also, the Family & Medical Leave Act permits the pregnant woman to take a 12 week (unpaid) leave of absence to have her baby (provided the employer has more than 50 workers and the woman has 12 months tenure).

 

You cannot file an action in court for pregnancy discrimination until you have first made a claim to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and it has rejected your claim (which it almost always does).

 

This is not an action you’re going to be able to handle yourself.  You need to seek counsel from an employment lawyer.  The best advice is to seek counsel at the first sign of the discrimination.