Site Map - Hiring \ Employment Issues

Who's the Safest Bet for the Job?

- Find out why the fun guy in the next cubicle may be the next accident waiting to happen.

Managing Maraginal Workers

- Some employees just try to skate by. Here's how to reenergize them and make them more productive.

How to Avoid Hiring Hazards

- How to hire without becoming a candidate for a lawsuit.


- A jury in a federal district court has awarded a former Federal Express employee $1.57 million in a workplace discrimination case. The jury found Federal Express liable for retaliation against and termination of Ted Maines, a company manager. Maines, who is white, attempted to promote an African-American employee and a Hispanic employee--both longtime Federal Express workers. Senior managers not only rejected Maines' suggestions, they promoted another person--a white female--instead. When Maines complained that he felt the move to be discriminatory, he was demoted five pay grades and was warned that he faced immediate termination for any other "mistake." (EEOC v. Federal Express, Federal District Court for the Middle District of Florida, No. 6:02-CV-1112-ORL-28DAB, 2004)


- The California Court of Appeal has ruled that it is illegal for an employer to fire an employee on suspicion that the worker might report safety violations to state agencies. In the case, another employee had already been fired after reporting such violations. During the plaintiff's termination, the employer said "I am afraid that you will be the next one to report me." The plaintiff filed suit and won. The court noted that taking action against an employee in anticipation of a complaint is no less retaliatory than action taken after the complaint has been made. (Lujan v. Minagar, California Court of Appeal, No. B170438, 2004)

Workers' compensation.

- The Supreme Court of Montana has ruled that an employer must pay workers' compensation benefits for an intoxicated employer who fell from a balcony during a conference. Overturning a lower court's ruling, the state supreme court held that the employee's after-hours drinking did not negate his widow's workers' compensation claim (Mindy Van Fleet v. Montana Association of Counties Workers' Compensation Trust, Montana Supreme Court, No. 04-206, 2004)

You Mean He Works for Us?

- Don’t be left asking yourself that question after a temporary or contract worker harms an employee or customer; make sure they’ve undergone the same screening as full-time staff.


- A federal appeals court has ruled that a woman who was fired approximately a month after she gave birth to a disabled child can pursue her claim of discrimination. The decision overturns a lower court’s summary judgment in favor of the company, which prevented the woman from taking her case to court. The judge ruled that the timing of the termination and the birth along with the woman’s successful 12-year career and excellent performance reviews were sufficient to move the case forward. (Strate v. Midwest Bankcentre, Inc., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, No. 03-4039, 2005).


- A federal appeals court has ruled that an employer is within its rights in seeking the HIV medical records of an employee.(Douglas Gajda v. Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, No. 04-0608-cv, 2005).

Checking the Checkers

- The background screening company you hire should be thoroughly vetted.

Background screening

- Gene Moran was hired as a paralegal in a law firm. However, in conducting a background check after he began work, the company learned that Moran had several felony convictions. The company requested Moran's resignation. Moran asked for the records the company used to make its decision, citing the California Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRA). The company mailed the information a day after receiving the request. Moran filed a lawsuit claiming that the firm violated the ICRA by not providing him with the information before it made its decision. A state appeals court found in favor of the firm, ruling that it had acted in good faith and had provided the information to Moran in a reasonable amount of time. (Moran v. Murtaugh, Miller, Meyer & Nelson, California Court of Appeal, No. G033706, 2005).


- A bill ( S.B. 5157) that would allow state agencies to purchase different fingerprinting systems has been approved by the Washington Senate and is now pending in the House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee. The bill would allow state agencies, including various law enforcement groups, to purchase any brand of fingerprinting system so long as the systems are interoperable. The bill would overturn a 1996 law that required all state agencies to purchase the same system. Another bill (S.B. 5553), which would require fingerprint background checks for purposes not related to criminal activity to be submitted electronically, has been approved by the Senate Health, Services, and Corrections Committee. The proposed legislation is currently awaiting action in the Washington State House Ways and Means Committee. The bill, which would have a significant effect on fingerprint background checks conducted during the hiring process, would provide $270,000 to help upgrade the current system. The proposed legislation also requires that the electronic fingerprints, such as those obtained by employers, be destroyed after the background check is complete.

Medical testing

- A federal appeals court has ruled that an employer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by basing a hiring decision on a medical test before the applicants had completed the rest of the hiring process. The court also allowed the applicants’ invasion of privacy claim to proceed to trial because the employer could not prove that its extensive blood testing procedure was standard in the industry. (Leonel v. American Airlines, Inc., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, No. 03-15890, 2005).

Beyond Print

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