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- In a recent appellate decision, a court ruled that a hospital violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it terminated an employee who was on leave to receive treatment for alcohol abuse. The court found that hospital management referred to the employee as an alcoholic in company memos. Because the company considered the employee an alcoholic, he was protected under the ADA. (Moorer v. Baptist Memorial Health Care Center, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, No. 03-5855, 2005)

Quick Bytes: Monitoring workers

- A quarter of companies surveyed have fired workers for misusing the Internet or e-mail, according to the 2005 Electronic Monitoring & Surveillance Survey, cosponsored by the American Management Association and The ePolicy Institute.

Drug testing

- The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that a company cannot require an employee to pay the cost of his drug test. In the case, the company hired a new employee, Thomas Tow, on the condition that he pass a background check and drug test. Tow’s drug test was inconclusive. The company told Tow that he would have to pay for a new test before he would be hired. Tow sued the company. The court ruled that, in Iowa, a company must pay for such tests. (Thomas J. Tow v. Truck Country of Iowa, Inc., Supreme Court of Iowa, No. 04-0462, 2005)

Putting the Praise in Appraisals

- An effective performance-appraisal system ensures that employee issues are dealt with continually, not only at yearly reviews.

Workplace injury

- A new bill (H.B. 1260) introduced in the Minnesota Legislature would allow employees who are seriously injured on the job to sue their employers. Employers would be liable to an injured worker if they willfully or repeatedly violated the state’s occupational safety and health standards. Under current law, employers are granted immunity in such cases. The only recourse for an injured employee is to apply for workers’ compensation benefits.

Wrongful Termination

- A federal appeals court found that a company did not violate labor laws when it fired an employee who caused property damage.

Cursing the Boss

- NLRB has held that an employee fired when he cursed at his boss is entitled to reinstatement.

Background screening

- Michigan lawmakers are considering a bill ( S.B. 621) that would require all of the state’s 5,000 nursing homes to conduct criminal background checks on all prospective employees. Also, the bill would require these facilities to conduct annual criminal background checks on current workers.

Hiring Fraud

- A California appeals court ruled that a company committed fraud when it promised a salary that it knew was unattainable.

Negligent Hiring

- The Illinois Appeals Court has ruled that a transit company is not liable for hiring an employee who later raped a customer.


- A radio host fired after filing a complaint about a coworker has won a retaliation lawsuit.

Workplace Bullying: Consequences and Solutions

- Schoolyard bullies don't fade away, they grow up and continue their bullying at the office.

Sexual Harassment

- In the first case of its kind, the California Supreme Court has ruled that widespread sexual favoritism in the workplace can create a hostile workplace environment. While an isolated case of favoritism would not be grounds for a harassment charge, ruled the court, employees may sue if the message conveyed in the workplace is that women are sexual playthings or that they must engage in sexual conduct with supervisors to get ahead. In the case, a prison warden was conducting four simultaneous affairs and used his authority to get the women special treatment such as promotions and perks. (Miller v. Department of Corrections, Supreme Court of California, No. S114097, 2005)

Beyond Print

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