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Good Policy Can Prevent Hostile Workplace Lawsuits

- Security Management talks to Gerald L. Maatman, Jr., about how companies can avoid litigation by establishing a comprehensive harassment prevention and response policy.

Elsewhere in the Courts: ADA

- A hospital employee may not pursue his lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because he was not qualified for the job. The employee’s requested accommodation—teaching hospital physicians and staff the symptoms and triggers of Asperger’s syndrome—was not an issue, according to the court. The hospital did not need to make the accommodation because the employee was unable to perform an essential function of his job, interacting with patients. The court also noted that the employee rejected the hospital’s offer to help him find a job in pathology or another specialty that required little or no patient interaction.

U.S. Judicial Decisions: Retaliation

- The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that an employee, fired after his coworker fiancée filed a sexual discrimination lawsuit against their employer, may sue for discrimination. The Court ordered that a lower court make a decision on the case.

Workplace Safety

- A driver who was fired after refusing to drive a truck that he considered unsafe is not protected under Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. OSHA rules make it illegal to fire a commercial truck driver for refusing to operate an unsafe vehicle. The driver, ruled the court, was not fired for his safety concerns but for his volatile and hostile attitude when he complained.

Employee Records

- The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that a company retaliated against an employee when it fired her for taking confidential documents to bolster her lawsuit. The court ruled that the employee was protected in taking the documents without authorization because she was giving them to her attorney.

Company Settles Case Over Negative Facebook Posting

- The National Labor Relations Board has announced a settlement in the case of an employee who was fired for posting negative comments about her supervisor on Facebook.

Elsewhere in the Courts: Discovery

- A district court judge has ruled that the jury in a breach-of-contract case be instructed to draw a “negative inference” over the mishandling of electronic discovery. In the case, two former employees are suing SanDisk over ownership of a software program. At trial, SanDisk claimed to have lost the hard drives for the computers used by the two former employees despite being warned to keep all potential evidence.

Elsewhere in the Courts: ADA

- A federal appeals court has ruled that a deaf employee may sue his employer for violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act because the company failed to provide the employee with a sign language interpreter at critical meetings. Instead, a coworker provided written notes of the meetings, which often included only main points and failed to note questions and answers.

Sexual Harassment

- A federal appeals court has ruled that a male airport worker may sue his employer for sexual harassment after receiving unwanted attention from a female supervisor. A lower court had ruled in favor of the company after the worker testified that another man might not have considered the overtures harassment. The appeals court overturned the decision, ruling that the crux was that the worker found the advances unwelcome and the company’s response to the harassment was insufficient.

False Arrest

- A school teacher who was indicted and arrested for having a sexual relationship with her student may proceed with a lawsuit against the school due to a potentially biased investigation, but she may not sue the individuals involved.

Discrimination

- In the first case filed under the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, an appeals court has ruled that the law applies only to discrimination in compensation. The law does not apply to other types of discrimination claims, such as failure to promote.

Supreme Court Rules on Retaliation Case

- Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that an employee may sue his employer under federal antidiscrimination laws for firing him to hurt another employee, his fiance.

U.S. Supreme Court Issues Ruling in Background Screening Case

- The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a background screening program used by a government agency does not violate employee privacy rights.
 




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