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Baton Rouge Business and Commercial Law Blog

What are employer's rights with a worker returning from FMLA?

Louisiana workers who are eligible to take advantage of the benefits offered through the Family and Medical Leave Act are perfectly within their rights to do so provided the various criteria for eligibility are met. However, the employer's perspective is often lost in the shuffle. While employees certain have rights, so too do employers. If there is an issue with FMLA, many people are quick to cite employment law and try to file a legal case. But employers have the right to protect from lawsuits if they are working within the laws of the FMLA. Understanding when a case is frivolous and unfair is imperative for a business that is facing allegations of wrongdoing.

The worker who returns is required to have the same job that he or she left or one that is nearly identical. If that is not possible, then the new job must: involve the same or similar duties as the previous job with the same status and responsibilities; the same amount of effort, skill, authority and responsibility must be necessary; the pay must be identical as are the benefits; and the same work schedule must be provided at the same or a location that is nearby.

Employer liability claims and tangible employment action

Businesses that must make certain they are protected from employer liability claims when there are allegations of harassment will undoubtedly be aware of certain legal terms. One is "tangible employment action." When there are claims that a violation of employment law has taken place and an employee or former employee alleges sexual harassment, tangible employment action can be a key to the case.

The employer is liable for harassment by a supervisor if it results in a tangible employment action. This is when there is a significant change in employment status. If there are threats made and they are not carried out, this does not qualify. For there to be a tangible employment action, it is when the supervisor uses his or her position to act against subordinates. The criteria are: it is an official act from the enterprise; it is documented in the company's records; it can be reviewed by those above the supervisor; and it will generally need to be approved by the enterprise.

Employers are protected from allegations of violating ADA

Louisiana employers will often be the target of allegations that they have committed a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and this can lead to a lawsuit from the person who makes the claim. The ADA is designed to protect people who are disabled by giving them the same opportunity to work as those who are not disabled. That said, employers are not obligated to hire people who are disabled. They are simply required to consider them. There are factors that regulate alterations to the workplace to accommodate a disabled person. It is imperative for employers to understand how this law works to be shielded from unfair lawsuits.

If a disabled applicant seeks employment and is unqualified for it, he or she cannot claim they were discriminated against due to the disability. To be protected by the ADA, the person must be qualified to do the job. If not, there is no violation. Employers are not obligated to hire a person who is disabled if there are several qualified applicants for the job and one happens to have a disability. For example, if the job is one that requires speed and accuracy, they can hire the person who has those attributes.

Understanding breach of contract in Louisiana

Business contracts are the foundation of how things get done between one company and another or a company and an individual in Louisiana. It is unfortunate that not all contracts will go as planned and a contract dispute can arise. When there are issues between those who have agreed to a contract with each other, it is possible that a breach of contract will be alleged. Having legal help when this comes up is an integral part of a successful outcome.

A breach of contract happens when there are agreements in place and there was a failure on the part of one party to complete it as contracted. There are numerous factors that can be considered a breach including not completing the job on time; not performing according to the terms; or not doing the job at all. There are two categories for a breach of contract: immaterial and material. This will be imperative when the legal situation is hashed out or there is an available remedy. The circumstances play a large role in whether there was a breach of contract. A small issue that is minor and out of the party's control will likely be deemed immaterial if it has no influence on the outcome. If there is a major influence on the outcome, then it will likely be deemed material.

Understanding employment law and the types of harassment

Accusations of harassment can do significant damage to a Louisiana business. This is true whether it is sexual harassment or any other form of harassment. Knowing the different types of harassment under the law is essential for the employer to formulate a defense. There are two kinds of unlawful harassment. They are "this for that" - also known as quid pro quo; and a hostile work environment form of harassment.

Quid pro quo is generally perceived to mean that there will be decisions in the workplace made based on the person who claims to be the victim accepting or rejecting sexual advances and requests for sexual favors. However, there can be other forms of quid pro quo. For example, if conduct is unwelcome based on the employee's religious affiliation, this too can fall into this category of harassment. Often, this kind of harassment is alleged against someone in a position of authority over the person who asserts that he or she is the victim. There can be threats of firing, demotion or depriving the person of a promotion.

What are employer protections against undue hardship with ADA?

All Louisiana businesses are interested in adhering to the law and offering employment to anyone who is qualified to do the job. In general, following the Americans with Disabilities Act is not something that people must be compelled to do by threat of legal filing. But, there are times when the cost of the changes that must be made to accommodate a person who is disabled in any way can prove too costly to be viable. While there might be disagreement on this point by the employee or prospective employee, businesses also have protections under the ADA to shield them from undue hardship.

If the reasonable accommodation would cause undue hardship, the employer is not legally obligated to provide it. The case will be assessed individually based on the circumstances. Numerous factors are considered. They include: what the accommodations are and how much they cost; what the facility's financial resources are; how many people work there; what the changes will do to the expenses and resources of the facility; the location and its size; the type of operation; and how the changes will impact the facility.

Employment law violations lodged against labor contractor

A company in Louisiana that is accused of wrongdoing when hiring workers can face a litany of problems defending itself. This is particularly problematic when there is a legal filing from the U.S. government. Companies have various policies when finding workers, and allegations are often inevitable. Regardless of the situation, these companies must make certain that they are protected under the law. Employers are accorded the same protections as workers under employment law. Understanding and exercising this right is vital to the maintenance and success of any business.

A lawsuit filed against a shipyard labor contractor based in Louisiana was filed by the U.S. Department of Justice. It alleges that the company committed violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) with acts of discrimination. Applications and employees were said to have been eliminated based on citizenship. The company, which provides shipyard workers on a contract basis, is alleged to have limited the documents prospective workers could give to show that they are eligible to work in the U.S.

Important points employees should remember about FMLA

Louisiana workers have certain rights under the law. One right is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Certain employees can to take time off without fear of losing their job if it is for specific family and medical reasons. This is unpaid leave. Knowing which employers are covered and what employees are eligible is a basic matter that is often forgotten if there is a dispute or misunderstanding about FMLA. This is especially true for employers who are facing accusations of violating FMLA.

FMLA is only applicable for certain employers. They must meet various criteria to fall under this law. It must be an employer in the private sector who has 50 or more employees who worked 20 or more workweeks in the prior calendar year. This includes a joint employer or a new owner of a covered business. A public agency such as a local, state or Federal government is covered no matter how many employees it has. A school -- public or private, elementary or secondary -- is covered no matter how many employees it has.

Legal help with construction in Louisiana

Louisianans who choose to get into the construction business must understand the rough terrain they will face as the work on a construction project. Although most customers will be happy with a construction company's work, there will be inevitable complaints about certain aspects. It is not ideal to be facing construction litigation, but when it does arise, it is imperative to have legal help to guide the business owner through it.

There is a litany of issues that can arise during construction work. There can be disputes with delays in the completion of a project, an alleged defect in the structure, payments being withheld for services rendered, accusations of defective work, defective design, an unforeseen circumstance, claims for extra work that was done and unpaid for, a dispute over bidding, a mechanics' lien, problems with regulatory agencies, a termination of the agreement, and much more.

Woman says she was fired after harassment by company owner's son

When there is an allegation of sexual harassment in the workplace in Louisiana, there may be an automatic expectation that it is based in truth. This circumstance can be made worse when the person who made the allegations is subsequently dismissed from a job. While these cases take the appearance of wrongdoing, that does not mean that there was an automatic violation of state and federal employment law. A business always needs legal help to protect from lawsuits. If employment litigation is moving forward, then it becomes even more imperative to be protected.

A lawsuit was filed against a Louisiana company on behalf of a woman who asserts she was fired from her job just days after she alleged that she was subjected to sexual harassment by the son of the company's owner. The company has been in business for nearly two decades and began at the home of a Louisiana resident. It now has several locations throughout the Pelican State. The filing was made by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It says that the case was filed after no agreement was made through negotiations.

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