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Employment Law

Can You Fire an Employee who Refuses to Participate in an Internal Investigation? The 2nd Circuit Says Yes.

When an employee is accused of misconduct, particularly when those allegations are criminal in nature, conducting an internal investigation is a best practice. But what is an organization to do when the alleged offender refuses to show up for an interview? May it go so far as to fire the employee, even if that means the employee loses out on benefits or other compensation? A recent case from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals says it can.

Dealing With Problem Employees—or Maybe Just Problems

We’d like to introduce Kim Levings, a management and leadership coach. What does this have to do with law? Most legal problems are personal—or personnel—problems gone to seed. Read Kim’s advice on how to deal with the weeds in your firm.

Case Exposes 12 Reasons to Have an Adequate Investigative Process

Recently, a court has allowed to go forward most of a case against the Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco. The case alleges that the school did not investigate, refused to apply the ministerial exception defense, and did not find any formal religious decision-making process. What lessons can be learned here?

ADA - Part 2: When Is Requiring Examination Permissible?

Now that the Sixth Circuit has said that requiring a worker to get psychological counseling is equivalent to requiring a medical examination under the ADA, the question is when requiring such an examination is permissible anyway.

ADA - Part 3: When is a Psychological Examination a Business Necessity?

Requiring an employee to undergo psychological counseling may violate Americans with Disabilities Act as previously discussed in Part 1 and Part 2. The Sixth Circuit just issued another opinion in favor of the ambulance driver, Kroll. The Sixth Circuit was not too happy with Kroll’s employer. How can you demonstrate that counseling is “job-related and consistent with business necessity”?

Four Points on Managing Ex-Employees and Corporate Data

A helpful recent white paper from Intermedia, based on research, discusses corporate data and how to manage it, particularly when employees leave the organization. Here are four important points from the paper to consider.

Initial Concerns in Setting up an Investigation

InvestigatorA good investigation requires many complex skills that include managing the investigation, doing interviews, and making credibility determinations. A credibility determination requires the investigative team to analyze the facts and decide the truth of the matter, sometimes with conflicting evidence. The investigation must be done skillfully and must consider legal issues.

Don't Ask Me to Be Your Facebook Friend: New Social Media Law in Colorado

With the amount of information that exists about people on the web, naturally employers are tempted to check up on it, for purposes of hiring, evaluations, and firing.  Some employers take this to the level of requesting, even requiring, current or prospective employees to give their passwords or allow access onto their profiles. At least in Colorado, this practice must come to a screeching halt.

ADA - Part 1: Monitoring Spiritual and Mental Health Without Violating the ADA

A new Sixth Circuit case, Kroll v. White Lake Ambulance Authority, decided on August 22, 2012, potentially raises a new set of problems for churches and mission organizations. Requiring employees to get mental health counseling is likely a violation of the Americans with Disabilities except in certain narrow circumstances. Religious organizations should consider what circumstances apply and be prepared. 

The Last Straw Better Not Be Religious

Nyaboga v. Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, a recent unpublished cased from the Minnesota Court of Appeals, discusses whether an employee was fired for legitimate reasons or for religious reasons. Nyaboga was fired, then she sued over whether she was entitled to unemployment benefits. She had worked as a nurse, and asked not to be scheduled for Saturday shifts when she got more serious about her religious beliefs as a Seventh-Day Adventist. Her employer required her to find people to replace her on that shift (which the Court hinted might have been a separate problem, but was not discussed in the opinion). By the time Nyaboga lost her job, she had been tardy 58 times and warned repeatedly. She was warned that she would lose her job if she were absent one more time or tardy two more times.

What is the Real Women’s Rights Problem?

Theresa Lynn in the kitchenEach side in the debate over the mandate for insurance for reproductive services grapples with a real problem, but the mandate is only a symbolic solution to the underlying women’s rights issue. The HHS mandate requires businesses, including many religious institutions, to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives and some abortifacients. Religious institutions that are morally opposed but not exempt deeply oppose the mandate. The reality is that the mandate creates a free exercise problem without solving a genuine women’s rights issue.

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