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DOL Opinion Letter: Parents May Claim FMLA Leave For IEP Meetings

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, of American households with children, around 20% have a child with special needs. Now, the Department of Labor has ruled that attending meetings about a child's individual education plan (IEP) is an acceptable use of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave.

The ruling comes in the form of an opinion letter. This is where an individual or employer has asked the Labor Department for a ruling in a particular fact situation. Technically, opinion letters only apply to that individual situation, but people and employers can generally rely on it in similar fact situations.

What Do Managers Need To Know About Reasonable Accommodations?

Federal law requires most employers to provide reasonable accommodations for workers with disabilities and religious needs. A reasonable accommodation is generally a change in the way the work is performed. It could include schedule changes, technology changes or even allowing the person to work remotely. The accommodation is considered reasonable if it would not create "undue hardship," meaning significant cost or disruption, for the employer.

Many employers designate a single person or small group to handle religious or disability accommodations. Doing so can help ensure that the process is handled by knowledgeable people and is fair to all employees. Making sure the designated people understand their legal responsibilities can prevent discrimination based on disability or religion.

False Claims Act Whistleblowers Can Reap Substantial Rewards

Have you become aware of fraud in a federal government contract or program? If you are considering blowing the whistle, you might qualify for a reward. In successful cases, whistleblowers who file under the False Claims Act are eligible for between 15% and 30% of any money recovered on behalf of the government.

That can be a substantial amount. If the fraud is proven, the defendant can be held liable for three times the actual damages the government sustained. Additionally, the defendant is generally required to pay an additional $5,000 to $10,000 for each fraudulent claim it made against the government.

Google Settles Job Seekers' Age Discrimination Claims for $11 Mln

Cheryl F. applied for jobs at Google four times over the course of seven years. Despite "highly pertinent qualifications and programming experience," however, and despite staff interviewers apparently finding her to be a good fit for the company, she was never hired. She believes that it was because she is over 40.

Furthermore, Cheryl alleges that Google follows "a systematic pattern and practice of discriminating" against people over 40, which is arguably a violation of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). She filed a class action and 227 people joined.

Tesla Whistleblower Files Federal Retaliatory Termination Suit

A former Tesla employee has filed a federal lawsuit claiming, among other things, that he was fired in retaliation for blowing the whistle. He reported incidents of theft, improper surveillance, improper contract awards and even drug trafficking, which he alleges took place at Tesla's Gigafactory in Nevada.

He blew the whistle to the Securities and Exchange Commission under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), which means he could receive up to 30% of any money the SEC ultimately recovers from Tesla in the matter.

DOL Issues 3 New Opinion Letters On Wage And Hour Compliance

The U.S. Department of Labor recently issued three new opinion letters on overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Opinion letters cover specific fact situations presented by employers, workers or other parties and are only legally binding on the party who requested the letter. However, employers may be able to claim safe harbor if they rely on an official opinion letter.

Rounding out hours worked

World Cup Crowd Chants 'Equal Pay' For US Women's Soccer Team

Sometimes, the call for pay equity is louder than others. The principle that the U.S. women's national soccer team ought to be paid at least as well as their male counterparts received a very loud endorsement from fans on Sunday. After the women's team won the World Cup for the fourth time, fans in the French stadium began chanting "EQUAL PAY!"

It has often been said that women have to work twice as hard to seem half as good as their male counterparts. That seems to be the case with the women's national soccer team, which currently makes less than the men's team despite garnering greater success and revenue.

At Wells Fargo Advisors, Women Punished More, Make Fewer Mistakes

A 2018 working paper by a team of finance professors found that female brokers are typically disciplined more severely for misconduct than are male brokers. This, the professors found, was especially true at Wells Fargo Advisors.

According to regulatory disclosures from between 2005 and 2015 involving financial advisors from 44 firms, Wells Fargo Advisors stood out. After allegations of misconduct, 41% of male financial advisors either resigned or were fired. The number was 69% for female advisors, and Wells' was the largest gap the professors identified.

Female Oracle Employees Sue For Gender-Based Pay Discrimination

Three women from Oracle Corp. allege that the database company systematically pays men more than women. They are seeking class-action status so they can represent over 4,000 other women who may be affected, but class-action status can be hard to achieve, especially in employment law cases.

The women claim that, for years, Oracle has underpaid women for "substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility, and performed under similar working conditions." They called special attention to the fact that, company-wide, compensation decisions are made at Oracle's headquarters.

Supreme Court Finds Exception To EEOC Pre-Suit Filing Requirement

Before an employee can file a discrimination lawsuit against their employer, they must first exhaust all internal remedies the company offers. Then, the worker must file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or a corresponding state agency such as the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights or the Virginia Division of Human Rights. This is meant to ensure the worker exhausts the available administrative remedies, as well.

What happens, however, if an employee skips the agency step and heads straight to court? If exhausting the procedural remedies is required before a court can take jurisdiction over the case, then failing to do so could result in the case being thrown out at any point in the proceedings. If it is not a jurisdictional issue, though, then the employer would need to object to the lawsuit on the grounds that the administrative remedies had not been exhausted. If they did not object, the lawsuit could move forward.

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