Monday, July 7, 2008

The Latest Trend That Is Employment Litigation

Many employment litigation springs across the country. The trend is caused by dynamically broadening and expanding state labor laws. But lawyers are having a hard time. Corporate America will not easily give up without a fight.

Employment litigation takes time and money. In the meanwhile, the terminated, harassed or discriminated employee, as the case may be, gets nothing but the hope that the suit will pay off in the end. Fortunately for many, they get positive results. The long line of decided cases proves indeed.

A US Circuit Court of Appeals recently holds a hotel president personally liable for multiple wage-hour violations. What was before a suit against a company now involves managers and officers, personally. The trend is brought about by the practice of growing number of courts in liberally construing states labor laws. In effect, judges are now allowing potential lawsuits against individuals to proceed in employment litigation.

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission very recently charged Abingdon Wal-Mart with a $250,000 disability discrimination lawsuit for firing a long-time pharmacy technician because of gunshot disability.

The agency said that along with the payment of $250,000, Wal-Mart is also required to perform the following:

  • Observe the ADA and post a notice to employees regarding the same
  • Have all salaried supervisors and managers complete training on the ADA with annual refresher training for the next 3 years
  • Submit a list of all employees who have been denied reasonable accommodation and/or complained that they have been unlawfully denied reasonable accommodation or terminated because of their disabilities.
The US Department of Justice even has Employment Litigation Section which enforces Civil Rights and other federal laws prohibiting employment practices on the grounds of race, sex, religion and national origin against state and local government employers.

Since 2007, the Section has filed or authorized 18 and growing number of cases including a major “pattern or practice” prevailing in many employment litigations. This only prove the latest trend of many employees waking up and acting on their rights instead of sitting on them for fear of losing their jobs.