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Is Your Employer Cheating You On Your Pay? “Meal Break” Clue #1

Clue #1:  You’re an hourly employee who often has to work through lunch, but your employer automatically deducts half-hour “Meal Breaks” from your time, Federal law: the Fair Labor Standards Act, requires that you be paid at least minimum wage (or overtime) for all working time.  If your employer knows or should have known that you did not take a half-hour meal break, it breaks the law in deducting that time if the deduction means that your average pat was less than the minimum wage when your pay rate for that week, dividing total pay by hours actually worked, is less than the minimum wage; or if you worked more than 40 hours that week, because the deduction means that you did not get time and a half for all hours worked over 40. State law: Many States have wage payment laws requiring employers to pay the agreed hourly rate…
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What is the Proper Role for Dispositive Motions in Arbitration?

To achieve speedy resolutions, and to resolve matters as cost-effectively as possible, arbitrators should be careful in allowing the filing of dispositive motions. They make sense for gateway issues, but not for issues going to the substance of the merits. Allowing such motions generally would lengthen the time required to resolve cases, and multiply discovery to the magnitude needed in Federal courts. When trials are held on affidavits, the parties need a lot of depositions because that may be their only opportunity to examine the other sides’ witnesses. Ruling out trials by affidavits in the bulk of cases allows the promise of arbitration–faster, cheaper and fair resolutions–to be realized. Parties need to know at the outset what will and will not be allowed, so they that can cut their discovery needs. Continue reading

What Does It Mean to Be an “At Will” Employee?

“At will” is a legal phrase that means the employer has the right to fire an employee at any time, for any reason, including a senseless, mean, spiteful, or arbitrary reason, as long as the reason is not unlawful. An “at will” employment can be ended at the will of either the employer or the employee. An employment contract that has no definite duration, and that has no limitation on the employer’s ability to fire the employee, is normally “at will.” Continue reading

Common-Sense Suggestions to the EEOC

The EEOC has extremely important tasks in receiving and handling charges of employment discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, but is following self-defeating procedures and failing to solve longstanding problems. Some common-sense changes would work far better for the Commission, the charging parties, and employers, and would make the Commission’s limited resources more productive. Here are my ideas. Continue reading