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October 2014 Archives

Chipotle accused of wage theft in class action suits

Chipotle became the latest fast-food chain to be accused of forcing employees to work off the clock and without pay. Over the past two months, a class action lawsuit has been filed in Colorado and Minnesota on behalf of Chipotle workers.

Can Employer Sponsored Wellness Programs Require Medical Testing

Nearly two-thirds of smaller companies, with 199 workers or less, and a vast majority with companies of 200 or more workers have employee workplace "wellness programs." As part of that benefit, employees may earn a discount on gym memberships; have access to weight loss or smoking cessation programs or other informational and healthy lifestyle resources. The mission of these programs is certainly worthwhile; but there are some aspects that may be illegal. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") has filed lawsuits against two (2) companies in late 2014, claiming some wellness programs, which included non-voluntary medical exams and non-job-related lifestyle inquiries, may violate the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA").

Can an Employer Refuse to Hire the Unemployed?

I recently had a consultation with an executive recruiter who stated that he recommended a specific worker to one of his corporate clients. However, after numerous interviews, the company decided not to hire this particular worker, simply because she was unemployed. Discrimination against the unemployed is rampant. Certain employers will not consider applicants who have been unemployed for more than six (6) months; while other jobs ads explicitly require applicants to be "currently employed," at the time of application. As of today, only Washington D.C. has a law making it illegal to discriminate against the unemployed. Oregon and New Jersey currently ban discriminatory language in job listings but not the practice of excluding unemployed applicants. Several other states are considering legislation on similar measures; including allowing unsuccessful applicants to sue under the same discrimination laws that apply to race or gender bias. However, it is unclear whether state laws would have much impact. New Jersey's law has been in place since 2011, and to date only one company has been cited for violations. As part of the ill-fated American Jobs Act in 2011, President Obama proposed banning job ads that discourage the unemployed and giving spurned job-seekers a way to file claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The Bill, however, did not make it through Congress. In Colorado, a House Bill forbidding employers from stating in job postings that unemployed candidates would not be considered was struck down in 2012.

When does a breach of contract dispute occur?

Small business owners enter contracts all of the time, from the purchase agreements they have with their vendors to the rent agreements they have with their landlords. If you are a business owner, chances are that you have entered dozens of contracts while in business. And if you have been told anything about contracts, it’s probably that you must get everything in writing.

Are you making any of these common business mistakes?

This week, Forbes featured an article highlighting 15 Decisions That Could Ruin Your Business. Some of the mistakes were more obvious, like being lazy, unethical or ignoring feedback from customers; but other behaviors on the list are probably things many Colorado business owners do every day without realizing that they could be negatively affecting their businesses.