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.
Internships are a great way for businesses to get some extra help while providing students with a valuable learning experience. Many years ago, it was widely accepted that most interns would work for no pay because it was viewed as a continued educational experience.
In Colorado, the Workplace Accommodations for Nursing Mothers Act of 2008 ("Colorado Nursing Mothers Act") requires public and private employers who have one or more employees to provide reasonable, unpaid break time or permit an employee to use paid break time, meal time, or both, each day to allow the employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for up to two (2) years after the child's birth. An employer shall make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location in close proximity to the work area, other than a toilet seat, where an employee can express breast milk in privacy. Reasonable efforts mean any effort that would not impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business. Undue hardship means any action that requires significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to factors such as the size of the business, the financial resources of the business, or the nature and structure of its operation, including consideration of the special circumstances of public safety. Before an employee may seek litigation for a violation of this section, there shall be nonbinding mediation between the employer and the employee.
When a current or former employee raises allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace, the news can be very damaging to a company, whether the allegations are true or not. Sexual harassment allegations can not only affect the reputation of a company but can also disrupt the working environment.
While volunteering at an employment law legal clinic recently a prospective client called in about a problem she was facing at work. The woman was approved for leave under the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") as a caregiver for her son but also needed to have surgery. Her employer told her that any time off for the surgery and recovery would also count against her FMLA leave and she wanted to know if that was legal.
Generally speaking, an employer can be held liable for a supervisor's conduct and even another employee's actions toward other employees. However, while an employer is strictly liable for the behavior of a supervisor; the employer is only liable for a non-supervisor's actions if the employer is negligent in their response to prior complaints. In two separate cases decided in 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States and the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit reviewed the definition of what constitutes a "supervisor."
Non-compete agreements are growing increasingly common in Colorado and the rest of the country. From an employer's standpoint, non-compete agreements are aimed at managing the risks that are inherent to an employee's job change.
Allegations of discrimination on the job should always be taken very seriously by managers and employers in Colorado. If someone is being treated unfairly because of their gender, race or religion, they have the right to take legal action against their employers for engaging in or allowing such behavior to occur.
Lady Gaga's former assistant, Jennifer O'Neill sued her on December 2011, claiming she was so severely overworked she's now owed more than $393,000 in unpaid overtime from 2009 to March 2011. O'Neill earned a $75,000 salary while working for the pop star. She is claiming 7,168 hours of unpaid overtime. O'Neill also states she did not get breaks to eat or sleep and was routinely called to deal with "spontaneous, random matters in the middle of the night."
On September 2, 2011, Administrative Law Judge Arthur J. Amchan issued the decision that employees' off-hours griping about their working conditions was protected by the National Labor Relations Act. This Act, 29 U.S.C. § 151-169, was created in 1935 to protect the rights of employees and employers, to encourage collective bargaining, and to curtail certain private sector labor and management practices, which can harm the general welfare of workers, business and the U.S. economy. The Act also created the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) which is an independent federal agency vested with the power to prevent and remedy unfair labor practices committed by private sector employers and unions.