Employment law is constantly changing, and one aspect of employment that has lately received increased attention is paid leave. The White House Council of Economic Advisers has reported that paid leave is offered to only 59 percent of employees in the United States, and the U.S. is the only developed country whose federal policy doesn't offer paid maternity leave.
In late August, an Indiana warehouse used to process Walmart merchandise was evacuated because of a toxic contamination, and one worker has brought a negligence claim against the mega-retailer. The lawsuit seeks class action status.
Serious allegations have been leveled in a class action lawsuit against a slew of major studios and digital animation companies. According to the suit, which was brought on behalf of a former effects artist at DreamWorks Animation, "some of the most recognizable names in the American entertainment and technology industries" conspired to establish "non-poaching" agreements that effectively deprived class members of millions in compensation.
Under the qui tam provisions in the federal False Claims Act (FCA), employees, corporations, and private or public interest organizations may sue a company that defrauds the federal government. The legal action is brought on behalf of the government and the whistleblower, and an individual who brings a qui tam claim may stand to receive a sizable reward.
Employers who fail to give proper notification of a mass layoff could be subject to penalties, including payment of wages the laid-off employees would have received after the required notification of the layoff. Individual workers whose employment has been inappropriately terminated in a mass layoff may bring a lawsuit against the employer on behalf of other workers who are similarly situated. This sort of class action can result not only in compensation for employees' lost wages, but also civil penalties against the employer.
While whistleblowers are protected under federal laws such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Act, some states -- Connecticut, for instance -- have laws that go further than federal law in protecting employees who report corporate wrongdoing. Now the Connecticut Supreme Court is in a position either to restrict or maintain the whistleblower protections that apply on the state level.