In Our Judgment
Providing insight on developments in labor and employment law affecting East Tennessee employers and employees.
Many of us have been in a job interview on one side of the table or the other during which this very common question is asked - “what are you currently making?” There is now, however, a growing movement questioning the legitimacy of inquiries regarding an applicant’s prior wages for the purpose of setting her rate of pay if she is hired. This includes an expanding body of judicial opinion holding that asking an applicant about her prior wages to set the amount of her pay once hired violates federal and state laws respecting equal pay.
More businesses are requiring their employees who regularly work with customers or who possess certain types of sensitive information to sign some form of contract restricting the employee’s ability to engage in competitive activity once the employment terminates.
One of the most difficult recurring problems for employment lawyers is the employee who requests an extended unpaid medical leave with the expectation that she be able to return to work when medically cleared months later. The common fact pattern involves an employer subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) being informed that an employee who is about to exhaust her 12 weeks FMLA leave still is not able to return to work due to a medical condition. The FMLA only guarantees to employees a maximum of 12 weeks unpaid leave within a 12 month period. It does not require an employer to extend that leave, nor does it penalize the employer for terminating an employee who is unable to return to work after exhaustion of FMLA leave.