Emotional Distress

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    One of the reasons employment litigation is so prevalent is that many federal and state employment laws allow prevailing employees to recover the attorneys' fees they incurred in bringing their lawsuit. The IRS recently issued guidance clarifying how to handle the tax treatment of the employee's attorneys' fees in a settlement agreement involving...
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    Although the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects employees from discrimination based on their association with a disabled individual in addition to protecting them from bias based on their own disabling condition, that cause of action wasn't available under Massachusetts law until recently. But a recent ruling from the Massachusetts...
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    At the end of summer, the Alaska Supreme Court addressed whether employees seeking damages for mental anguish open the door for an employer to obtain their mental health records. The court answered "maybe." If the claim is "garden variety" —i.e., nothing more than the distress that any healthy, well-adjusted person would likely feel as a...
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    A recent decision from the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals paves the way for a former employee's age discrimination claim to go to trial. The appellate court cited doubts about the employer's reason for eliminating the 64-year-old employee's position. Restructuring leads to changes in position For approximately four years, Maydene Simmons...
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    The Idaho Supreme Court recently denied an employee's age discrimination claim against the University of Idaho despite powerful age-biased statements by the school's president. Let's examine why the court rejected the employee's case. Background facts Lillian Hatheway resigned her administrative assistant position at the university after nine...
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    A new case interpreting California's Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation law (anti-SLAPP law) gives employers, managers, and coworkers who file counterclaims in response to employment lawsuits more guidance on how to avoid being SLAPPed. Although an employee who filed sexual harassment claims won a partial victory and got some factual...
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    Employers frequently resolve disputes with employees and former employees by paying some amount of money in exchange for a release of claims and the dismissal of the pending action. Sometimes the employee's attorney also receives payment as part of the settlement process. Avoiding or ending lawsuits in this manner can make good business sense....
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    An Alexandria federal court jury recently awarded $75,000 in emotional distress damages to disabled U.S. Army veteran Justin Slaby, who sued the FBI for disability discrimination after he was kicked out of its training program. The jury's award serves as a reminder that when you're dealing with job applicants and employees with disabilities, you...
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    In an August 2013 opinion, the Vermont Supreme Court rejected breach of contract and emotional distress claims filed by former city of Burlington employee Adam Cate and affirmed the trial court's dismissal of his lawsuit. The court's opinion contains helpful analysis of the standards that should be applied by Vermont courts in evaluating such...
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    Shasta Plunkett, a white superintendent in West Point's electric department, alleges he was forced out of his job when the city council shifted from majority white to majority black. Plunkett had worked for the city of West Point as a meter reader since 1999. He was promoted to interim superintendent in 2008. Times were tough for the city, and he...
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