Author: Kelly Ann Bird

Can a USERRA Claim Be Released as Part of a Separation Agreement?

In the most recent issue of the New Jersey Labor & Employment Quarterly, Kelly Ann Bird and Zeenat Basrai analyze whether an employee can release claims under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”) as part of a separation agreement. The scant caselaw construing USERRA has resulted in confusion over whether USERRA claims can be waived, and if so, what language a waiver must include to be enforceable. The article discusses practical steps employers can take to protect themselves from an employee bringing a USERRA claim after signing a separation or settlement agreement, such as drafting the waiver using clear and unambiguous language and giving the employee sufficient time to review and consider the agreement before signing it.

The Gibbons Employment Academy Webinar Series – Disability and Reasonable Accommodations

The second program in our Gibbons Employment Academy Webinar Series, focusing on Disability and Reasonable Accommodations, is scheduled for next Wednesday, June 29, from 8:30 to 10:30 am. The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 and the EEOC’s recently issued regulations explaining and implementing that Act have been widely touted as significantly expanding the definition of disability. It is anticipated that as a result of the Act, more employees than ever before will be considered disabled and will be seeking accommodations. Employers must understand what is deemed a disability under the law and what steps are necessary when employees request accommodations for their disabilities. The webinar will explore these topics as well as provide a survey of accommodations that have been deemed reasonable and those that have not.

Introducing the Gibbons Employment Academy Webinar Series

As highlighted in our January “Focus on Training in 2011” post, training programs directed to human resources and supervisory employees are a win-win for employers. Whether as a primer or refresher, a legal overview and update on current developments will enable decision-makers to work within the boundaries of the law and reduce costs associated with employee complaints and litigation. Although employees are entitled to various protections under the law, employers must feel that they are empowered to make decisions and manage their employees, from the hiring process through separation.

Focus on Training in 2011

2011 should be the year in which all companies renew their commitment to training employees. Specifically, all employees should be trained on important company policies, such as the anti-harassment and discrimination policies, and human resources employees and supervisors should be trained on consistently problematic topics such as performance management, accommodating disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act and leaves under the Family and Medical Leave Act and similar state laws.