February 12, 2014

Labor & Employment Law | USERRA Discrimination Claim

Client Alert

In this Issue:
OSHA 300A Deadline Reminder
Vermont Minimum Wage Increase
Vermont Supreme Court Finds for Employer in USERRA Discrimination Claim

OSHA 300A Deadline Reminder

Employers subject to OSHA’s applicable recordkeeping regulations should note the deadline to post the annual OSHA 300A Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illness. For regulatory compliance, employers must accurately prepare Form 300A, have the document signed by a company executive, and post the document by February 1. Additionally, employers must keep Form 300A posted until April 30. Following April 30, employers may take down the Form 300A posting, but must still retain the Form 300A, as well as the corresponding OSHA Forms 300 and 301 for five years. During an OSHA workplace inspection, the 300-series forms may be requested, so employers are advised to use the February 1 deadline as a convenient reminder to check for accuracy and proper retention of all its OSHA forms and records.

Vermont Minimum Wage Increase

Each year, Vermont statute provides for an increase in the State minimum wage. For 2014, Vermont’s minimum wage rate increased on January 1 to $8.73 per hour. The rate for “service or tipped” employees increased to $4.23 per hour. Additionally, the allowance for meals and lodging an employer may deduct increased as well. Vermont law requires all employers to post the minimum wage rates. Employers can locate updated posters online.

Vermont Supreme Court Finds For Employer in USERRA Discrimination Claim

The Vermont Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of the employer in a claim by an employee that he had been terminated and discriminated against based on his membership in the Vermont National Guard, in violation of the Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”). In upholding the Superior Court’s finding of summary judgment in favor of the employer, the Vermont Supreme Court described the employer’s strong managerial practices that helped discredit the discrimination claims.

First, the employer was able to show it used only business-related factors, such as a candidate’s similar past experience and applicable training and education, in making its promotion decision. This helped to overcome unsupported claims by the employee that his lack of promotion was motivated by his membership in the Vermont National Guard.

Additionally, despite stray comments by some supervisors, the decision-makers involved in the promotion and discharge had not made any comments or taken any actions to show discriminatory animus, and instead focused only on the Plaintiff’s performance and qualifications in making decisions regarding the Plaintiff’s employment.

Lastly, strong performance documentation by the employer, including written documentation of verbal warnings and thorough performance evaluations, assisted in showing that the Plaintiff’s performance issues supported the employer’s decision to not promote, and later to discharge, the Plaintiff.


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