employee benefits

Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)

A federal law that enables employees and their families to continue health care coverage under an employers group health plan even after they experience an event -- such as a layoff, termination, cut in hours, or divorce -- that would otherwise end their coverage. Employees and their families must pay the full premium, but they get to pay the employer-negotiated group rate, which is often less expensive than an individual rate. This continued coverage lasts for 18 to 36 months, depending on the event that made the employee eligible.

Casual Labor

Sometimes used to refer to work that does not further the business of the employer, typically on a one-time or very sporadic basis. For example, someone who was hired for one day to clean the windows of a car showroom or a group that was hired for a few hours to unload new office furniture might be referred to as casual labor. Casual labor is not a legally recognized category, however: Workers performing casual labor are either independent contractors or employees, and the hiring company's legal and tax obligations to workers performing casual labor are the same as for other workers.

boycott

An organized effort to damage a business by refusing to patronize it. The goal is attract attention to and influence the business's policies. Labor unions and their sympathizers have boycotted lettuce and grapes not picked by union farm workers, and civil rights activists have boycotted stores and restaurants that had "white only" hiring policies. The term is named for Captain Charles C. Boycott, a notorious land agent, whose neighbors ostracized him during Ireland's Land League rent wars in the 1880s. Boycotts are not illegal in themselves, unless there are threats or violence involved. (See also: secondary boycott)

At-Will Employment

An employment arrangement in which the employee may quit at any time, and the employer may fire the employee for any reason that is not illegal. For example, an employer may fire an at-will employee for poor performance, to cut costs, or because the employer simply doesn't like the employee, but may not fire an at-will employee for discriminatory reasons, to retaliate against the employee for reporting harassment, or because the employee exercised a legal right.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

A federal law that prohibits discrimination against people with physical or mental disabilities in employment, public services, and places of public accommodation, such as restaurants, hotels, and theaters. The law also requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to allow employees with disabilities to do their jobs.

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