Tony Dick’s article “Out of Sight, But Not Necessarily Out of Mind” was featured in Crain’s Cleveland Business on October 21, 2014. In the article, Tony provides a quick primer for employers on what is and is not permissible in enforcing employment policies outside the workplace.
- Phoenix Business Journal: How to Keep Your Company Halloween Party From Turning Into a Frightful Disaster10.21.14
Jennifer Sandberg’s article “Can Domestic Violence Accusations Mean Discipline at Work?” was featured on Easy Small Business HR on October 20, 2014.
Clarence Belnavis' article " Volunteers and Interns: When Free is Too Good To Be True" was feature in The Vancouver Business Journal on October 17, 2014.
In the article, Clarence advises organizations to weigh carefully when deciding whether or not to accept volunteers or interns for "free", as a way of gaining experience. The Washington Minimum Wage Act and the federal Fair Standards Act both make it clear that if you “suffer” or permit someone to work on your behalf, they are entitled to be paid for their time. A failure to do so may result in you being liable for at least the minimum wage, and perhaps overtime, associated with the work at issue plus additional penalties and/or liquidated damages.
There continues to be a rise in wage and hour lawsuits whether as individual or class claims. These are expensive cases and normally entitle a successful plaintiff to attorneys’ fees as well as the lost wages and penalties/damages. Clarence cautions employers to take the time to properly investigate and set-up any volunteer or intern relationship. Otherwise, that “free” help may cost employers dearly.
To read the full article, please visit The Vancouver Business Journal.
Rick Grimaldi and Lori Armstrong Halber created an article entitled “Creating An Environment That Spurs Innovation,” for Region's Business.
Kevin Troutman and Matthew Korn’s article “Ebola, Meet The ADA: Advice For Employers On Handling The Outbreak” was featured inForbes on October 16, 2014.
Candice Pinares-Baez’s article “Employers: Are You Ready for Some Fantasy Football?” was featured in The Daily Business Review on October 16, 2014.
Howard Mavity’s article “Creating a Construction Workplace Where Women Can Succeed,” was featured in Risk Management Magazine on October 15, 2014.
Bob Christenson’s article “Healthcare crossroads: What’s an employer to do?” was featured on Inside Counsel on October 1, 2014.
Employers around the country are at a healthcare crossroads, as more Obamacare employer mandates come on line and court challenges to parts of the law heat up. In the past few months, two federal appellate courts have issued conflicting rulings with the potential to gut the law and eliminate the requirement that employers pay a penalty tax if they do not provide certain levels of health coverage for employees. And, in a more limited ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court held in its Hobby Lobby decision that for-profit corporations with religious objections could not be forced by the law to provide healthcare coverage that included certain forms of contraception.
In the article, he urges employers to understand the resulting consequences for their health plans due to the recent Supreme Court’s ruling.
According to Bob, the bottom line is that Hobby Lobby will likely be extended so that for-profit, closely held corporations will be able to avoid all contraceptive coverages that violate the sincere religious beliefs of their owners. Indeed, even before the Hobby Lobby decision was issued, the 7th and 10th Circuits had refused to overturn preliminary injunctions barring the government from enforcing Obamacare contraceptive requirements against several corporations expressing the sincere Catholic views of their owners who opposed all forms of artificial birth control. And, in certain cases similar to those raised by Justice Ginsburg, there may be room for further limitations on Obamacare mandates. But even those attacks are aimed only at small parts of Obamacare, and do not threaten the overall statute. Moreover, it may be that plaintiffs will be unable to show that the government has less restrictive options to enforce its compelling interests in these cases.
To read the full article, please visit Inside Counsel.
So are many other actions such as driving while intoxicated, check fraud, soliciting for sex, speeding, public drunkenness, abuse of prescription drugs, sex with a minor, vandalism, tax evasion, bigamy, etc.
Joshua Viau’s article “Are Employee Records Overcrowding Your Office?” was featured on Dentistry iQ, on September 24, 2014.
John Thompson’s article “Employers Must Make Timely Payment of FLSA Wages” was featured in SHRM Atlanta on September 24, 2014.
Dennis Cuneo’s article “Location Notebook: Tesla’s “Gigafactory” - Reno’s Game Changer” was featured on AreaDevelopment.com on September 21, 2014.
The article focused on the big announcement that Tesla picked Reno for its highly publicized $5 billion “gigafactory,” the area took a giant step toward civic leaders' goal of remaking its economy and image. To win the project, the state offered a rich — and what will be a highly scrutinized — incentive package. Dennis believes that the Tesla project is a bold gamble by the state of Nevada and Reno – but one worth taking.
To read the full article, visit AreaDevelopment.com.
Josh Viau's article "Are You Properly Hoarding Employee Records?" was featured September 15, 2014 on Easy Small Business HR.
John Thompson’s article “Late Wage Payments Can Violate the FLSA” was featured on HR.BLR.com on September 15, 2014. The article examines the FLSA-required paydate and the consequences of failing to pay employees by this date.
It's estimated that between 30 and 40 million American workers play fantasy football, with each of them spending about two hours each workweek managing their teams. While workplaces may see varying effects, the national economic impact is said to be about $13.4 billion between now and the end of the season.
In the course of the next two plus years, the Philadelphia area will see a gubernatorial election, a mayoral election, congressional elections, and a Presidential election. Each will have an impact on the future of the region and should be viewed as an opportunity for great positive change and a chance to realize the vision of the region as an international hub of commerce. From our perspective, it all starts and ends with the development of an economic engine that creates and ensures good jobs that attract and retain the best talent.
To read the full article, please visit Region's Business.
Tracy Moon's article "Avoid Legal Claims When Monitoring Employees With GPS Technologies" was featured on Construction Executive September 9, 2014.
David Lichtenberg and David Treibman’s article “Did I Blow the Right Whistle?” was featured in the New Jersey Lawyer magazine on September 9, 2014.
Michael Elkon’s article “How Do You Handle Bring Your Own Device Policies?” was featured in Voluntary Benefits Magazine on September 4, 2014.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) situations are increasingly common in the American workplace. Employees like to use their own devices because doing so makes them free to do work on their own schedules and at the places of their choosing. Additionally, employees often prefer to use their own devices because they can personalize the devices to meet their personal taste and work style. Likewise, many employers like their employees using the employees’ own devices, both because studies have shown increased employee satisfaction from using their own devices and also because employees can be more productive (and more reachable during off-hours) when their own devices are used for work purposes. Furthermore, an employer can save money by having employees use their own devices rather than company-issued equipment.
In the article, Michael discusses the numerous legal issues that companies could potentially face if they do not manage their BYOD policies. He then provides the following solutions to address these dilemmas:
Have technology in place to protect company information. Think through the company’s critical information and take steps to protect it. Make clear that employees cannot misuse the employer’s computer system. Pay for the employee’s cell phone. Employ tight exit procedures for departing employees. Require the contemporaneous reporting of time worked. Prohibit the use of devices when driving. Extend litigation hold notices to personal devices. Please visit Voluntary Benefits Magazine to read the full article.
Lorie Maring’s article “Offering a Worksite Clinic? It’s not Just HIPAA You Need to Worry About” was featured in Corporate Wellness Magazine on September 3, 2014.
Howard Mavity’s article “‘Boys Will Be Boys’ Isn’t a Defense” was featured in the September Issue of the CE Risk Management magazine.
Labor lawyers often hear, “that just won’t work in the real world” and are accused of being impractical, especially regarding civility and professionalism in the workplace. “People cuss, people tease, language has changed, snark is in. Do you want a frigid workplace? Lighten up.” The fact is, these things make employment law claims more likely.
In the article, Howard examines common factors that contribute to harassment, discrimination and retaliation claims in the workplace. Some of these factors include:
- Workers now share more personal information, but are more sensitive to real or perceived slights.
- “Bullying” behavior won’t be tolerated; nor should it.
- Social media has multiplied the opportunities to hurt or offend others, while simultaneously contributed to employees sharing unprofessional personal matters at work.
- More harassment and hostile environment claims are raised based on race and national origin than gender.
To adapt to these common changes in the work place, Howard provides employers with the following advice:
- Commit to actively demanding “professionalism” and “good judgment” from employees.
- Set an example and demand more from employees.
- Connect customer service with workplace behavior.
- Train supervisors to catch teasing and horseplay before it goes too far.
- Explain in a straightforward fashion the ways that social media can cause trouble.
Randy Coffey’s article “OSHA’s New Focus on Temp Workers” was featured in the September Issue of Thinking Bigger Business.
Chris Boman’s article “Understanding Heat Illness Prevention Laws” was featured in the September Issue of Landscape and Irrigation.
The article focused on a new California law that requires most employers whose employees work outdoors to implement a written Heat Illness Prevention Plan that references cool down periods. Effective January 1, 2014, California employers are now required to pay a premium of an hour’s pay for failing to provide or denying non-exempt employees what has become official known as a “recovery period.”
As shifting privacy lines allow employers to reach further and further into employee conduct, it is increasingly important for employers to know their legal limits. Many employees will question the legality of increased employer monitoring of off-site conduct, especially when employees are off-duty. Such monitoring may include the use of Global Positioning System tracking and video surveillance as well as reprimanding employees for things like speeding tickets. These practices may be within employers’ legal rights, but managers need to be aware of what is and is not permissible from a legal perspective.
Crain's Chicago Business published the article "Bullying is bad, but so is this anti-bullying bill" by Jay Hux on August 27, 2014
Have you ever scheduled an early-shift employee to cover for a late-shift employee who has just taken medical leave? The covering employee probably was not excited to have to work that extra shift. While the logistics of employee schedules can be difficult, it can be even more burdensome (and more important) to handle the employee’s medical leave appropriately and in accordance with the law.
Sue Schaecher's article "Viewpoint: Colorado's New Wage Law Puts Teeth In Unpaid Wages Enforcement" was published by the Denver Business Journal.
Sandy Feingert's article "Make sure your beneficiary designations are heir tight" was published by the New Orleans City Business on August 22, 2014.
Christopher Boman’s article “Tis the Season … to Hire Smarter” was featured on Chain Store Age on August 21, 2014.
As the holiday season approaches, many retailers will ramp up their staff to accommodate the increase in customers and other operational demands. However, in today’s era of widespread employment litigation, employers must be even more conscientious of the legal liabilities and practical consequences they face during this time of year.
The article describes the thoughtful and ethical contributions of Warren Bennis to business theory, leadership and the question of "what things matter the most?"
Suhaill Morales article "Executive Order Expands Protections of Federal Workers" was posted on Daily Business Review on August 18, 2014.
Ed Foulke’s article “How to Prepare for and Prevent Workplace Violence” was featured in Risk Management Magazine on August 18, 2014.
Workplace violence and shootings are all too frequent. It’s extremely difficult to handle an active shooting scenario as it is occurring without prior preparation, which is why it’s so critical for every employer to develop a crisis management action plan.
In the article, Ed discusses the importance of implementing policies and procedures to greatly reduce the potential of a workplace violence occurring.
Ed provides employers with 12 things they can do to prepare for and hopefully prevent any type of workplace violence.
- As part of the company’s action plan to handle workplace violence, the employer should adopt and publicize a zero tolerance policy regarding threats, harassment and violence in the workplace.
- The employer should update and review its employment application, as well as any pre-employment background checks and interview procedures, to identify signs of potential problem applicants. The EEOC has placed limits on criminal background checks that can be conducted on applicants, and employers should seek legal counsel to ensure that any background investigation meets all applicable federal and state laws.
- The employer should prepare and use release forms for personnel records from previous employers, course transcripts from educational institutions, certification records from training and professional organizations, and credit reports from consumer credit reporting agencies.
- The employer should update its personnel policies and employee handbook to include safety policies dealing with violence in the workplace, including any type of verbal or physical harassment and any type of physical altercations.
- For employers using temporary employees, the employer should review with its temporary employee provider the procedures being used to screen their temporary employees for potential workplace violence problems prior to placement of those employees at the employer’s worksite.
- The employer should conduct periodic security audits and risk assessments at its facility. The security audit should determine whether there is adequate security at the facility, including access control in reception areas, parking areas, common areas, stairwells, cafeterias and lounges.
- Each facility should prepare and distribute contact lists of all local emergency agencies and law enforcement.
- The action plan should include the selection and training of management officials in conflict resolution and non-violent techniques for handling hostage, hijacking, crisis incidents and counseling situations. This is particularly important in situations involving termination of employment where, at a minimum, two management employees should be present during any type of employment action.
- As part of the company’s overall management safety and health training, the employer should instruct all managers and supervisors in how to identify and deal with early warning signs and potential safety problems associated with workplace violence as discussed above.
- The employer should identify and publicize any internal or external employee assistance programs, employee support services and health care resources available to employees and their families. For small- and medium-sized employers that do not have a separate employee assistance program, many local and state assistance programs are available, and the employer should identify those resources and provide that information to employees who may need that assistance.
- The employer should institute policies to investigate all threats and complaints of harassment and violence immediately. This would mean designating company officials and/or office staff to handle all threats and complaints in a confidential manner. It is critical that such investigations be conducted quickly and the appropriate action, including disciplinary action, is implemented as soon as possible. In most cases, during this investigation, the employee in question will be escorted from the building by company security or the local police and will not be allowed to return until the investigation into the incident has been completed.
- The company should review and publicize the company-wide procedures in place, as well as the company management officials responsible for handling any employees’ problems, complaints and concerns involving threats, harassment and actual violence.
John Thompson's article "Not Paying Employees On Time? It’s Considered an FLSA Violation" featured on TLNT explains how important it is for employers to pay their employees timely wages and they should not assume that "close enough is good enough
Suzanne Bogdan's guest post for The Edvocate entitled "Who’s On Your Campus? Have You Checked The Sex-Offender List Lately?" was featured on August 14, 2014.