The allegations of affairs and sexually inappropriate behavior towards women involving Herman Cain, former Republican presidential candidate, have re-focused American attention on a subject — sexual harassment — that's just as much a concern for employers as ever.
More than 50 percent of Facebook’s 800 million worldwide users log on every day, and the fastest growing demographic is age 35 and older. The 100 million active Twitter users tweet 250 million times a day. LinkedIn’s 135 million users, who on average are 41 years old and earn in excess of $110,000 per year, conducted more than four billion LinkedIn searches last year.
Employers have been dealing for three years now with a presidential administration that is less than friendly to their positions and their interests. What will be different in 2012?
With a current administration that is decidedly more aggressive about using penalties to enforce workplace safety standards, and is no shrinking violet about doling out larger penalties, employers shouldn't leave it to chance when it comes to OSHA enforcement of construction safety standards.
California now has the nation's most punitive laws against worker misclassification.
While misclassification has always been illegal, businesses found to have incorrectly classified employees as independent contractors now face civil penalties ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 per employee, and $10,000 to $25,000 per employee in instances involving "a pattern and practice" of misclassification.
The employment law landscape continues to change, making it critical for employers to respond. Compliance with the numerous state and federal laws that impact the employment process has become much more complicated, and the consequences of failing to comply with those laws has become more severe.
The National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB" or "Board") recently held that a proposed bargaining unit of 32 Connecticut stores of Sleepy's Inc. ("Sleepy's") was not an appropriate multi-location bargaining unit. The decision, by board members, Leibman and Schaumber, provides insight into how a retailer's operations can impact the scope of a bargaining unit, should organizing efforts take place.
Although union membership has declined steadily since the 1970s, a string of August decisions by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) may re-invigorate large unions and make union organizing easier.
Shayna Balch’s article “Avoiding Unhappy Office Holiday Parties” was featured in AZBusiness Magazine on December 8, 2011.
There’s always going to be risks when hosting parties where alcohol is involved. In fact, according to a recent study conducted on employers, 36 percent of holiday party-goers behave poorly at their company parties. A lot of companies have chosen to go as far as to nix alcohol from holiday parties all together.
Shayna provides to following recommendations on how employers and employees can avoid the unhappiest of holiday parties and lawsuit-filled New Years:
- If you choose to opt out of serving alcohol, celebrate by hosting a catered lunch at the office.
- Be sure to allow each person a guest, whether it be a spouse or significant other. These guests could serve as “adult babysitters” to make sure the employee does not act out of line.
- Have food and non-alcoholic drinks readily available. Food helps to absorb alcohol and the non-alcoholic drinks will serve as an alternative for those who would rather stay sober.
- Consider serving just wine, beer and/or non-alcoholic drinks. These are not as harsh as hard liquor and will all pair nicely with dinner parties as well.
- Just say “no” to open bars! Unlimited booze rarely brings about any good decisions, so instead opt for a cash bar or ticket system.
- As an employer, it is important to remind your managers that they are there to assist you in making sure the party runs smoothly. They can serve as extra eyes to make sure the subordinates are behaving accordingly.
- As we all know, inhibitions are lowered after alcohol has been consumed. People say and do things they typically would not have had they not been drinking. In cases where alcohol will be served at the party, remind employees that work conduct is still in force and disciplinary actions will be taken if employees are to act unruly.
- Don’t hire within! Hire a professional bartender. They have the proper training when it comes to identifying people who are and aren’t of age, measuring drinks and knowing when someone has had too much.
- Have a taxi service or hotel rooms available that are of no-cost to the employee.
- This may sound silly, but never, under any circumstance, hang mistletoe! As mentioned in No. 4, inhibitions tend to get lowered when people are intoxicated, and the last thing you want to see at the company holiday party is two co-workers letting loose under a green plant hanging from a doorway.
Mediation is a helpful process for resolving many types of disputes. With its increased use over the past few decades, mediation has proven to be especially beneficial in resolving emotionally charged disputes in employment and domestic matters.
Unless you've been under a rock the past few weeks, you're probably aware that allegations of sexual misconduct have been front-page news. First, Herman Cain was accused of sexually harassing women while he headed the National Restaurant Association (NRA) in the 1990s
In good times and bad times, businesses fail because managers fail to effectively train, monitor and take effective remedial actions when compliance in employment practices falls short.
Due to remote, unsupervised working locations, changing work sites, regular travel and industry regulations, the nature of the construction industry exposes contractors to risks for lawsuits and administrative claims from disgruntled employees.
Recent legislation in many states has left employers wondering whether their workplace parking lots could be the stage for a gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
Quoted: “Fines For Worker Safety Vary At Midstate Companies”
If you take a minute and look at social media statistics, you'll notice the numbers are staggering. Facebook has more than 800 million active users. Twitter posts 66,667 tweets every minute. And more than one million companies have LinkedIn pages.
- Assessing the Viability of Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements: The Impact of AT&T Mobility and the Shadow of the NLRA10.10.11
Over the past decade or more, class action litigation has proliferated, particularly in the areas of consumer rights and employment. To help control exposure to class actions, businesses have increasingly used class action waivers in the arbitration agreements that they have presented to customers and employees.
Companies are expanding their presence internationally, and a significant part of this new focus on globalization and strategy includes new or increased business activity in India.
Sept. 1, 2011, marked the effective date of many new statutes in Texas. Texas legislators were busy this session with redistricting, public education, the state budget and the much ballyhooed (and ultimately mostly inconsequential) "loser pays" tort reform legislation.
Early in 2011, there was deep concern in the employer community because the National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint against an employer who disciplined an employee for highly derogatory comments she made about a supervisor on her Facebook page.
You worked hard to get a franchise and you're off and running. You incorporated your company, got the appropriate licenses, started marketing, and hired some employees.
These days, blurring the line between "professional" and "personal" social networking has never been easier. Risqué pictures of an employee in a club uniform can be posted on Facebook with the click of a mouse, but at great potential cost to the company's reputation.
- "State Efforts to Reduce Unfunded Liability by Limiting Collective Bargaining – The Shape of Things to Come?"9.7.11
Aspatore Special Report, The Impact of Limiting Collective Bargaining Rights, An In-Depth Look at the Pros and Cons of State Efforts to Restrict Collective Bargaining Rights 2011.
Can employees avoid preliminary injunctions simply because they are not as wealthy as their employers? A recent federal court decision says: "No."
Seasoned (and even not-so-seasoned) litigators are well familiar with the "four factors" that courts commonly consider when deciding whether to enforce a noncompete by way of an injunction.
Published in the Dental Laboratory Association of Texas Newsletter (September 2011)
In May, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Arizona's E-Verify law. Now this law may become the blueprint for other states, including Florida.
The Court in Johnson v. Lucent Technologies (No. 09-55203, opinion by Judge Betty B. Fletcher) determined whether retaliation claims brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. section 1981 are subject to a four-year statute of limitations provided by 28 U.S.C. Section 1658(a) or the personal injury statutes of the forum state. The Court held that such claims are subject to the four-year statute of limitations as provided by 28 U.S.C. section 1658.
Shayna Balch’s article “Dress For Success, Even in The Summer” was featured on LiWi.com on August 8, 2011.
In the article, Shayna provided the following questions to ask yourself, when deciding on what attire to wear in the workplace during the scorching summer months:
- What kind of working environment am I hoping to achieve? Based on this answer, perhaps a casual summer dress code is in order.
- What has been the practice within our area and industry? Don’t reinvent the wheel, what works for others in your industry will most likely work for your business.
- Is there any risk of implementing a policy that alienates employees? Always be respectful of employees to ensure they respect the policies of the organization right back.
- How big an issue is this among employees to begin with?
- Where am I prepared to draw the line, and what steps am I prepared to take to enforce it? Always make a plan before jumping into any new policy.
- What is the most effective way to communicate company standards to employees? Have fun with this. Try to get away from an inter-office memo and call for a summer breakfast meeting or mid-day iced coffee talk to communicate any new policy.
- Are we prepared to live with any internal dress code guidelines, and have they been reviewed lately?
Almost five years ago, in April 2006, nearly 59,000 employees obtained class certification in a lawsuit claiming that Brinker Restaurant Group violated California labor laws by failing to ensure that its non-exempt employees took meal and rest breaks.
A smart phone is now as much a piece of your office life as a desk, laptop or employee handbook. Anyone can use their BlackBerry or iPhone to stay current on news and events, update social media status and check their email from any location with a signal.
Automatic deductions, where the employer's time-keeping system assumes and deducts for a 30-minute meal break, have proved to be a fruitful target for plaintiffs.