- Top 8 Employer Do's and Don'ts for 2008: Why Discussing Politics in the Workplace is Just, Well, Bad Politics2.7.08
The diversity of the candidates and emotion behind many of the issues up for vote makes this election particularly sensitive in the workplace. This creates a highly-charged environment in which discussions that may be mistaken for free speech under the First Amendment can actually open up a Pandora's box of legal concerns.
Many, if not most, of today's young adult job seekers have established personal pages on sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Xanga and LinkedIn. Seemingly without qualms, they make information about themselves available to anyone who surfs the Web.
When an employee is fired, employers often worry the termination decision will end up under the microscope of litigation. Instead of having an employment dispute resolved in court, employers should consider adopting an arbitration policy that substitutes an arbitration hearing for a courtroom trial.
Theft of employee data can result in embarrassment, loss of employee morale and substantial expense for an employer. New laws and regulations are changing the way companies must safeguard personnel and other confidential HR files and information.
Employment law is fickle, affected by election-year politics, new legislation, court decisions, societal trends, the state of the economy, and media and cultural events. Nevertheless, I'm willing to take a crack at an employment law forecast for 2008.
A flurry of articles followed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Nov. 17, 2007, release of the long awaited final rule on payment for employee personal protective equipment (PPE).
The repercussions of making poor hiring decisions go beyond tarnishing a company's name - the wrong employee in a job can decrease productivity and company morale, leaving fellow employees to wonder why they're required to pull more than their fair share of the weight. It becomes a cancer that spreads throughout the organization.
For many employers, the question is not if they will face a discrimination suit, but when. Not everyone is resigned to meritless lawsuits as an inevitable price of conducting business.
Most Texas employers have historically been "nonunion." However, that may soon change as a "perfect storm" of economic and political forces seem poised to align.
Companies that offer deferred compensation plans and arrangements have gotten a temporary breather in complying with a Dec. 31 deadline that required them to comply in writing with the Internal Revenue code's final Section 409A regulations.
Finding that a supervisor's comments about an employee's age were admissible circumstantial evidence, and that his employer's reduction in force plan was not a "plan" at all, an appeals court has reinstated the claim of a 57 year old employee, who had been let go in a RIF that affected over 90 employees. Blair v. Henry Filters, Inc.
Hardly a day goes by without several news stories about the country's "immigration problem" and the latest proposed legislative solution to the problem.
Some employers believe if workers stay an hour late, come to work 30 minutes early or help clean out the office on weekends, they don't have to be paid for that time. Some employers think it's OK to provide comp time to workers instead of paying them for overtime.
- How to Create Effective and Enforceable Restrictive Covenant Agreements10.9.07
The breadwinners of the biggest companies leave at alarming rates when a new CEO is placed from the outside, according to a recent issue of Harvard Business Review. Not surprisingly, executives closest to the CEO carry the most potentially damaging knowledge about the company.
Activities not involving significant exertion, such as donning and doffing protective gear, still can be compensable work under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, according to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
As labor unions struggle to reverse a trend of declining membership, several have identified the health care industry as an inviting target.
The October 3, 2007 issue of Employment Law360 featured a Q&A with Philadelphia attorney Christopher Stief. The interview focused on the Employee Defections and Trade Secrets practice group headed by Chris.
- Keeping the Lawyers at Bay: Terminating Employees is Risky Business, and the Trick Is to Do It Without Litigating10.1.07
One of the most difficult undertakings for any employer is carrying out a decision to terminate an employee. Even in states where the at-will employment doctrine is recognized, the termination decision creates the greatest risk of legal liability.
Hospitals and other health-care facilities often use nursing agencies to fill their ranks with temporary employees. But allegations surfaced in 2006 that the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association was illegally conspiring to lower or suppress nurses' pay.
You might be thinking that the best way to deal with blogs is to prohibit all employees from blogging about their workplace. Although this solution may be appealing, it raises issues under the National Labor /relations Act (NLRA), which entitles private-sector employees (whether or not they belong to unions) to engage in "concerted activity" relating to their wages, hours and working conditions. Where employees use a blog or chatroom to discuss "concerted activity," an employer that monitors and comments on such communications may be engaged in unlawful surveillance.
A new rule issued by the Department of Homeland Security last month will have a dramatic effect on Florida employers and employees. Under the guise of enhanced border security, DHS is mandating new procedures for employers for how they must respond to mismatch letters issued by the Social Security Administration.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) prohibits employers from providing fewer benefits to smokers or overweight employees, for example, but it does permit employers to provide incentives for employees to take their medications, lose weight, quit smoking, etc.
For the foreseeable future, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 (S. 1348) is dead. Pronouncements of the bill's demise included partisan finger pointing, although all agree that something must be done to address the nation's illegal immigration debacle.
The 8th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals recently held that punitive damages are inappropriate and unwarranted in cases where an employer makes "sufficient good faith efforts" in addressing and reconciling an employee's claim for harassment.
A well-written and up-to-date employee handbook can be a litigation lifesaver, but an out-of-date handbook can be your worst nightmare. Unfortunately, many employers don't give their employee handbooks the attention they deserve, employing 20-year-old sets of policies that are hopelessly outdated. Fortunately, with a few easy steps, you can have your handbook up and running the way it should be. Before you begin, however, you should stop to think about the purpose of your handbook. The goal should be to set forth your company's policies and expectations clearly and unambiguously while preserving the flexibility you need to make decisions. Keep in mind that the policies in the employee handbook should reflect the company's practices, and vice versa. Ideally, a company's employee handbook should be reviewed and updated annually. Employment laws change frequently, especially at the state level, and policies that were perfectly fine several years ago may be incomplete or problematic today. Check to see whether the company is subject to new employment laws based on its size. And if you have offices in various states, do not assume that a "one-size-fits-all" handbook can be applied uniformly to all employees in every state.
It was practically inevitable that the federal minimum wage would increase. The figure had remained at $5.15 per hour for nearly ten years, and the political pressure to raise it became irresistible.
There are major trends in union organizing across the nation, nowhere more evident than in the hotel industry. In this article we'll look at some of these trends, provide practical guidance if you are expanding or buying new properties, and include some tips on keeping your property union-free.
Employers and retirees may have finally gotten the green light to design retiree health plans and early retirement incentive programs to take advantage of the retirees' eligibility for Medicare benefits.