legal issues

Why You Should Take All Harassment Complaints Seriously

When I conduct anti-harassment training for supervisors, one of the points I stress is that all complaints of harassment and discrimination — no matter how minor — must be taken seriously. Why? For a few reasons. By addressing harassment right away, it reduces the chances of repeat performances. That’s good for the employee. That’s also good…

What Would Happen If Your CEO Died?

Note: This is part one of two parts. Today’s article focuses on corporate readiness for a sudden loss of key leaders. Tomorrow’s article discusses how HR should respond to an on the job death. Human resource professionals have a complicated job: payroll, discipline, morale, harassment, terminations, etc. An HR professional who doesn’t stay…

White House Signals No Change In LGBTQ Order For Federal Contractors

The New York Times reported  President Trump will preserve intact President Obama’s LGBT order (Executive Order 13672) protecting applicants and employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. As published by the Times, a White House statement provides: President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of L.G.B.T.Q. rights, just…

Supreme Court Agrees to Decide On Employer Class Action Waivers

Picture a nerdier version of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, where persuasive legal briefs and sharp oral advocacy are like rear naked chokes and “ground and pound.” The fight card In one corner, we have the Federal Arbitration Act. Among other things, the FAA allows an employer and employee to agree that all employment-related claims…

What You Don’t Know About Your Retirement Plan Could Sink You

The U.S. Department of Labor in August significantly increased its penalties for retirement plan sponsors who get caught making compliance errors before they correct them on their own. What previously might have only been a fine of a few hundred dollars through the DOL’s Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program can instead result in penalties…

Google Sued By OFCCP Over Comp Data

Google is being sued by the Department of Labor for allegedly failing to turnover documents relating to compensation of employees at its Silicon Valley headquarters. The suit announced today charges that Google provided a Sept. 1,  2015 “compensation snapshot,” but has refused to turnover other data the government wants, including job and salary…

What We Can Expect From the EEOC In 2017

In recent years, it has been difficult to predict with certainty what employers can expect from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). While it is unlikely the agency will dramatically shift gears during the coming fiscal year, the following are some of the anticipated trends for fiscal year 2017. The EEOC will continue…

With the New Overtime Rule In Limbo, What Should You Do?

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) new overtime rule didn’t take effect on December 1 as many thought it would. Instead, it was temporarily blocked by a federal judge and subsequently appealed by the DOL. With the rule’s fate uncertain, employers find themselves asking, “Now what?” While some implemented salary changes and reclassified employees…

How HR Should Manage an Employee Going Through a Divorce

Approximately 90% of people in western cultures get married by the time they turn 50. In the U.S., nearly half of the couples end up getting a divorce. Yikes! If your company has a hundred employees, there’s a very good chance that you will deal with multiple employees that will go through a…

How Far Does HR Need to Go When A Worker Complains?

Bad things often happen when employees feel they have to resort to self-help… Retaliation lawsuits, for example. Tyshanna Nuness is our plaintiff in this case. Ms. Nuness alleges that she is a female African-American who worked for her former employer for about 14 months. During her employment, the plaintiff worked alongside a male Caucasian…

How to Tell Workers They Won’t Be Getting Overtime

This spring, an estimated four million Americans became eligible for overtime pay, with a new overtime rule doubling the salary threshold to automatic time-and-a-half compensation from $23,660 to $47,476. Yet this rule is now in jeopardy, thanks to a federal judge ruling before Thanksgiving that the Department of Labor did not have the…

What Will Happen to Your Immigrant Workers Next Year

When it comes to immigration, we’ve all heard a lot of rhetoric regarding work visas, E-Verify, walls, and deportation. But what does the implementation of President-elect Trump’s 10 immigration goals mean for everyday workers and employers? There is one goal that will have enormous impacts on how human resource professionals will do their…

Judge Suspends Overtime Rule

A federal district court judge issued an order Tuesday temporarily stopping new rules on overtime pay from taking effect. Beginning Dec. 1, employers would have had to pay overtime to an estimated 4 million salaried workers earning less than $913 a week. The U.S. Labor Department last spring raised the salary threshold for…

Stand Up to Medical Leave Abuse and Win

What are some of the signs of employee abuse of leave taken under the Family and Medical Leave Act? Monday and Friday FMLA days FMLA to avoid scheduled overtime FMLA after being denied a request for day(s) off FMLA immediately before/after holidays and scheduled PTO An employee wants FMLA to bridge his scheduled…

It’s High Time You Reviewed Your Company’s Drug Policy

Over the past 10 years, there have been changes to laws governing medicinal and recreational   marijuana use across the United States. Twenty-five states and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana in some form. Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Washington D.C. have legalized the recreational use of marijuana and 25 million Americans have used marijuana…

EEOC to Ratchet Up Scrutiny of Gig Economy Employers

This week the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission approved an updated Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) for fiscal years 2017–2021, setting out its priorities and strategies for the near term. The SEP builds on a prior plan issued in December 2012, which guided EEOC activity for the past four years. In the new SEP, the…

E-Verify Is Not I-9 and Other Common (and Costly) Mistakes to Avoid

The beginning of Q4 traditionally marks a complex hiring rush thanks to the holidays and looming end-of-the-year budgeting. The employment verification process can be tricky for employers, particularly when it comes to Form I-9 and E-Verify requirements – and yes, they’re two completely different processes. The fact is, many employers don’t recognize what…

Is Your Parental Leave Policy Sending the Wrong (Maybe Illegal) Message?

On average, organizations gave mothers 41 paid days of maternity leave, compared with 22 paid days of paternity leave for fathers. That statistic comes from 2016 Paid Leave in the Workplace, a survey recently conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management. Does this disparity demonstrate discrimination against men? Not necessarily. If the maternity…

Stop Shooting Your Defense Lawyer in the Foot

It might be hard to believe this, but employment defense lawyers are not as amazing as they would like you to believe. Trust me, I would know. I’m an employee rights lawyer in California and I battle employer-side attorneys all day long. While I don’t feel bad for them when they screw up,…

4 Reasons Why International Labor Standards Are Important For All HR Leaders

Human resources professionals must understand an increasingly large body of laws – federal, state and local. Some also must understand the law in various foreign jurisdictions. But what about international law – should HR professionals understand international law too? Yes. HR professionals should have a basic understanding of international labor standards. While they…