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Keeping leave legal: Escape bias claims related to time off for new parents
(February 27, 2015)
Many employers interested in promoting a family-friendly workplace want to offer new moms and dads paid time off for parental leave. But they need to keep discrimination concerns in mind if they plan to offer moms more “parental” time than dads. Recently, a group of attorneys was asked about the legality of an employer’s idea to offer new moms 80 hours of paid leave while offering new dads just 40 hours of paid time. The attorneys advised the employer that it had better be careful.  Read on

Right-to-work bill on the march in Wisconsin
(February 26, 2015)
Wisconsin is on its way to becoming a right-to-work state. A right-to-work bill passed the state senate on February 25 and is expected to pass the assembly after that body takes it up on March 5. Governor Scott Walker is expected to sign the bill as soon as it passes. Read on

To dock or not to dock? That is the question
(February 25, 2015)
One of the most common questions I hear from employers involves when they can or can’t dock employees’ paychecks. It’s very tempting to use an employee’s paycheck as a way to recoup losses you’ve incurred because of her actions, especially when, as a practical matter, there will never be any other way to collect the debt from her. However, you should exercise caution when docking an employee’s paycheck because  federal and state laws limit the deductions that can legally be made.  Read on

Spouses of certain H-1B workers
now eligible for employment authorization

(February 25, 2015)
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has published final regulations that will extend employment authorization eligibility to spouses of certain nonimmigrant workers who are in the United States on H-1B visas.  Read on

New rule extends FMLA rights
to more employees in same-sex marriages

(February 24, 2015)
More employees in same-sex marriages will be able to take leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as a result of a new rule taking effect March 27. And while employers in states that recognize same-sex marriage already have been operating under a definition of spouse that includes legally married same-sex partners, employers in other states will need to change their practices. Read on

Trying applicants on for size:
Know the limits of job tryouts

(February 20, 2015)
Ever been fooled in a job interview? Some applicants interview well but then turn out to be disappointments on the job. Others might seem iffy during the interview process but become star employees. The uncertainty inherent in the hiring process has led many employers to devise ways to test candidates in real world situations, either with job simulation programs from vendors or by developing their own tryouts. Read on

Honesty in HR matters: It really is the best policy
(February 18, 2015)
According to one of Billy Joel’s many great songs, “Honesty is such a lonely word, everyone is so untrue. . . . Honesty is hardly ever heard, but mostly what I need from you.” Sure, honesty is admirable and virtuous, but it’s also the best policy for handling employment matters. Even though it seems like common sense, it’s often hard for HR managers and supervisors to tell the truth about employees when it matters. And that often gets them into trouble. Let’s make sure that honesty is what’s heard at your workplace.  Read on

Judge's actions sparks more uncertainty on Obama's immigration orders
(February 17, 2015)
A temporary injunction against President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration is adding to the uncertainty surrounding immigration reform and its impact on employers. On Monday, a federal judge in Texas issued a temporary injunction blocking Obama’s orders issued last November that would have eased deportation concerns for millions of undocumented immigrants that have been in the country for years. The orders had not yet begun accepting applications. Read on

Legal issues associated with dating in the workplace
(February 13, 2015)
According to a 2012 Stanford University sociology study, 10 percent of people meet their spouses at work. Coworker dating is common. Unfortunately, not all relationships end well, and when they don’t, employers can face harassment and retaliation claims. Although most businesses have no rules about office relationships, now may be the time—while the office is awash in hearts and the fragrance of flowers—to decide what’s best for your workplace. Read on

A practical look at dating in the workplace
(February 11, 2015)
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s a good time to review the problems that can arise from office romances and outline some steps you can take to prevent them from occurring at your workplace. It’s no secret that workplace relationships can lead to trouble, particularly when they sour. Read on

HR certification update: a look at HRCI and SHRM programs
(February 6, 2015)
A lot has changed since last spring when the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) announced it was launching a new certification program for HR professionals. The move surprised not just practitioners interested in enhancing their professionalism by earning certification. It also surprised HR Certification Institute (HRCI), the organization that runs what was for decades the only HR certification game in town. Read on

NLRB rulings have far-reaching impact on employers and policies
(February 4, 2015)
In December 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) delivered two major edicts that affect all employers. The first speeds up the union election process so employers will have less time to respond to a petition. The second allows employees to use employers’ e-mail systems for union organizing and other protected concerted activity, such as complaining about working conditions. Read on

Paid leave among priorities in DOL budget proposal
(February 3, 2015)
A $2 billion paid leave initiative as well as millions for enforcement of laws on equal opportunity, wage and hour issues, safety, whistleblowing, and retirement security are among the priorities outlined in President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2016 budget for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Read on

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