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Solving the reference riddle: Know what to ask and how much to say
(February 5, 2015)
Checking references has a way of putting employers in a pickle. When they want information about a potential new hire, they’re often frustrated when references divulge no more than dates of employment, position held, and pay rate. That “name, rank, and serial number” response can be frustrating. But when the employer is on the receiving end of a reference request, the temptation is strong to withhold all but the most basic information as a way of warding off a defamation claim. Read on

How to curb intermittent FMLA abuse
(February 3, 2015)
One of employers’ most common complaints about administering Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave is employees’ tendency to abuse intermittent leave. When combatting this type of fraud, employers must navigate tricky U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) regulations as well as federal court rulings that limit the type of information that can be obtained from employees. Read on

EEOC takes step toward adding
pay data to EEO-1 reports

(January 29, 2015)
On January 29, President Barack Obama announced at a White House ceremony celebrating the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is proposing a new rule to collect pay data through the EEO-1 report. The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register on February 1.  Readx on

Nervous about pay equity?
Don't worry, you don't have to boil the ocean

(January 29, 2015)
It’s one thing to strive for an equitable compensation system, but it’s quite another to really understand whether employees are being paid fairly and what to do if they’re not. With employees having instant access to salary data through the Internet—data that may or may not be relevant to their situations—and the debate becoming a hot topic in legislative circles, the subject of pay equity can be bewildering. Read on

Independent contractor model
survives Lyft settlement

(January 28, 2015)
Lyft, a ride-hailing service that uses independent contractors as drivers, has agreed to settle a proposed class action lawsuit in California by paying $12.25 million and giving drivers certain protections, but the company won’t have to reclassify its drivers as employees.  Read on

Break time for nursing mothers:
legal requirements and lactation policies

(January 27, 2015)
Although employers’ obligation to provide breaks for nursing mothers is not new (it took effect with the March 23, 2010, signing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)), I’ve recently been presented with many questions about what the law requires. From the questions, I’ve realized two things: (1) Employers still do not know their legal obligations, and (2) employers want to assist nursing mothers in returning to work (and then some). Read on

New joint-employer guidance puts employers 'on notice'
(January 25, 2015)
The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) new guidance on joint employment means employers must think ahead when they find themselves in relationships that may fit the definition of “joint employment.”   Read on

A refresher on successfully defending EEOC and other agency charges
(January 22, 2015)
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charges have clearly become a cost of doing business for many (if not most) employers today. Like anything else, employers can get into a routine—or maybe even a “rut”—in investigating and responding to charges. This article provides a refresher on how to successfully defend EEOC and other agency charges both before and after they hit your desk.  Read on

Workplace violence: Using threat assessment to reduce risk
(January 20, 2015)
Workplace violence—it’s a subject so difficult and so frightening that employers may feel paralyzed when considering how to prevent it. If someone is showing violent tendencies, an employer may want to fire the employee to remove the threat. But what if that’s the action that triggers more rage, worsening the risk instead of reducing it?  Read on

Goodbye, and thanks for all the grief
(January 15, 2015)
The job description of the president of the United States is found in Article II of the U.S. Constitution, and one of his stated tasks is to “give to Congress information on the State of the Union, and recommend . . . necessary and expedient” matters. We saw President Barack Obama perform that function for the last time Tuesday.   Read on

The effects of impending minimum wage increases
(January 15, 2015)
The effort to increase the minimum wage at the federal, state, and municipal level continues to gain momentum. Read on

The best resolution for the new year: Get your FMLA program in shape
(January 13, 2015)
Every New Year brings the tradition of making resolutions—whether it’s to lose weight, save money, volunteer more, or travel. While those are admirable personal resolutions, companies should have their own resolutions to ensure their businesses are on track for the upcoming year. A top priority should be to get your Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) program in compliance. Read on

Not so fastJudge strikes down Pittsburg's paid leave ordinance
(January 12, 2015)
In November, we reported that Pittsburgh had enacted a paid sick time ordinance for employees working in the city that was scheduled to take effect January 11, 2016 (see “Pittsburgh passes ordinance requiring paid sick time”). On December 21, 2015, a Pennsylvania judge struck down the ordinance, ruling that it is “invalid unenforceable.”  Read on

New York Women's Equality Act takes effect January 19
(January 11, 2015)
Several new laws that are part of New York’s Women’s Equality Act take effect on January 19, meaning employers need to understand the new protections related to equal pay, sexual harassment, and familial and pregnancy discrimination in the workplace.Read on

Workplace safety in an age of viral panic
(January 8, 2015)
In a world with a 24-hour news cycle, multiple TV channels specifically designated to the news, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and a constant news machine that needs to be fed, the adage “If it bleeds, it leads” has more power than ever before. In late 2014, we saw a good example of this theory in the American “Ebola epidemic.” Read on

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