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GINA in Effect

This past Saturday, November 21st, the antidiscrimination laws were extended to a whole new group of people when the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”) became effective. (See our previous post on October 16, 2009.) In an editorial on Sunday, The New York Times called GINA an important step in protecting people who have inherited a [...]

More Men are Claiming Sexual Harassment

the percentage of men filing sexual harassment charges nationwide has increased over the past decade from 12 to 16 percent of all charges involving sexual harassment. The EEOC recently got significant settlements in two lawsuits brought on behalf of men

Employment Discrimination a Focus for 2010

Employers need to be extra vigilant in reviewing their hiring and firing policies in preparation for the year ahead. Lawsuits and agency charges are on the rise due to increased government initiatives

Employee Recognition Goes a Long Way

Employers are asking how to keep employee morale and motivation up in the face of pay-cuts, lower (or no) bonuses and continued pressure to keep costs down.  One of the most effective ways of keeping employees happy is RECOGNITION. Employee recognition shows employees that their work is valued and appreciated, which is key to morale, [...]

Recap of this Week’s Employment-Related News

Inspired by lawyer Jon Hyman's weekly wrap-up on his Ohio Employer's Law Blog, following is a recap of some of this week's employment-related news: The Emergency Influenza Containment Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation, applicable to employers with 15 or more employees, would require employers to provide up to five [...]

Who’s GINA?

On November 21, 2009, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act goes into effect. GINA, which prohibits the use of genetic information in employment decisions, is intended to encourage individuals to take advantage of genetic testing without fear that the information will be used against them. GINA regulates the acquisition and use of genetic information

Unequal pay = Discrimination

A former pharmacist at Wal-Mart Stores who claimed she was fired after asking to be paid the same as her male colleagues was awarded $2 million in damages ($1 million in compensatory and $1 million in punitive).  In upholding the award, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court explained: "There was evidence that Wal-Mart paid the plaintiff substantially less than [...]

Employers Can Save with Fitness Reimbursement Programs

While research on the impact of health promotion programs on productivity-related measures such as absenteeism, disability, turnover, and retention has been quite limited, preliminary studies are reveal that participation in a reimbursement-based health promotion program had a significant impact on short-term disability use.

Employers Need to be Prepared for Passage of Revised EFCA Bill

An hour before President Obama appeared at the AFL-CIO convention last week to reaffirm his support for the EFCA, Arlen Specter told hundreds of cheering union officials that by year's end Congress would pass labor law legislation that "will be totally satisfactory to labor."  Following his speech, Specter stated that he had been working on the package with [...]

Local Employers Take Advantage of Social Media

Northeast Ohio employers are using Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites to enhance marketing, networking, relationship building, and recruiting, reports the Employers Resource Council (ERC) in its recently released survey of how Northeast Ohio organizations are using social media in the workplace. According to the survey, 49% of employers use social media for networking and relationship building, LinkedIn being the most [...]

The Top Five Reasons Not to do an HR Audit

1.   You’re not Sure what your HR Department Does and You Don’t Care One of the key areas of an HR audit is evaluating whether your organization has allocated an appropriate level of resources to HR issues and making sure the HR function is aligned with the organization’s strategic business principles. A well functioning HR [...]

What Should Employers Expect from the Wage and Hour Division?

Increased scrutiny of worker classification, overtime pay calculations, family and medical leave practices, and record keeping. Under the new administration, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division is expected to receive a substantial increase in funding, which will be used to enhance investigation and enforcement efforts. Particular areas that warrant attention include: Employee [...]

Employers Should Prepare Now for Flu Season

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anticipating a wider and more serious spread of the H1N1 flu this season, has released new guidelines (available at http://www.flu.gov/plan/workplaceplanning/guidance.html) to help businesses and employers prepare now for the impact seasonal and H1N1 flu could have on employers, employees and operations.  The CDC recommends that employers take the [...]

Hope is not a Performance Management Strategy

While hope is generally a good thing in life, it can be problematic when managers use it as a performance management strategy. An all too common scenario: manager hires someone who never should have been hired, or keeps someone around who should have been terminated long ago.  The manager hopes the employee will get better but never clearly [...]

Officers and Managers May Be Personally Liable for Unpaid Wages under FLSA

Officers and managers fall within the FLSA’s definition of “employer” and thus can be personally liable for unpaid wages, says the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in a recent decision. In Boucher v. Shaw, No. 05-15454 (9th Cir. Jul. 27, 2009), the court held that “the [employer’s] bankruptcy has no effect on the claims against [...]

Employers Can Avoid Claims by Firing with a Heart

Conventional wisdom tells bosses to take a clinical approach to firing employees: say little, don't answer questions and have the employee escorted out of the building...on a Friday. This approach, however, often results in a surprised, angry, hurt and resentful former employee...one who is much more likely to sue. Executive coaches and HR specialists are counseling [...]

Warren & Hays Presenting at HR Star Conference

This Wednesday, July 29th, Sindy and I will be presenting separately at the Cleveland HR Star Conference on Dealing with Problem Employees and The Golden Rules of Workplace Investigations.  The agenda for the Conference contains the following descriptions of our programs: Dealing with Problem Employees Sindy Warren, Esq. Partner, Warren & Hays LLC Every organization [...]

Employers Should Be Prepared to Address Union Activity

It looks like the Senate may drop the controversial card check provision from the EFCA. With protection for the secret ballot in place, an amended EFCA may get pushed through faster than employers expected. (Although in the Ohio Employer's Law Blog, Jon Hyman suggests that Senate democrats may have floated the story to the NY Times as [...]

Sixth Circuit Protects Employers From Associational Retaliation Claims

Only a person who has personally engaged in a protected activity may bring a retaliation claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to the Sixth Circuit's recent decision in Thompson v. North American Stainless, No. 07-5040 (6th Cir. June 5, 2009). Under Title VII, employers are prohibited from retaliating against an [...]

How to Handle Social Networking at the Office

This week on the popular Ohio Employer's Law Blog, lawyer Jon Hyman writes about what employers need to consider when drafting a social networking policy. In his "7 considerations," Hyman points out the difficulties of drafting a policy that is reasonable and capable of being monitored and enforced.  We previously wrote about the difficulties employers [...]

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Speaks Out on the EFCA

"The Employee Free Choice Act: Piercing the Rhetoric" is the title of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's recent publication supporting its position that no part of EFCA can be justified and that it is in the best interests of employees and employers alike if the bill is never enacted. The publication analyzes the EFCA's three main provisions [...]