Category Archives: Employee Handbooks & Policies

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Proposed Employee Wellness Legislation Might Undermine Protections of GINA

Employees who don’t want to disclose genetic information about themselves and their families to their employers may have to pay a stiff price for that privacy in the future. The Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act (H.R. 1313), a GOP-sponsored bill currently under consideration in Congress, could dismantle the employee privacy protections of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).… Continue Reading

Will The NLRB’s Protection of Unacceptable Conduct Last?

It’s ironic, isn’t it? While the EEOC could find an employer liable for tolerating racist or sexist remarks by employees, the NLRB has repeatedly found employers liable for failing to do so under the guise of protecting “concerted activity” by employees. Will the agency’s rulings against employers be supported by the courts? And will the pattern of protecting such employee … Continue Reading

Medical Marijuana and the Workplace

With the growing list of states legalizing marijuana, are workplace drug policies up in smoke? As the new year begins, Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota join the growing list of states that have legalized medical marijuana. Currently, 28 states* and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana use for certain medicinal purposes, and eight states** and the District of Columbia have legalized … Continue Reading

New Notice Requirements For Employer Wellness Programs

Employers who sponsor employee wellness programs must plan now to comply with a new notice requirement that takes effect soon. Beginning with the first plan year on or after January 1, 2017, employers sponsoring wellness programs that collect employee health information (such as through a health risk assessment or biometric screening) must issue a notice to employees before employees provide … Continue Reading

Calling all Employers with Remote Employees: Is Your Company Counting Them In Accordance With the FMLA?

Does your company have employees who work remotely in a city, or a state, where your company does not maintain a physical location? Do you count those employees for purposes of determining whether the company has to offer leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? Well, in what may come as a surprise, you must properly include all … Continue Reading

The NLRB Expands Its Reach in the Non-Union Workplace

The National Labor Relations Board continues to infiltrate the workplace even where there are no unions. Standard workplace policies — including those relating to employee conduct, protecting intellectual property, use of personal electronics, and conflicts of interest — are unlawful, according to a recent memorandum issued by the NLRB General Counsel. Basic contract and policy provisions requiring employees to maintain … Continue Reading

EEOC Updates Guidance on Accommodating Pregnant Workers

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued revised pregnancy discrimination guidance setting forth a framework for assessing how far employers must go in accommodating pregnant employees, following the Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this year in Young v. United Parcel Serv., Inc.  In that case, the Court held that, although a policy of providing light duty only to certain workers was … Continue Reading

Even In Colorado, Employees May Be Terminated for Medical Marijuana Use In Violation of Company Drug Policy

In Coats v. Dish Network, LLC, the Supreme Court of Colorado upheld an employer’s decision to terminate the employment of a quadriplegic employee who worked as a customer service representative and who held a state-issued license to consume medical marijuana. Coats, who had been confined to a wheelchair since his teenage years, tested positive for marijuana during a random … Continue Reading

Employee Handbooks Should Be Reviewed in Light of NLRB Report

Your employee handbook may be unlawful. That’s the takeaway from a 30-page report issued by the National Labor Relations Board’s Office of the General Counsel on March 18, 2015.

The report, entitled “Report of the General Counsel Concerning Employer Rules,” presents recent developments on employee handbook rules arising in the context of NLRB cases that address whether particular rules violate … Continue Reading

E-Cigarettes in the Workplace

Employers should be aware of the new electronic cigarette fad, and the need to address workplace policies accordingly.

Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, are battery-powered devices that heat up nicotine-laced liquid, turning it into a vapor that users inhale, or “vape,” and then exhale. Most look like conventional cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, but some e-cigarettes resemble everyday items such … Continue Reading

Fantasy Football’s Impact on the Workplace

What do 31 million employees have in common? They all participate in at least one (in many cases more than one) Fantasy Football league! For those of you who are unfamiliar with what has become a national obsession, Fantasy Football is an interactive online competition in which users compete against each other as general managers of virtual “fantasy” teams built … Continue Reading

New Fair Credit Reporting Act Form For Employers

Title X of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act) established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the responsibility for interpreting and enforcing the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was transferred to the CFPB.  Although the CFPB began most activities on July 21, 2011, the CFPB just recently issued a new form for … Continue Reading

‘Tis The Season To Review Company Vacation Policies – Is Your Company’s Vacation Policy In Tip-Top Shape?

Being that we are in the midst of the holiday season, it seems quite appropriate to address employer vacation leave and pay policies. It may be a surprise that The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require payment for time not worked, such as vacations or holidays. Likewise, Florida, like most states, does not require employers to provide employees … Continue Reading

Firefighter’s Race-Baiting Rant Renews Questions About Employers’ Access to Facebook Pages

Do employers have a right to demand access to their employees’ Facebook pages to ensure employees’ posts do not reflect poorly on their employers? A Miami-Dade firefighter’s race-baiting rant about the Trayvon Martin case – posted on his personal Facebook page – is sparking new interest in this question.

Captain Brian Beckmann’s post, published on the website theGrio.com, … Continue Reading

“ABC’s Session” Gets Back to Basics at Akerman’s 17th Annual Labor & Employment Law Seminar

The more things change, the more they stay the same. As labor and employment lawyers, in-house counsel, and human resources professionals, we are thrown into a whirlwind of complex workplace legal issues on a daily basis. No matter what the issue, though, I find that these fundamental questions pop up on a consistent basis:

  • Is this employee eligible for FMLA
Continue Reading

No, You Can’t Fire Employees For Being Out on Jury Duty

A former Orlando-based employee of a national trucking company has filed a lawsuit claiming that she was terminated for serving on a federal jury, according to a recent article in the Orlando Sentinel.    In an unusual move, the court has appointed a lawyer to represent the former employee.

Whether or not the employee’s allegations are true, employers should remember … Continue Reading

EEOC Launches Small Business Task Force

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) launched an internal task force that will focus on expanding and improving outreach and technical assistance to small businesses. The task force will seek to find avenues in which the agency may better collaborate with the small business community.

The internal task force includes EEOC District Directors from the Birmingham, Charlotte and San … Continue Reading

NLRB Poster on Employee Rights Now Available for Download

The workplace poster on employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act is now available as a free download from the NLRB website.

Most private-sector employers, both union and non-union, must display the poster where other workplace notices are posted as of November 14, 2011. Employers who customarily post personnel rules or policies on an internet or intranet site must … Continue Reading

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