Category Archives: Employee Handbooks & Policies

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Protected Conduct or Hate Speech? Managing Diverse Viewpoints in the Workplace

Recent events have underscored the difficulties employers face in managing diverse workforces in which employees hold a wide-range of political perspectives.  The mere discussion of the news of the day can create divisive conflicts, especially since some employees might feel emboldened to express views once thought to be offensive or taboo, while others, in turn, believe they are compelled to … Continue Reading

Employee Wellness Developments: Keeping Your Finger on the Pulse

As we alluded in our “Preparing for the Unknown: Open Enrollment 2018” blog post, employers that are finalizing their employee benefit plan designs in advance of the 2018 plan year would be well-advised to monitor the developments concerning the future of health care reform, the employee wellness program regulations, and mental health benefit enforcement activity.… Continue Reading

Mandatory Flu Vaccination Policies: Time for a Check-Up

After a measles outbreak at Disneyland spread to 134 Californians and residents in six other states and two other countries, California adopted a law removing “personal belief” exemptions from vaccinating children in public or private schools or childcare centers. But employers faced with choosing between wanting a healthy work-site and respecting individual worker’s beliefs about vaccines lack such clear direction. … Continue Reading

Dogged by Dogs at Work: Barking Up the Wrong Tree?

Suppose you hire Kristin Chenoweth to be your new TV show host, and she shows up on the set with her dog Thunder, claiming she needs the dog for emotional support. Must you allow this distraction?

Or suppose her third cousin shows up at your restaurant with Thunder’s twin bearing a “service animal tag,” yapping away and disturbing servers and … Continue Reading

Steps for Solving the Wage Deduction Dilemma

Figuring out what deductions from an employee’s wages are permitted and prohibited under the law is a quandary. May an employer deduct an employee’s wages for personal charges on the company’s credit card? What about the cost to replace company property the employee lost or damaged? And what if an employee resigns and never returns the company-issued laptop or other … Continue Reading

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

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