Mindy Chapman, Esq., Mindy Chapman & Associates

We’ve all picked up the phone and been asked to give a reference about a former employee. For some, you’re glad they are out of your hair and it’s too late for them to sue you. So you’re honest about the person. But be careful. As a new case shows, it may never be too late for an ex-employee to take you to court …

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Outdated workplace posters aren’t just a minor mistake that, at worst, could trigger only a small fine. As a new court ruling shows, poster mistakes can actually breathe new life into supposedly dead employment lawsuits …

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Have you ever been suspicious about an employee’s request for FMLA leave? Employees have learned to play the FMLA game quite well in the 17 years since the law was passed. In this new case, an "attendance-challenged" employee was denied extra vacation leave for her wedding, so she then submitted an FMLA leave request for those same dates. Hmmmm … smell fishy?

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Have you ever been suspicious about an employee’s request for FMLA leave? Employees have learned to play the FMLA game quite well in the 17 years since the law was passed. In this new case, an "attendance-challenged" employee was denied extra vacation leave for her wedding, so she then submitted an FMLA leave request for those same dates. Hmmmm … smell fishy?

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Supervisors and managers MUST report harassment to higher-ups. But what are the reporting obligations of “team leaders” or “leads”? These are people who have more responsibilities than employees but less than full-fledged members of management. Leads live in that “gray zone” somewhere in between. So what are their obligations? One court recently clarified it: Train them like managers to report suspected harassment. Staying silent will create liability.

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Supervisors and managers MUST report harassment to higher-ups. But what are the reporting obligations of “team leaders” or “leads”? These are people who have more responsibilities than employees but less than full-fledged members of management. Leads live in that “gray zone” somewhere in between. So what are their obligations? One court recently clarified it: Train them like managers to report suspected harassment. Staying silent will create liability.

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Employers are required to offer job accommodations to employees who have qualifying disabilities, says the ADA. But if an employee has a medical condition that requires frequent bathroom breaks, does that count as a “disability”? The answer is clear, especially this year …

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As winter approaches, it’s getting dark sooner each day. And with the darker season comes struggles for employees who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression in which a decrease of natural light triggers a mood disorder. So does that mean you may have to offer SAD sufferers a workspace near sunlight? Quite possibly, as a recent court ruled, “Natural light may be a medical necessity.”…

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Personal voice mail messages are in the news this month. They can come back to haunt you, as Tiger Woods found out when he left evidence of his infidelity on voice mail. But what about leaving a voice mail message for a co-worker or subordinate? One court said, “Beware!” They can be smoking guns aimed directly at the employer’s wallet …

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Personal voice mail messages are in the news this month. They can come back to haunt you, as Tiger Woods found out when he left evidence of his infidelity on voice mail. But what about leaving a voice mail message for a co-worker or subordinate? One court said, “Beware!” They can be smoking guns aimed directly at the employer’s wallet …

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