The HR Specialist

The recently negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement will go before Congress for ratification next year. Organized labor has been one of the most vocal critics of the pact and certainly labor leaders will be scrutinizing the agreement’s Chapter 19.

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Employers that have strict codes of conduct prohibiting harassment of any kind can still punish employees whose religious beliefs are behind their harassment of gay co-workers. You can’t interfere with an employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs, but you can punish religious “expression” that interferes with another employee’s rights.

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Most managers know that it’s against the law to discriminate against employees and applicants because of their race, gender, age, religion or disability. But you may not know that those same federal laws also make it illegal for employers and supervisors to retaliate in any way against employees who voice complaints about on-the-job discrimination.

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The Fair Labor Standards Act allows government agencies to offer comp time in lieu of overtime when employees work more than 40 per week. As long as you clearly let employees know that’s how you will treat OT, they can’t complain later.

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Among the cases that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear during its 2015-2016 term is one of particular significance to those in the public sector—Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. A decision in favor of the plaintiffs has the potential to affect the implementation and regulation of union agency shop fees nationwide.

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Employees who want to alter their schedule to accommodate religious needs need to do more than simply mention religion generally. At a minimum, they need to explain their religious practices.

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For many employers, their most direct contact with the Afford­­able Care Act arrives this winter. Employ­­ers with 50 or more full-time-equivalent workers in 2015 must report to the IRS their offer of minimum essential and affordable health insurance to employees. Here are the details.

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The EEOC issued a proposed rule earlier this month that aims to clarify how employers’ wellness programs would interact with a section of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

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Don’t look for release of those controversial changes to federal overtime laws anytime soon.

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Sometimes an eager candidate will apply for several jobs with the same employer. If you are sure he or she isn’t qualified, you don’t have to agree to an interview for each open position. Be aware that if you do interview him for one of the positions and choose someone else outside his protected class, he may sue and argue he was much better qualified than whoever you did choose.

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