The HR Specialist

HR Law 101: Eighteen states have legalized the use of medical marijuana: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Whether employers in those states must accommodate legal medical marijuana use depends on how courts interpret state law.

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The Institute for Integrative Nutrition took career planning a bit too far when its HR department created a chart listing every female staff member, her marital status and whether or not she had children. Then HR asked managers to predict if and when each woman might be expected to become pregnant and have to take maternity leave. You’ll never guess what happened.

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HR Law 101: Some supervisors try to skirt the whole issue of firing someone by resorting to constructive discharge. Their logic: If we make an employee’s time at work so intolerable, he or she will choose to resign. That’s an unwise strategy …

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You don’t need to enroll in college to take undergraduate and graduate HR courses that enhance your knowledge and career. Universities and other sources offer free online courses through OpenCourseWare websites. Here’s a rundown of some sources and HR courses:

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HR Law 101: Under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1985, employers are required to continue offering health insurance benefits to employees and their covered dependents for a specified period after they leave the organization …

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Employers are more likely to add permanent staff this year than to reduce staffing. But more than half plan to stand pat.

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Wading into perhaps the most mundane issue it has faced in years, the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 16 ruled that a long-term disability plan’s three-year statute of limitations on claims was “reasonable” and did not violate ERISA, which governs many employee benefits.

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HR Law 101: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 made changes to three areas of the continuing-coverage rules that apply to group health plans under COBRA …

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Increasing the minimum wage isn’t just a hot topic in the United States. On Jan. 1, Mexico’s minimum wage rose 3.9%, to at least 63.77 pesos—about $4.88—per day.

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This is the insurance industry’s lingo for a system of carrots and sticks that rewards patients for undergoing medical procedures with a good track record of success (think flu vaccines and hypertension treatment) and penalizes them for treatment of questionable value (hip-replacement surgery and many kinds of high-tech imaging, for example).

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