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The HR Specialist

Ever since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) took effect a dozen years ago, hiring managers have walked a legal tightrope in job interviews. ADA’s basic message is that you can’t ask pre-employment questions that could reveal the applicant’s disability. But the law sets different rules for different stages of the hiring process, including: Pre-offer. [...]

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Even if you ran into a stone wall in the past trying to obtain references on prospective employees, don’t give up. It’s true that some bosses are reluctant to talk about former employees because they fear lawsuits if they give a bad review. But attitudes are changing. More states are passing laws that provide immunity [...]

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Issue: Minor squabbles between employees and supervisors escalating into illegal “discipline.” Risk: If left unchecked, they can escalate, resulting in discrimination or retaliation claims. Action: Use the following case …

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Issue: Survivors of recent layoffs are asking about severance plans before signing on. Benefit: More than ever, a good severance plan can help lure the best candidates. Action: Trumpet …

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Issue Employees wrongly assume their e-mail musings are private, privileged communications. Risk: If you don’t eliminate that belief, you’ll open your organization to disputes and lawsuits. Action: Require employees …

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Issue: Your broad liability for workers’ comp injuries. Risk: If supervisors exert control over employees outside the workplace, your organization could be liable for resulting injuries. Action: Alert supervisors …

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Is your health plan covering employees’ adult children, ex-spouses or other relatives? If you don’t know the answer, it may be time for a health plan “participant audit” to help weed …

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The U.S. Labor Department just published final rules that set new minimum standards for the timing and content of COBRA continuing health insurance notices. The rules, which come with sample notices …

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The federal panel investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks says the private sector is still unprepared for attacks. It’s expected to endorse a national emergency readiness standard that calls on …

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Issue: Should you set a probation period for new employees? Risk: It can jeopardize your employment-at-will rights by implying that once the period ends, employees become “permanent.” Action: Dump …

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