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The HR Specialist: Employment Law

Here’s good news for employers trying to manage FMLA leave and prevent abuse: If an employee’s FMLA certification form is incomplete or vague, you don’t have to accept it … you can deny FMLA leave to that person. Just make sure you give the employee at least seven calendar days to correct deficiencies on the form.

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Test your knowledge of recent trends in employment law, comp & benefits and other HR issues with our monthly mini-quiz …

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The U.S. Department of Labor last month released the Employee’s Guide to the FMLA, a 16-page booklet describing employee rights and duties under the law.

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Remember: Applicants—not just em­­ployees—are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act, as the following case shows.

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A white Chicago teacher was suspended for five days after he used the N-word in what he described as a “teachable moment.” The teacher used the epithet after he caught students passing a note containing rap lyrics that included the word.

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Employees occasionally have what can be called “I’m mad as hell and I can’t take it any more” moments. They make a lot of noise and storm out the door. Maybe they toss an “I quit” over their shoulder on the way out. In such cases, it’s best to let those employees know as soon as possible that you accept the resignation.

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As part of negotiated settlements or court judgments, employers often sign off on “consent decrees” in which they agree to take (or stop) a certain action or pay damages. The Labor and Employment Law Program at Cornell University has unveiled an online repository of consent decrees, searchable by type of claim.

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Do you ask applicants what year they graduated from high school or college (or otherwise finished their education)? Does your application re­­quest that information? Watch out!

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Determining the amount of overtime pay depends on identifying an em­­ployee’s hourly rate for the first 40 hours. That can sometimes be more complicated than it sounds, especially for organizations that pay their hourly employees a set amount for their entire workweek, including overtime.

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A recent court ruling in California confirms that the Americans with Disabilities Act does not protect the right of disabled employees to use medical marijuana, even if it’s prescribed by a doctor. Reason: The ADA specifically notes that a person with a legally protected “disability” does not include someone who is currently using illegal drugs.

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