The HR Specialist: Employment Law

You’ve told managers before, now tell ’em again: Email may seem like private communication, but it really isn’t. Anything a manager says in an email may become evidence in a lawsuit.

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Eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave during each 12-month period. But lawsuits often hinge on one question: Which 12 months? It’s the employer’s duty to let employees know how much leave they’re entitled to or have al­­ready taken.

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Nine in 10 employers expect litigation against their organizations to increase or stay the same in 2012 compared with 2011, according to Fulbright & Jaworski’s 8th annual Litigation Trends Survey Report.

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

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Do you offer extra off-duty training for employees that, while technically voluntary, is strongly recommended? If training participants are hourly employees, chances are you will have to pay them for this time.

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OSHA just released its list of the most frequently cited workplace safety and health violations for fiscal year 2011. Topping the list: fall protection in construction, scaffolding in construction, hazard communication, respiratory protection, lockout/tagout, electrical wiring methods, powered industry trucks, ladders in construction ,,,

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The EEOC issued an advisory letter last month that gives employers more clarity on their proper use of applicants’ arrest and conviction records during the hiring process.

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OSHA has issued its first written en­­force­­ment instructions regarding incidents of workplace violence. Officials will use the directive to decide whether allegations of workplace violence warrant an investigation.

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A customer service rep at a call center went out on bereavement leave at least once a month. Lots of aunts and uncles, he said. The HR department discovered the employee had a family member on the “inside” at the funeral home who was creating a fake program for each fake funeral.

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The FMLA says employers can run out the FMLA clock by counting paid time off against an employee’s 12-week leave entitlement. Make sure employees understand how that works. That way, employees won’t run out of leave and lose their jobs because they didn’t realize the FMLA clock was ticking.

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