The HR Specialist: Employment Law

If your employees post on their work-related Twitter accounts, a pending lawsuit in a federal California court could answer an important question: Who owns that Twitter “handle” and those followers when the employee leaves?

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With Congress focused on election-year politics, keep an eye on your state for potential changes to employment laws, says the Society for Human Resource Management. Some issues on tap: background checks, paid sick leave, mandatory E-Verify and workplace bullying.

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Sexual harassment allegations often come down to he said/she said arguments. Without hearing from both sides, there’s no way to determine what happened. If one of the employees involved in the allegations won’t talk, you can discipline him for refusing to co­­operate and the courts will back you up.

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The National Labor Relations Board is continuing its string of pro-union actions: 1. Arbitration agreements can’t ban class-action lawsuits. 2. New rules will speed up union elections. 3. Poster requirement delayed to April 30. 4. NLRB makes controversial recess appointments.

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While employees with chronic medical conditions are typically entitled to FMLA leave, such intermittent absences are fertile ground for abuse. After all, an employee on intermittent leave can simply call in and say his condition is acting up. But that doesn’t mean you’re powerless if you suspect abuse.

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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 job candidate with the most experience might also be the oldest applicant. But that doesn’t mean you always have to pick that person. You can use other factors as long as none of them hints at age discrimination. The key is to maintain impeccable records showing how and why you chose the candidate you did.

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An employee has sued for religious discimination after he was fired from a plastics plant for refusing to wear a sticker saying 666, noting the number of days the plant has gone accident-free. The employee noted his “sincere religious belief that to wear the number 666 would be to accept the mark of the beast and be condemned to hell.”

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An increasing number of those managers are filing FLSA lawsuits, claiming they should be classified as nonexempt, hourly employees—and, thus, due overtime—because they spend most of their time doing the same tasks as their subordinates. But that’s not the test.

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The U.S. Department of Transportation issued final regulations Dec. 2 that ban the use of hand-held cellphones by drivers of commercial motor vehicles, including trucks and buses on interstate routes.

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