The HR Specialist: Employment Law

If your company has established top pay levels for each job classification, you probably end up giving some long-tenured (and, therefore older) em­­ployees smaller raises than less-experienced employees. But those older workers won’t be able to successfully claim age discrimination, as long as you can explain that the pay difference is due to your clearly documented wage schedules.

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The U.S. Department of Labor recently issued three new fact sheets that help clarify what types of employer actions rise to the level of illegal retaliation under the FMLA and FLSA.

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“Document, Document, Document.” Employment attorneys say it all the time. The quality of your documentation relating to performance management and discipline goes to the heart of your credibility as a manager or HR professional. Anything less and your documentation becomes Exhibit A for the plaintiff.

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Sometimes, layoffs are inevitable … and they’re always a legal minefield. Get it wrong and your attorneys’ fees can easily exceed the labor costs you hoped to save. Decide who should go in much the same way you decide who to hire. Look at the jobs that will survive and select the employees who best fit those jobs.

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The U.S. Office of Federal Contracts Compliance Programs (OFCCP) proposed a new rule that would require federal contractors and subcontractors to have at least 7% of their workforce contain people with disabilities.

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Florida’s version of the FMLA allows workers to take up to three days of leave if the employee or a family member is the victim of domestic violence. Now a state senator, Mike Fasano, has proposed an amendment that would extend that protection to pet abuse.

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The next time you conduct discrimination training, remind supervisors that discriminating against employees because of their spouses’ protected characteristics can be just as legally dangerous as direct discrimination against the employees themselves.

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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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