The HR Specialist: Employment Law

Under most states’ wage payment laws, each failure to provide a pay stub to an employee counts as a separate violation. A new court ruling shows how liability can add up quickly … and it serves as another cautionary tale about mislabeling employees as independent contractors.

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In what could be the start of a national trend, Connecticut lawmakers OK’d a new law that requires employers with 50 or more workers in Connecticut to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to their “service workers.”

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After the 2008 amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), many more employees are now considered to have job-protected “disabilities” under the law. So when it comes to employee leave, what’s a “reasonable” accommodation for disabled people?

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An employee at Capital Title of Texas refused her boss’s request to dye her gray hair and was fired. As you can guess, she sued for age discrimination and is awaiting her day in court … probably in front of a gray-haired judge.

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued new guidelines in August that require health insurance plans to cover eight different kinds of women’s preventive serv­ices without charging a co-payment or deductible.

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Some employees—seeing their FMLA eligibility on the horizon—may ask for FMLA leave before they’ve actually hit the one-year and 1,250-hour eligibility milestones. That’s OK. Remember, employers can’t deny an employee’s FMLA re­­quest simply because it was made before the employee became eligible.

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The EEOC has an inde­pendent right to investigate discrimination claims and can expand investigations well beyond any initial complaint. For that reason, it’s important to pro­­actively look for inadvertent discrimination in all your hiring and em­­ployment practices. Don’t wait for the EEOC or a state anti-bias agency to come snooping around.

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Business groups aren’t pleased with new U.S. Department of Labor proposed changes to the so-called “persuader” regulations under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. They say the changes will restrict access to legal counsel and make it easier for unions to organize.

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More than a decade after the U.S. Supreme Court decided its biggest cases on sexual harassment and hostile work environment, women are still filing and winning sexual harassment lawsuits. Many of those cases could easily have been prevented if HR and upper-level management had taken regular, surprise walks through the workplace and rooted out obvious signs.

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With tornados, floods and fires topping the news in recent months, a question arises: What’s an employer’s obligation to give FMLA leave when the disaster affects employees or their families?

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