The HR Specialist: Employment Law

The immigration status of employees is irrelevant when it comes to their ability to file and win Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuits, as a new case shows.

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The EEOC recently issued long-awaited final regulations to the ADA Amendments Act, clarifying many of the confusing provisions contained in the 2009 law. The final regulations further expand the ADAAA’s goal of broadening the definition of “disabil­ity” under the ADA. As a result, a greater number of employees will be covered under federal disability law and be eligible to file ADA-related claims.

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You may have heard that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published final regulations—which took effect May 16, 2011—regarding employers’ Form I-9 employment verification practices. The good news: You don’t need to change any of your current practices—as long as your forms and practices are up-to-date.

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You may have heard that employers aren’t permitted to force employees to submit to medical exams because they could reveal a disability. And courts often see impromptu medical exams as thinly veiled attempts to push employees out the door. While pre-employment, pre-job-offer medical exams are barred, there are times when medical exams for existing employees are fine.

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New Jersey this year became the first state to pass a law that forbids employers from requiring job applicants to be currently employed. Now legislation introduced in Congress—the Fair Employment Act of 2011—would amend Title VII to add “unemployed status” to the list of categories protected from job discrimination.

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When supervisors hear someone complaining about sexual or other harassment, they may be tempted to blow it off as a distraction or tell the co-workers involved to stop it. That’s not good enough. To prevent a successful employee lawsuit, you must impress on first-line supervisors and managers that it’s their responsibility to report any sexual harassment complaint to HR or other appropriate company official.

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Last month, The HR Specialist hosted the 7th annual Labor  & Employment Law Advanced Practices (LEAP) Symposium in Las Vegas. Here are a few nuggets of insight and advice from the more than 30 attorney speakers:

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For years, business groups have unsuccessfully lobbied Congress to give employers the option to substitute compensatory time off for overtime pay—an option currently allowed for public employers. Now, some state legislatures are taking up the cause.

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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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A new Towers Watson study says that 21% of employers increased their liability limits for their directors & officers liability coverage last year, compared with only 12% who did so in 2008.

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