HR Soapbox

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When it comes to discrimination law, courts view “religion” very broadly, meaning you may need to approve some pretty unusual requests. Last week, a Tennessee man quit his job after seeing that his W-2 form was labeled with the number 666 ("the number of the beast"). Here's how to best identify and handle requests for religious accommodations ...

Today’s news that union membership has fallen to its lowest level since the Great Depression may have employers feeling pretty good. But those numbers obscure another reality going on – employees are actually gaining powerful new rights to act collectively at both union and non-union workplaces due to a series of controversial, pro-employee rulings by the National Labor Relations Board (the NLRB).
Rhode Island claimed the honor last year of passing the nation’s most unique employment-related law, which made job bias against homeless people unlawful. An increasing number of job applicants are actually leaving their addresses off their résumés, and it has nothing to do with homelessness. More are dropping the address for other reasons, including ...
If your organization uses a third-party company to run checks on applicants’ (or employees’) criminal records and credit histories, take note: Starting Jan. 1, 2013, you need to use a revised government form to notify employees about the results of these checks. Here's the deal, and a link to the new form ...
There’s no law saying that work has to be fun … or that managers must have the kindness and patience of Mr. Rogers. But as long as managers treat their employees alike—without regard to race, age, sex or other protected characteristic—they can typically be as unpleasant as they want. That said, it's still a bad idea to tolerate toxic-boss behavior. Here's why ... plus a link to The Great Boss Checklist
With the holiday season upon us, you're likely seeing varying degrees of holiday cheer in your workplace. Some people wear a new Christmas sweater every day ... some scowl through the entire month. But can supervisors who like to share their excessive holiday glee be asking for legal trouble? It's possible if they offend workers from other faiths. That's why it's wise to not go overboard on the religous aspects of the season, and don't punish those who want to sit out the festivities...

Every year, office holiday parties carry the risk of drunken exploits, gag gifts gone wrong, ill-advised sexual overtures and the ever-present threat of bad dancing. Here are 10 real-life examples of employees being naughty, not nice, at company parties, plus a dozen ways employers can put more ho-ho (and less oh-no) in their parties this year ... 

Now that the Obama administration is unshackled from an upcoming election, expect it to push hard for changes in workplace law that it failed to achieve in the first term. President Obama has so far proven adept at using executive orders and his agencies—namely the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and Department of Labor—to advance a pro-employee workplace agenda. What does this mean for employment law in 2013? Here’s a quick outlook ...

Hurricane Sandy is a powerful reminder: Natural (and man-made) disasters can threaten at any time. Smart employers make contingency plans so they can stay up and running even when normal work operations are disrupted. Here are eight key pieces to a crisis-management plan, which you can coordinate with the appropriate departments.

Political talk in the workplace typically heats to a boiling point about this time every four years. The closeness of the Romney-Obama race is stirring the pot even more. For employers, your goal in these final couple of weeks is to balance employees’ interest in speaking freely with your interest in maintaining order and productivity. Here are some rules to help you minimize distractions ...

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