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Q. We have several employees who drive commercial motor vehicles. We have heard that there are rules about the use of cellphones by those drivers. How do those rules affect us?
If your severance packages to departing workers include a waiver of future potential lawsuits, that’s a smart strategy. But be aware that small mistakes with severance packages—especially for older workers—can lead to big problems in court.
Before you jump on the independent contractor bandwagon, remember that when challenged, many such arrangements fail to meet legal tests. The more control you assert over so-called independent contractors, the more likely a court will call them employees.
A key portion of the Affordable Care Act health care reform law is the employer play-or-pay provision, also known as the employer mandate. Regulations, which are proposed to become effective for months after Dec. 31, 2013, implement this provision. You may rely on these regs until final regs are issued.
Cliffs Natural Resources and the United Steelworkers have ratified a 37-month labor agreement, retroactive to Sept. 1, 2012. The agreement provides a 4.5% wage increase with an additional bonus of $4,250 per employee.
Minnesota’s quiet winter may become a silent spring if labor disputes continue for two of the state’s premier orchestras. Management teams at both the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra have locked out musicians after the parties failed to agree on new contracts.
The U.S. Department of Labor has sued two United Steelworkers of America locals in Ohio over alleged union election irregularities. The DOL wants both April 2012 elections nullified.
Q. Our office of about 30 people has been “asked” to stop using perfume and any other type of product that contains a fragrance because one employee claims those smells “bother” her. Everyone else feels this unfairly restricts the freedoms of the majority. Is there any legal backing to either side of this debate?
If an employee claims she’s disabled and needs just a few accommodations to do her job, it may be wise to make them—even if you aren’t convinced she’s really disabled. That way, she can’t accuse you of failing to engage in the interactive accommodations process.
Q. One of our employees who is out on workers’ comp isn’t following the treatment prescribed by the workers’ comp doctor. She fails to attend physical therapy as prescribed. She says she’s still in pain and can’t return. Our conduct policy sets progressive discipline based on different offenses. Can the failure to abide by the doctor’s orders be included as a violation?