Human Resources

From employment law to compensation and benefits, FMLA and hiring and firing and more, Business Management Daily provides comprehensive Human Resources updates.

Discover how your colleagues – and competitors – are dealing with discrimination and harassment, employment law, benefits programs, and more.

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Here's your monthly quiz on HR news and trends.
This time of year, illnesses of employ­­ees or their loved ones, and bad weather, can lead to legitimate spikes in workplace absences. Maintain productivity by following this advice.
Sensitive workers may perceive everyday interactions as harassment. But courts don’t measure whether workplace hostility exists based on that employee’s subjective assessment of the situation. Instead, a court will focus on how a hypothetical “reasonable” employee would view it.

Employees who complain to HR or management about alleged discrimination or harassment are engaging in protected activity and can’t be punished for complaining. But what if the employee can’t summon the courage to complain and, instead, sends someone else? Is sending a spokesperson to complain also protected activity? A federal court says “yes,” at least when it’s the employee’s spouse who takes action.

Q. An employee brought to the attention of his supervisor that a co-worker had posted a comment on social media saying that her supervisor is Scrooge, that the supervisor is probably planning to fire a bunch of people right before the holidays, and that everyone should complain about her unfair behavior so that the supervisor is the one who will get fired. The company has a social media policy that prohibits making disparaging comments about it or its employees. Can the company discipline the posting co-worker for these comments?

Q. At our company holiday party, which was not at the workplace or during work hours, an employee told some inappropriate jokes and put an arm around a co-worker who did not appreciate it and complained. The company is aware that the employee took a leave of absence for treatment of chemical dependency and is concerned that the employee might have been drinking at the party. Can the company discipline the employee? The company would like the employee to get additional help for chemical dependency.
Q. We have an employee who was employed with our company from May, 2010 until April, 2011. The employee was rehired in 2015 and worked approximately nine months. Has the employee satisfied the requirement of 12 months of employment despite the three-year gap in employment under the FMLA?

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act prevents employers from discharging returning service members for anything except “cause” for a year after their return. But what if the service member is working under an employment contract? What if that agreement has a termination clause built in? Does USERRA prevent the employer for exercising that contractual term?

Q. We terminated an employee’s employment because of a recent conviction. A state agency has asked for details about the reason for the termination. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, what can we share with the agency regarding details on background checks?
The recently negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement will go before Congress for ratification next year. Organized labor has been one of the most vocal critics of the pact and certainly labor leaders will be scrutinizing the agreement’s Chapter 19.
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