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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Sometimes, employers don’t learn about alleged discrimination or harassment until an employee brings up the claim when facing discharge for other reasons. If that happens, how should you respond?

Under some limited circumstances, employers may be obligated to suggest reasonable accommodations for struggling workers who have obvious disabilities that appear to interfere with their ability to perform essential job functions. But that’s really only true for em­­ployees whose disabilities are obvious and limit the employee’s ability to speak up for himself.

United States v. Windsor struck down a Defense of Marriage Act provision that interpreted “marriage” and “spouse” to be limited to opposite-sex marriage for the purposes of federal law. Now the Department of Labor has issued rules extending FMLA protections to same-sex married couples.

Employers that have call-in procedures for absences can require employees use them when requesting FMLA leave or updating their status. Simply having a doctor fax in medical excuses isn’t enough.
Remind supervisors that they must never make jokes (or assumptions) about employees based on where they were born, their origins or other national or ethnic characteristics.
Q. One of our employees is complaining of “stress and anxiety.” Is that enough to put us on notice of a serious health condition under the FMLA?

When harassment allegations surface, we often advise separating the two parties to minimize chances of more misbehavior. Sometimes, employees find their own ways to keep away from harassers. However, business realities can make that unsustainable.

Q. We recently notified employees that we will be cutting pay due to difficult economic times. Then we received an anonymous letter expressing concerns about this decision. It suggested alternatives to pay cuts, such as eliminating our employer 401(k) match. We determined that the letter was written by one employee and edited by another. Can we terminate them?
Employers’ health costs will accelerate next year, but a 6.8% increase in 2015 won’t signal a coming cost spiral, PricewaterhouseCoopers says in a new report.

Quite often, employees’ attorneys make sure supervisors are separately charged and individually liable. Cite this trend during training to instill in your managers and supervisors that they need to follow the professional advice HR provides on discipline, hiring and other issues—or else face the consequences.

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