The HR Specialist: Ohio Employment Law — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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The HR Specialist: Ohio Employment Law

Sometimes, all it takes to cure a budget shortfall is to cut one position. As a business move, doing so is just as valid as conducting a much larger layoff. As long as you can show the change was based on business needs, you won’t lose a discrimination case.

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Taking FMLA leave doesn’t protect employees from being fired for other reasons.

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Ashtabula-based Iten Industries has received a Safety Intervention Grant from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to purchase lifting equipment designed to reduce workplace injuries.

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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.

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Sometimes, internal investigations pull back the curtain on performance problems that have nothing to do with the original inquiry. Even if it turns out that the initial reason for the investigation was unfounded, you don’t have to ignore other issues you may uncover.

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Surreptitiously gathering evidence in violation of your rules isn’t protected activity and can’t be the basis for an employee’s subsequent retaliation lawsuit.

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Like many state and local government ­employers, you no doubt are looking to cut ex­­penses, including labor costs. If you must scale back employee pay, make sure that there’s no discrimination in whose salary is cut. Other­­wise, your savings may be eaten up in litigation costs.

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Employers don’t want distracted em­ployees, especially when their jobs require their undivided attention. That’s reason enough to tell workers to shut off their cellphones and other electronic devices. Ignoring such orders and engaging in distractions like reading text messages is misconduct.

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A South Carolina man has been convicted of workers’ compensation fraud for bilking the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation out of $143,203.33.

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Not every terminated employee sues, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared. If you fire someone for breaking a rule, note which one.

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North Canton-based Star Air faces a DOL lawsuit that seeks more than $600,000 in fines and reinstatement for two drivers allegedly fired for re­­fusing to drive unsafe vehicles.

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Meyer Tool has agreed to pay $325,000 to settle race discrimination charges leveled by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Pro­­grams. The OFCCP claims the company systematically discriminated against black applicants.

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Your sexual harassment policy may not be worth the paper it’s printed on if doesn’t spell out an alternative reporting option for em­­ployees who allege they were harassed by their supervisors. You must allow employees to bypass their bosses.

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Sushi Rock restaurants failed to ensure tipped employees made at least minimum wage, according to the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division. Now the chain must pay at least $100,000 in back pay, to be split among 54 employees.

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If you really agonize over termination decisions, here’s a reason to relax a little. Firing someone for wrong-doing doesn’t require you to be absolutely right about what happened. As long as you conduct a reasonable investigation and make the decision based on the facts as you understand them, a court won’t second-guess you.

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If you need to conduct a reduction in force because of slow business, it’s perfectly legal to move employees around to better meet your new needs even as you lay off others. Few judges will second-guess those moves, even if the main im­pact is on one employee who happens to be a member of a protected class.

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Under the ADA, employees who associate with disabled individuals can’t be discriminated against. But that doesn’t mean you are obligated to accommodate any schedule needs, provide additional time off or otherwise accommodate the employee so she can care for the disabled child.

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If you haven’t been enforcing your rule requiring absent employees to call in every day, start now. Just make sure employees know you plan to enforce it going forward.

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Each year the Human Rights Cam­­paign rates Fortune 500 companies on how well they treat lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. Nine Ohio firms couldn’t have scored any better, earning perfect 100s from the gay-rights advocacy organization.

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The Kroger grocery chain, headquartered in Cincinnati, is being sued for disability discrimination by a former employee in Texas.

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