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The HR Specialist: Ohio Employment Law

It seems pretty obvious you can’t legally fire an employee because she took FMLA leave. Every employer knows that, right? Perhaps not. Recently, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals had to rule on the question when an employer hoped to get a definitive ruling that employees are entitled to leave, but can be fired for using that leave …

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Some employees may believe their co-workers and supervisors are out to get them because of race, sex or some other protected characteristic. Then they look for evidence to support those beliefs. They catalog every slight for future reference—maybe in a lawsuit. Your best defense against such litigation is a well-established progressive discipline system …

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The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) controls how employers handle employees who also serve in the military. As the following case shows, federal appeals courts are losing patience with employers that don’t know or don’t follow USERRA’s strict rules for reemployment …

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While USERRA may be comprehensive and quite broad, there is at least one area that courts seem willing to concede can be changed. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has recently ruled that employees and employers who agree to arbitrate disputes can include USERRA claims in that arbitration agreement …

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Managers who raise potential discrimination claims to upper-level managers and then tell affected employees about the problem are protected from retaliation under the Ohio Revised Code’s employment discrimination sections …

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Employers that let supervisors add to or alter the way they conduct performance appraisals are playing with fire. For example, supervisors should never be allowed to assess things like tardiness and attendance using anything but official HR records …

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Duke Energy Corp. has reached a private settlement with John Deeds, a former employee who claimed he was fired in retaliation for questioning millions of dollars in payments that he considered kickbacks to corporate clients …

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Woodmere Village in northeastern Ohio has settled an EEOC lawsuit with two police officers who claimed they were fired because they are white …

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Does your organization have arbitration agreements in place for some employees, but not others? Then make sure you keep careful track of whose cases should go to arbitration and whose should not. If one of your employees sues in court, you may lose the right to arbitration if you don’t object to the lawsuit quickly …

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Shelley Evans-Marshall was hired in 2000 with a yearlong contract to teach language arts at Tippecanoe High School in Tipp City. Evans-Marshall received positive reviews in her first year, and was rehired for a second term in 2001. That fall, Evans-Marshall gave her ninth-grade class an assignment featuring the American Library Association’s list of the 100 most frequently challenged books …

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Maybe the most disturbing aspect of Timothy Tackett’s now infamous bath in the utility sink of the Xenia Burger King where he worked is how quickly the video footage of it proliferated on the Internet …

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In an effort to make a clean break from her office’s scandal-ridden recent history, Ohio Attorney General Nancy Rogers posted a new policy restricting use of office e-mail to work-related business only. Staff was also barred from private text messaging on state-issued cell phones and BlackBerrys …

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Q. Are there any alternatives to paying employees on a salary basis and having them remain exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act? …

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Q. We need our employees to work longer shifts to meet current production demands. Some employees have objected because this will interfere with their child care responsibilities. Is it legal for us to do this? …

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Q. I recently asked an applicant whether she used illegal drugs. She told me she understood that employers were not allowed to ask such questions. Is this legal? …

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The Ohio Civil Rights Commission is investigating a possible abusive environment at Chrysler’s Toledo North Assembly Plant in light of 45 civil rights complaints made by workers there in just 18 months …

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Ronald Luri, former general manager for the Cleveland division of a nationwide waste collection company, will receive $46.7 million after a Cuyahoga County jury found the company “tried to ruin his career.”

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Lou Telerico, a former stockbroker for Merrill Lynch & Co. in Cleveland, has filed a lawsuit claiming the company forced him out after 30 years of service because of his age …

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David Mann, a 54-year-old dancer for Naughty Bodies in Batavia, is suing the company, claiming it stopped giving him work after he complained that customers were sexually harassing him …

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Menorah Park, a senior living center in Beachwood, found itself in the midst of an Internet war after one of its employees slung cyber-mud at self-proclaimed media maven Perez Hilton …

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