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The HR Specialist: Ohio Employment Law

As many of our readers are aware, November’s ballot will probably contain a referendum asking Ohio voters to approve the Ohio Healthy Families Act. The proposed legislation would require Ohio employers to provide seven days of paid sick leave annually for most employees. Employers had better be forewarned and forearmed in the event the proposal becomes law …

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John Deeds, former director of regulatory initiatives for Duke Energy, won Round 1 of his whistle-blower lawsuit against the utility. Deeds claims he was fired in April 2006 after questioning whether payments Duke Energy made to certain large customers were “sham transactions” intended to buy support for rate increases …

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Memories fade and employees come and go. That’s why it’s crucial for HR to keep certain records for future reference. Among these records are organizational charts showing who had supervisory and other authority over other employees. Why? Lawsuits over lost promotions or firings can take years before they actually go to trial …

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What happens if an employee who qualifies for FMLA leave also has a qualified disability under the ADA, a disability that could be accommodated with additional time off or a job modification? Before you discharge someone unable to return to her old job after 12 weeks of FMLA leave, consider whether she is disabled and can be accommodated—if she asks …

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If you do a quick assessment of whether your organization may be inadvertently discriminating in pay and there seem to be big differences between the groups, it’s probably time to seriously consider doing a full analysis of your pay structure …
 

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Do you have a problem supervisor or manager who acts like a Marine Corps drill sergeant? While it may not be technically illegal to berate and yell at subordinates, abusive bosses sometimes cross a dangerous legal line—the one that marks the boundary of behavior that constitutes intentional infliction of emotional distress …

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he Kroger Company will pay $16 million to settle a race discrimination lawsuit by 12 current and former employees. The lawsuit accused the Cincinnati-based grocery chain of blocking the promotions of black employees and paying them less than whites …

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Government agencies that employ fewer than five people in fire protection or law enforcement aren’t required to pay those employees overtime. A common problem is that many small public agencies rely on volunteers to perform firefighting and law enforcement duties. If that’s true at your agency, make absolutely sure those “volunteers” meet the volunteer test …

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Fifteen Spanish workers are suing Owens-Illinois, Inc., based in Perrysburg, over asbestos exposure. A New Jersey appellate panel reversed a lower court ruling that dismissed the workers’ suit due to lack of jurisdiction …

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The Mount Vernon City Schools’ Board of Education has moved to terminate a middle school teacher accused of burning a cross into a student’s arm. Over the years, school board officials have reprimanded Freshwater several times for refusing to remove his Bible from his classroom desk and teaching creationism alongside evolution …

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A California appeals court has ordered Cincinnati-based Cintas Corporation to pay more than $1.18 million in back wages and interest to 219 northern California workers for violating the city of Hayward’s Living Wage Ordinance. The judgment is believed to be the largest living-wage award in U.S. history.

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The floodgates of association discrimination lawsuits are slowly opening. Although the following case ultimately was dismissed because the employee couldn’t show he was harmed or that the company engaged in discriminatory hiring practices, it serves as a powerful reminder that lawsuits can come from just about any employee …

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Employers in male-dominated industries, take note: Make sure new female hires who work in a largely male environment have access to restroom facilities that meet women’s needs. Don’t expect women to adopt male restroom habits …

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Miami County Municipal Court Judge Mel Kemmer decided to take matters into his own hands after a bailiff who threatened him was allowed to return to work. …

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Two employees of the Lakota School District north of Cincinnati resigned after an investigation confirmed they made racially insensitive remarks about black central office officials …

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Facing threats of impeachment for turning the Office of Attorney General into a “raunchy frat pad,” Marc Dann initially held onto his post. After firing two staffers for sexual harassment, and accepting the resignation of a third for failing to properly supervise them, Dann hoped to put the scandal behind him …

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It turns out the California Nurses Association (CNA) may have been exaggerating slightly when it accused members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) of stalking and harassment. The two unions are engaged in competing efforts to represent Ohio nurses … 

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Employers, beware! Retaliation against a third party who is associated with an employee who engaged in protected activity now can be the basis of a lawsuit in Ohio …

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If you throw an employee party that involves alcohol, make sure no one is on the clock or has to do work on behalf of the organization. Better yet, don’t provide alcohol. One employer didn’t heed that advice and wound up facing a third-party negligence lawsuit …

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Sometimes, the best thing to do is to settle an employee’s discrimination complaint. That’s especially true if you believe the employee may have a case and deserves a second chance. However, you don’t want the settlement to come back to bite you …

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