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The HR Specialist: Ohio Employment Law

The FMLA is difficult to administer, especially now that it has been amended to include additional time off in connection with military service. Plus, new FMLA regulations make more workers eligible for leave if they care for a child. Rest assured that if you promptly fix an innocent mistake when it’s brought to your attention, you won’t be automatically liable for FMLA interference.

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Employees who report harassment are protected from retaliation, even if the underlying complaint lacks merit.

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Canton-based Republic Steel has agreed to settle outstanding training and safety issues discovered in the aftermath of a worker’s fall in 2010.

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If you are contemplating changing your compensation structure to reflect today’s lean job market, do so carefully—especially if you suspect you may be overpaying some employees for the work they do. The problem: Older, more experienced workers may be at the top of your pay scales.

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If you suspect an employee is abusing your generous sick and disability leave benefits, consider cracking down on fraud. As long as you can document that you made a good-faith decision to punish leave abuse, a court won’t second-guess your actions.

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HR professionals can’t be everywhere at once, making sure no boss ever harasses a subordinate. It will happen, even in the best, most progressive organizations. Protect against such nonsense with a robust anti-harassment policy …

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Most HR professionals assume that a warning letter isn’t an adverse employment action and there­­fore can’t be the basis for a lawsuit. And that’s largely true. But if the warning letter also mentions restrictions on how well the employee will be rated at evaluation time, there may be trouble.

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Asking to have a position re­­classified at a higher pay grade isn’t the same as requesting a promotion. If the request is turned down, the employee can’t sue for a denied promotion.

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OSHA has cited Boomerang Rubber Inc. with 31 health and safety violations after a worker’s arm was amputated while he was performing maintenance on a rubber processing machine at a truck mat and mud flap manufacturing plant in Botkins.

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Offering disability benefits to an employee doesn’t prevent an em­­ployer from later contending that the employee is not actually disabled.

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Employers are supposed to provide reasonable accommodations that remove barriers to working for disabled workers. But those accommodations don’t have to include implementing changes that make a disabled employee’s commute easier.

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Ohio employees filed 313 fewer EEOC discrimination charges last year than in 2010, according to data the commission just released.

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Citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Oncale v. Sun­­downer, the EEOC has now stated that it believes Title VII prohibits workplace discrimination against transgender people—those whose gender identity or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.

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A controversial Pregnancy Dis­­crimi­­nation Act lawsuit involving an un­­married woman who was artificially inseminated and who teaches at a Cincinnati Catholic school will go to trial following a federal court ruling.

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One of the only ways to protect your company from hostile work environment lawsuits is to provide a way for employees to complain. Then investigate the allegations.

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When it comes to promotions, smart employers make sure they carefully document the selection process. That way, if an employee challenges the decision, the company will have something compelling to show the court.

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Some employees mistakenly believe that when they take FMLA leave, they are guaranteed an unchanged job when they return. That’s not true. What the FMLA promises is that employees who take protected leave will be returned to the same or an equivalent job.

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Retail giant Dollar General faces a retaliation suit after it fired two workers from its store in Marion.

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Before you can fix a problem like offensive graffiti in the workplace, you have to know it exists. Short of conducting spot inspections, the only way you will know what’s going on away from headquarters and in the trenches is from employee and supervisor complaints.

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You may assume that an employee who obviously isn’t meeting expectations will simply go away when you fire him. Don’t bet on it. He’ll probably apply for unemployment. Be prepared to show exactly why you terminated him.

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