HR Legalist

HR Legalist

Employment Law Updates
& Best Practices for Employers

WARNING: Don’t Forget About OSHA’s Crowd Safety Requirements During The Black Friday Frenzy

Posted in Uncategorized

Every year, Black Friday, the annual day-after Thanksgiving sales event, draws a record number of shoppers. In 2013, the National Retail Federation reported that 137 million shoppers participated in Black Friday. With the number of customers reaching record highs and prices at seasonal lows, employers should beware of the inevitable crowd management issues that Black Friday presents.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers have a general duty to provide a safe workplace for employees.  This duty includes maintaining a work environment that is free of recognized hazards that are likely to cause serious bodily injury or death. In recent years, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has made it clear to employers and retail store owners that crowd control preparation and precaution is necessary to avoid the obvious safety risk presented by the large crowds that are drawn by the holiday’s major sales event.  Continue Reading

Bah Humbug! The Top 5 Things to Keep in Mind When Planning an Office Holiday Party

Posted in Uncategorized, Workplace Policies

Last year HRLegalist offered Eight Tips for a Problem-Free Office Holiday Celebration. This year we’ve complemented that most excellent advice with a few more suggestions to help your company foster a festive holiday spirit while avoiding headaches – of the legal and literal variety!

Office holiday parties can be an opportunity to celebrate and bond with employees, but the combination of gift giving, religious celebration, and alcohol can leave employers open to a host of problems if the annual season’s festivities aren’t planned with an eye for detail. HR departments and the office party planner should consider the following when getting into the holiday spirit: Continue Reading

Executive Action on Immigration Expected as Early as This Week

Posted in Immigration, Uncategorized

President Obama is preparing to announce a 10-point plan to overhaul U.S. immigration policy via executive action, according to a draft proposal, that could add as many as five million new legal workers. The president is expected to make the announcement shortly after his return from the Asia Summit. Our readers doubtless are aware that the United States is home to roughly 12 million illegal immigrants. Voices from across the political spectrum have long called for reform of the nation’s immigration system. As Chief Executive, the president is responsible for administration of our immigration system. Invoking his executive authority, the president proposes a 10-point plan to expand employment authorization, increase the number of skilled worker visas, heighten border security, and increase deportations of criminal aliens.  Four of the president’s proposed measures are of particular note because they will result in a dramatic increase in the number of foreign workers who will be joining the legal workforce, paying taxes, completing I-9s, driving cars, enrolling in schools, obtaining car and health insurance, and participating more robustly in the U.S. economy. These four measures are: Continue Reading

Updated New Jersey Poster Required – Minimum Wage Increase Coming!

Posted in Uncategorized, Wage & Hour

An updated Wage and Hour Law Abstract poster has recently been issued by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The poster now reflects the new minimum wage of $8.38, which is effective January 1, 2015—this is an increase of 13 cents an hour from the current minimum wage of $8.25. Employers are required to provide all employees with notice of the new minimum wage by posting the updated poster on or before January 1, 2015. Note:  If the notice is posted before the new minimum wage takes effect, New Jersey employers must continue to post both the current and updated Wage and Hour Law Abstract posters until January 1, 2015. The posters can be viewed hereContinue Reading

Restrictive Covenant Enforcement: It’s About More Than Just Limits Of Time And Geography

Posted in Employee Leave Management, Hiring, Noncompetition Agreements, Restrictive Covenants, Uncategorized

Employers spend substantial resources training employees to fit the goals of their organizations. Often times, this includes providing the employee access to confidential information, introducing the employee to key business contacts, or providing the employee with specialized instruction on how to efficiently and effectively perform the role. Post-employment restrictive covenants, such as non-competition and non-solicitation agreements, are common tools employers use to protect against their resources being used by former employees to the advantage of direct competitors, for a period of time after an employee leaves. When an employee departs to work for a competitor and litigation ensues, the litigation frequently focuses on whether the restrictive covenants in place are enforceable based on the geographic scope and time limits in the agreement. Focusing only on the geographic scope and time limitations when drafting restrictive covenants and not on the actual duties of the employee and the employer’s business, however, can render what seems to be a valid agreement not worth the paper it is written on. Continue Reading

Prepare, Don’t Panic – Seven Tips for Ebola Preparedness in the Workplace

Posted in Ebola, Employee Leave Management, Uncategorized, Workplace Policies

While there have only been four confirmed cases of Ebola in the United States, public concern about the potential spread of the virus has been growing rapidly. Most experts agree that the U.S. health system is well-equipped to contain Ebola, which spreads only through direct contact with the bodily fluids of a person who is both infected and symptomatic. However, until the virus is contained in the three West African countries where it currently resides (Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea), the U.S. will probably continue to see “imported” cases of Ebola from these countries. Continue Reading

The Trend Continues … Pittsburgh Passes Pregnancy Accommodation Legislation

Posted in Pregnancy Discrimination, Uncategorized

Earlier this month, the Pittsburgh City Council unanimously passed two city ordinances requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers. The new legislation provides for temporary job restructuring and modified work schedules for pregnant employees, as well as granting pregnant workers access to drinking water, uncompensated breaks, and assistance with heavy lifting requirements. Continue Reading

A Farewell Letter From HRLegalist’s Outgoing Editor, Tiffani L. McDonough

Posted in Uncategorized

Today is my last day as the Editor-in-Chief (EIC) of HRLegalist. I have been the EIC since we launched HRLegalist approximately one year ago and I am thrilled with the response we have received from our readership. While I embark on a new chapter of my career, HRLegalist will continue under the direction of the new EIC, Gregory Eck. I am delighted to introduce Greg as the new EIC. Greg has written on numerous occasions for HRLegalist and his content is nothing short of excellent. I have no doubt that he will ensure HRLegalist continues as an informative and timely labor and employment law resource. I would like to say a heartfelt thank you for following HRLegalist and reading my content over the last year. It has truly been a pleasure! Continue Reading

Trick or Treat: Can Employers Face Liability for Celebrating Halloween in the Workplace?

Posted in Religious Discrimination, Wage & Hour, Workplace Policies

Halloween celebrations in the workplace can be a treat for employees but the trick is in the employer’s execution. Costumes present a particularly tricky issue because well-intentioned “creativity” can quickly deteriorate into an employee relations nightmare. Employers should also be mindful that employees must have the option not to participate because certain religions prohibit the celebration of Halloween. Read on for tips to ensure your workplace celebration is more fun than frightening. Continue Reading