HR Legalist

HR Legalist

Employment Law Updates
& Best Practices for Employers

Super Bowl or Bust: Can Employees Gamble on the Big Game?

Posted in Workplace Policies

It is estimated that the 100 million dollars in wagers that Nevada sports books accepted for the 2014 Super Bowl accounted for just 1% of all Super Bowl betting last year; and the total amount of money wagered on the upcoming Super Bowl, both legally and illegally, is expected to surpass 10 billion dollars. In other words, the action on Sunday’s matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots is projected to exceed the annual GDP of more than forty countries. Continue Reading

Workplace Winter Safety: Protecting Employees from Winter Weather

Posted in OSHA, Workplace Policies

Last year, temperatures throughout the United States dropped to record lows; and weather stations were abuzz with tips on preparing for the “polar vortex,” which brought with it arctic blasts and heavy snowfall. Meteorologists are predicting another harsh, cold winter and have provided a list of instructions for surviving the long winter months. However, meteorologists are not alone in dispensing guidance and preparation tips in anticipation of extremely cold weather. With the onset of winter, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is reminding employers and workers to take necessary precautions to prevent and treat cold-induced injuries and illnesses. Continue Reading

Tips to Help Stem the Rising Tide of FMLA Claims

Posted in Family Medical Leave Act

In recent years, the number of federal lawsuits filed under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) has been steadily increasing.  In 2012, there were 406 new federal FMLA cases filed nationally.  In 2013, that number more than doubled to 992; and, in 2014, there were 1115 FMLA lawsuits filed in federal courts throughout the country.  After a record year for FMLA lawsuits, it is important for employers to review and re-evaluate their FMLA policies and procedures to avoid becoming part of the FMLA litigation statistics in 2015. Continue Reading

Executive Action on Immigration: Employer “Cheat Sheet”

Posted in Immigration

On December 15, 2014 HRLegalist editor, Gregory Eck, presented a webinar on President Obama’s executive order on immigration reform. Among the measures the president announced are several actions that will affect employers in significant ways. The following is a slide presentation from the webinar.  Click here to view the slides.

The NLRB “Steals” Christmas with New “Ambush” Election Rules

Posted in Ambush Elections, Labor Relations, NLRB

Feeling the holiday spirit, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) (i.e., management’s “Grinch”) has stolen any chance for employers to enjoy the holidays, while bestowing another significant Christmas gift on Big Labor—new union representation election rules (or as many are calling them, the Ambush Election Rules). Adding another tool to Big Labor’s organizing arsenal, the NLRB’s gift will surely be the gift that keeps on giving! Continue Reading

NLRB Hands Unions An Early Christmas Gift – Employees Given Right To Use Company E-Mails To Organize

Posted in Labor Relations

Today, in an anxiously awaited decision, the National Labor Relations Board gave unions an early Christmas present by overturning a previous ruling and providing employees the right to use their employer’s email system to actively communicate about union organizing.  In Purple Communications, Inc., 361 NLRB No. 126 (2014), a divided Board held that, absent justification for a total ban on non-work related emails, employees who have been given access to an employer’s email system have the right to use that system for communications that are protected by the National Labor Relations Act.  Those protected rights include the right to organize, campaign on a union’s behalf and discuss (or complain) about terms and conditions of employment. Continue Reading

Supreme Court Says Employers Don’t Always Have To Pay Under The FLSA (Really!)

Posted in Fair Labor Standards Act

What do you know, the Supreme Court has issued another employer-friendly decision on an interesting wage-and-hour issue!  This time, on December 9, 2014, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Fair Labor Standards Act does not require employers to pay employees for the time spent completing post-shift security screens designed to prevent theft.  Needless to say, this decision represents a solid victory for employers and – despite the seemingly narrow issue of post-shift security screening – one that could have a broad reach and favorable implications for employers in the foreseeable future. Continue Reading

Congress Acts To Help Employers That Are Compelled By State Or Local Laws To Exclude Employees With Certain Criminal Histories

Posted in Hiring

Employers across a number of industries are required by state or local laws to exclude from their workforce employees with certain criminal backgrounds.  For example, Ohio state law prohibits school districts from employing teachers who have been convicted of specific crimes regardless of when the conviction occurred.  The specific crimes include growing or dealing marijuana and convictions for domestic violence.  Continue Reading

Placing “Limits” on “Unlimited” Vacation Policies

Posted in Workplace Policies

With flexibility and work-life balance becoming increasingly important to employees, employers are rethinking the concept of vacation time as a fringe benefit; and some employers are responding to the needs of their employees by enacting “unlimited vacation” policies. Most members of America’s workforce have grown accustomed to the traditional vacation leave policies where employees earn or accrue vacation days based on seniority or a set formula – companies offering unlimited vacation take a strikingly different approach. The key feature of an unlimited vacation policy is its flexibility – employees can take any form of paid time off (PTO) such as personal leave, sick time or vacation, in any manner or combination they wish and theoretically without any limitations. Continue Reading

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