Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

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Photo of Karen Davis
Nov 13 2019
Safety and Health  

New hire fatality from wood chipper results in $67k penalty

A sole proprietor of a tree-trimming business was ordered to pay $66,986 in penalties after an employee was killed by a wood chipper on his first day on the job. A crew of four workers, including the new employee, met in the morning at the owner’s house. Two of the workers were…

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Photo of Lorraine Hoffman
Nov 13 2019
Q&ADisabilityHiring  

Q&A: Catch-all language in job description not much help in ADA defense

Question: Is it okay to have the language “other duties as required” in a job description? Answer: Sure, it’s common to include that catch-all language in a job description. However, you shouldn’t rely on that language to incorporate regular duties that are important for the particular job. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an employer…

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Photo of Matt Norris
Nov 13 2019
Labor Relations  

Employer unlawfully surveilled workers’ pro-union Facebook page

An employer engaged in unlawful surveillance in violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by asking a worker to gather information and report back about a pro-union, private Facebook group to which other workers belonged, according to a recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board. Under the NLRA,…

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Photo of Jodi Slavik
Nov 08 2019
Leave Laws  

Washington Paid Family & Medical Leave Resources

Washington Paid Family & Medical Leave is coming. Starting on January 1, 2020, your employees will be able to apply for Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits. The law created a lot of questions and many employers are still struggling to find answers. We're here to help. Below you will find a number…

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Photo of Jackie Marks
Oct 23 2019
 

New Form W-4 coming for 2020

The IRS will issue a newly revised Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate, to be used beginning in 2020 to reflect changes included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and help employees improve withholding accuracy. The redesigned form will no longer use withholding allowances to establish income tax withholding but…

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Photo of Karen Davis
Oct 23 2019
Safety and Health  

OSHA cites employers for poor emergency procedures after two fatalities

In two separate cases, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued six-figure citations against employers that failed to plan ahead for foreseeable emergency situations. The employers have 15 business days to comply with the citations, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or challenge the findings before the Occupational…

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Photo of Kandis Sells
Oct 23 2019
Q&A  

Q&A: Company using PEO is still liable for legal compliance

Question: We’re thinking about using a professional employer organization (PEO) to handle all of our payroll, hiring, and HR functions. Any legal concerns we should be aware of?   Answer: Yes. Use of a PEO can save you time and allow you to stay focused on your business functions, but be sure you don’t…

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Photo of Matt Norris
Oct 08 2019
 

WARN Act notice required for employment loss, not temporary layoff

An employer wasn’t required to give workers 60 days’ notice of a layoff lasting fewer than 6 months since the layoff wasn’t an “employment loss” under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act), according to a recent court decision. Under the WARN Act, an employer must give at least 60 days’ notice in the event…

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Photo of Kandis Sells
Oct 08 2019
 

Q&A: Duty to keep health insurance during workers’ comp is limited

Question: We have an employee out on leave to recover from a workplace injury. Are we supposed to keep her on our health insurance plan?   Answer: It depends on whether the employee’s leave is protected by federal or state leave laws in addition to workers’ compensation. State workers’ comp laws generally don’t require employers to…

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Photo of Jackie Marks
Oct 08 2019
 

Employer pays $58K penalty after teen’s death

A Georgia company was found in violation of federal child labor laws prohibiting hazardous occupations for minors when it employed a 15-year-old to operate a power-driven weed cutter. Sadly, the teen drowned while cutting brush along a river. During its investigation, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) also found the…

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