Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

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Question of the Month

Q&A: Use MRO to verify whether prescription caused positive drug test

Question: We require all new hires to pass a pre-employment drug test. Do we have to use the same process we use for our random, reasonable suspicion, and post-accident drug testing and send positive test results to a medical review officer (MRO)? Or, can we simply ask potential new hires for a list of medications they have been prescribed?

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Photo of Kandis Sells
Jul 02 2018
Harassment & DiscriminationHiring  

Q&A: Limit on prior work experience in hiring may be age discrimination

Question: In job postings for our entry-level manager positions, we list the requirements as “3 to 7 years (no more than 7 years) of relevant work experience” to make sure we don’t waste our time interviewing a bunch of overqualified candidates. We recently had an applicant complain that our cap on prior work experience constitutes unlawful age discrimination, but job postings like ours seem really common. It’s okay for us to set a limit on prior experience when we’re hiring, right?

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Photo of Manish Gooneratne
Jun 26 2018
Safety and Health  

New workers have a higher risk of on-the-job injuries

Studies show that new workers are more likely to be involved in a work-related lost time injury within the first three months of work compared to workers who have been on the job for more than one year. Knowing this information, what can you do to help lower the risk…

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Photo of Kara Craig
Jun 19 2018
Wage and Hour  

Pay Washington agricultural piece-rate workers for nonproductive time

The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that employers are required to compensate agricultural piece-rate workers on a separate hourly basis for all nonproductive time spent performing activities outside of piece-rate picking work. This nonproductive time must be paid at the applicable minimum wage or a contractually agreed rate, whichever is…

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Photo of Jackie Marks
Jun 19 2018
Q&ALeave LawsWage and Hour  

Q&A: FMLA-required rest breaks generally not compensable under FLSA

Question: We have a non-exempt employee who has a medically certified serious health condition that requires a 10-minute rest break every hour. Our current schedule allows one 10-minute rest break for every four hours worked, so most non-exempt employees only receive two rest breaks each shift and not the eight this employee requires. Do we have to pay the employee for all eight rest breaks?

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Photo of Trish Leimbach
Jun 13 2018
Workers’ Comp  

Why Vigilant Retro, according to member Fabrication Products, Inc.

Why We Stay Vigilant: A few minutes with one of our Retro Group members. We recently asked the owner and president of Washington manufacturer, Fabrication Products, Inc.—a member for more than 17 years—what she thought about teaming with Vigilant. What made you decide to join the Vigilant Workers’ Comp Retro Group? We partnered with Vigilant in…

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Photo of Kailah Cone
Jun 12 2018
Vigilant News  

We’re hiring: California Licensed Employment Attorney - Location Flexible

California Licensed Employment Attorney - Location Flexible Vigilant is a membership organization intensely committed to providing quality service and living Vigilant’s six core values—relational, responsive, reliable, results-oriented, respectful, and responsible. We provide timely and practical counsel on employment law, labor relations, human resource management, safety, employee benefits, workers’ compensation, management training, and leadership…

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Photo of Trish Leimbach
May 31 2018
Workers’ Comp  

How to grade a workers’ comp retro group

Top 3 Questions You Should Ask When Evaluating a Retro Group Being part of a retrospective rating program is important for your business. The goal is to find a retro partner that matches the needs and culture of your company, is committed to helping you drive down your up-front premium costs,…

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Photo of Kandis Sells
May 30 2018
Harassment & DiscriminationHiringSafety and Health  

New domestic violence law expands protections in Washington

Washington has significantly revised its Domestic Violence Leave law to prohibit discrimination against applicants or employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The new law applies to all employers as of June 7, 2018, and prohibits employers from: Refusing to hire an actual or perceived victim of…

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Photo of Karen Davis
May 29 2018
Harassment & DiscriminationWage and Hour  

Brace for impact of pay equity laws

With Starbucks’ recent announcement that the company has achieved 100 percent pay equity by race and gender for U.S. workers performing similar jobs, most employers are left wondering how Starbucks got there—and how they can get there, too. The topic of equal pay continues to make headlines, and California, Oregon, and Washington are at the…

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Photo of Jon Benson
May 25 2018
Harassment & Discrimination  

Sexual harassment retaliation victim gets big verdict against her employer

A female police sergeant was awarded $350,000 in a retaliation claim when her employer transferred her 180 miles away after she complained of sexual harassment. The sergeant, who had worked for the police since 1987, had complained of unwanted sexual advances and a sexual assault by a co-worker. The investigation by…

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