Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

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Photo of Kara Craig
Dec 10 2019
Harassment & Discrimination  

Q&A: Approach retirement discussions with caution

Question: We are downsizing our accounting department. Two long-term employees over the age of 60 have repeatedly mentioned their intention to retire soon. They also have the highest salaries in the department. Can we eliminate their positions in the reduction in force?   Answer: Not for the reasons you suggest! Proximity to retirement is…

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Photo of Jodi Slavik
Dec 10 2019
Leave Laws  

Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave resources released

The Washington Employment Security Department (ESD) just released new resources to help your employees apply for Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) benefits starting on January 1, 2020. The downloadable tools are available here, and include a Parent’s Guide (how to apply for bonding leave), a Patient and Family Guide (how to…

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Photo of Jon Benson
Dec 10 2019
Q&A  

Q&A: Winter is coming! Review your inclement weather policy

Question: During bad weather there are times when some employees can’t make it in to work or when we close the business entirely for the day. Under what circumstances are we required to pay employees?   Answer: It depends on the circumstances. The rules are different for salaried exempt employees compared to non-exempt…

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Photo of Karen Davis
Nov 21 2019
Wage and Hour  

Oregon employers must ensure workers take meal periods

The Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled that employers have a duty to ensure that workers actually take the meal periods required by state regulations. With limited exceptions, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI)’s regulations on meal and rest periods require employers to provide a 30-minute unpaid meal period for…

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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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