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 Jackie Marks
May 25 2018
Q&AHarassment & DiscriminationLeave Laws  

Q&A: Leave is last resort for pregnant worker with lifting restrictions

Question: We have a pregnant employee who just notified us she has lifting restrictions for the remainder of her pregnancy. Her current position requires consistently lifting 40 pounds, but she says she can’t lift more than 10 pounds. Can we put her on leave for the rest of her pregnancy?

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Photo of Karen Davis
May 23 2018
HiringLabor Relations  

ALERT: Supreme Court says new hires can waive class actions in arbitration agreements

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that employers may require new hires to agree that any employment disputes must be resolved by taking their claims to an arbitrator on an individual basis. The Court’s ruling allows employers to proactively prevent workers from later joining together to file class-wide lawsuits or arbitration…

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Photo of Kandis Sells
May 15 2018
Harassment & DiscriminationPrivacy & Confidentiality  

New Washington laws limit harassment nondisclosure agreements

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has signed two new laws intended to encourage public disclosure and discussion of sexual harassment in the workplace. Both of these laws take effect on June 7, 2018. #1: Substitute Senate Bill 6313 Substitute Senate Bill 6313 makes an employment agreement void and unenforceable if it requires an…

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Photo of Diane Buisman
May 15 2018
Drug and Alcohol  

Q&A: Address employee’s failure to follow drug testing procedures

Question: When an employee is selected for a random drug test, we instruct them to report directly to the testing facility, which is only about five minutes away. One employee recently took two hours to get there. He passed the drug test, so can we do anything about his delay in getting to the testing facility?

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Photo of Karen Davis
May 11 2018
Wage and Hour  

California employers can’t rely on federal law to pay OT on flat bonus

The California Supreme Court has rejected federal law on overtime calculations for flat sum bonuses, ruling that state law requires a more worker-friendly calculation. An employer offered a flat bonus of $15 per day of weekend work for employees who worked a full shift on a Saturday or Sunday. Because…

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Photo of Karen Davis
May 09 2018
Affirmative Action  

OFCCP reveals selection method for latest wave of audits

For the first time in recent memory, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has explained how it developed its first list of companies to audit in 2018 for affirmative action compliance. The agency cautioned that it may change its selection tactics in the future, and it has no…

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Photo of Sean Brown
May 09 2018
Harassment & DiscriminationHiring  

Washington Governor signs statewide “ban the box” law

Washington’s new “ban the box” law, which takes effect June 7, 2018, prohibits private employers from asking about criminal history before deciding whether an applicant meets the basic criteria for the position. It also prohibits job ads that automatically exclude people with criminal histories from applying (e.g., by saying “no felons” or “no criminal…

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Photo of Bill Kessler
May 09 2018
Q&ASafety and Health  

Use a numerical rating system to prioritize safety in busy times

Because deficient safety processes are the underlying causes of accidents, it is important to administer the most critical ones effectively. Here’s how employers can prioritize safety objectives when under a time crunch: Create a weighted scale for “prevention” and one for “compliance” (1-5 for effectiveness at “prevention” and 1-3 for effectiveness at “compliance,” where 1 is at the low end…

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Photo of Karen Davis
May 08 2018
Wage and Hour  

9th Circuit says prior salary doesn’t justify pay differences under EPA

When setting wages for new hires, the Equal Pay Act (EPA) doesn’t allow consideration of prior salary, ruled the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. A female math consultant hired by a county school district sued when she discovered her male colleagues in the same position were earning more than she was.…

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Photo of Trish Leimbach
Apr 18 2018
Workers’ Comp  

Don’t let lack of temp training cost you workdays

Don’t Let Lack of Temp Training Cost You Workdays
Better Screening, More Training of Temporary Employees Could Help Reduce Lost Time and Money

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