Vigilant Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law, HR, safety & workers' comp

Showing posts by Kara Craig

Photo of Kara Craig
Mar 27 2020
COVID-19Safety and Health  

OREGON: Workers can report workplace COVID-19 safety violations

Oregon Governor Kate Brown is encouraging workers who believe their company isn’t following safety and health advisories related to COVID-19 (coronavirus) to file a report online with Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Oregon OSHA has the authority to investigate the complaint and require compliance with all workplace restrictions related to the…

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Feb 11 2020
Q&ADisabilityDrug and Alcohol  

Q&A: Are prior addicts covered by the ADA?

Question: One of our employees failed a random drug test. He says the positive test occurred because he was prescribed methadone by his doctor to treat his addiction to opiates. Do we have to retain him? We’re concerned about safety.   Answer: If your drug testing process had included the services of a Medical…

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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 Kara Craig
Jul 30 2019
Safety and Health  

Employer can’t blame worker for preventable on-the-job injury

A federal appeals court recently affirmed three citations for serious safety violations following the partial amputation of an employee’s thumb at a poultry processing plant. The company had challenged the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)’s citations in federal court, arguing that the injured employee engaged in unpreventable employee misconduct by violating…

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Photo of Kara Craig
Jul 01 2019
DisabilityHarassment & DiscriminationSafety and Health  

Employers need objective basis to require fitness-for-duty exam

A federal district court recently ruled that a police department complied with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it required a bomb squad technician to undergo a fitness-for-duty exam. Their justification? The city had an objective basis for the fitness-for-duty exam request. In this case, the technician was experiencing hand…

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Jun 21 2019
Wage and Hour  

Employer must pay for time spent studying for work-related exam

A federal district court in Arizona recently ruled that employees must be paid for time spent studying for written tests that they were required to pass in order to complete on-the-job training. A group of long-haul truck drivers filed a lawsuit against their employer alleging violations of the Fair Labor…

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Photo of Kara Craig
May 17 2019
Harassment & Discrimination  

Saying “a lawyer made me do it” can destroy attorney-client privilege

Question: As an HR manager, I’m concerned about sharing legal advice that I receive on behalf of the company. What are the rules around this? Answer: All parties to an attorney-client communication made for the purpose of providing or obtaining legal advice must take steps to protect confidentiality. If you or someone else…

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Photo of Kara Craig
Dec 20 2018
Q&AHarassment & DiscriminationPrivacy & Confidentiality  

Q&A: Know how to handle the aftermath of a harassment investigation

Question: I just completed a harassment investigation. We verified that harassment occurred and terminated the harasser. Everyone seems to know what happened and tensions are high in our small office. What else can I do? 

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Photo of Kara Craig
Aug 17 2018
Q&ADisabilityLeave LawsSafety and Health  

Q&A: No FMLA notice required unless employee asks for time off

Question: I have a production employee who says that standing for eight hours a day is causing him pain. He doesn’t want to go on any type of leave and says he’d rather just suffer through it. We are covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). What do I do?
 

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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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