Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

Showing posts by Lorraine Hoffman

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 Lorraine Hoffman
Sep 20 2019
Wage and Hour  

Q&A: Directly sharing wages with other companies is illegal

Question: Our plant manager asked the managers of the other operations in our business park to share what they’re paying for forklift operators and what they’re planning for wage increases this year. He’d like to make sure that we remain competitive; is his informal survey of these local companies okay?   Answer: Absolutely not! Antitrust laws…

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Photo of Lorraine Hoffman
Sep 11 2019
DisabilityHarassment & DiscriminationTermination & Resignation  

Balancing competing employee interests can be tricky

An employer in Missouri is finding out the hard way that balancing the competing rights of employees can be complicated. In this case, a coworker with Tourette’s syndrome regularly and repeatedly shouted racial slurs at an African American employee. The employer tried to separate the workers so they didn’t have to work…

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Photo of Lorraine Hoffman
Aug 29 2019
Leave LawsWage and Hour  

Q&A: Denying perfect attendance bonus to FMLA users can spell trouble

Question: We have a “no-fault” attendance policy, which means that if an employee doesn’t show up for a scheduled shift, they get a point. We’re careful, however, not to penalize, discipline, or terminate anyone for using protected leave (such as paid sick leave or FMLA). Instead, we incentivize employees. If an employee reaches the…

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Photo of Lorraine Hoffman
Aug 13 2019
Disability  

New resources available for workplace disability accommodation

The US Department of Labor’s Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has released a comprehensive Workplace Accommodation Toolkit which provides employers with resources and tools needed to create a more disability-inclusive and compliant workplace. The toolkit contains practical solutions for workplace accommodations, coaching on the interactive process, and training on the basic obligations of…

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Photo of Lorraine Hoffman
Feb 23 2017
Employee BenefitsLeave Laws  

Paid sick leave under fire in Oregon

Nine Oregon counties have successfully sued the state, claiming that the Oregon sick leave requirements, which took effect on January 1, 2016, create an unfunded mandate and therefore violate the state constitution. This means that unless the state appeals the decision, the counties who brought the lawsuit don’t have to provide paid…

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Photo of Lorraine Hoffman
Dec 15 2016
Wage and Hour  

DOL challenges court’s freeze of overtime rules

The battle over the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)’s overtime rules isn’t over yet.

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Photo of Lorraine Hoffman
Nov 16 2016
Harassment & DiscriminationTermination & Resignation  

Listen to both sides of the story before making any adverse employment decisions

An incomplete investigation into harassment allegations resulted in the wrong employee being terminated and costly litigation for the employer. A female EMT driver was the victim of unwanted sexual advances from a male dispatcher, and apparently brushed it off until he sent her a graphic text containing a photo of…

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Photo of Lorraine Hoffman
Nov 03 2016
Q&ALeave Laws  

Q&A: Do small businesses with some common ownership have to count combined employees for FMLA and other laws?

Question: I handle HR functions for four separate but related family-owned companies. Each company is fairly small, but altogether there are 65 employees. The companies have some overlapping ownership, but they aren’t owned by exactly the same people. Do I have to worry about family leave laws, since each company is well under the employee threshold to trigger coverage?

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Photo of Lorraine Hoffman
Oct 24 2016
Q&A  

Q&A: Think twice before posting political signs at work

Question: Our company feels strongly about a measure on this year’s ballot. Can we distribute literature and post campaign posters on the issue?

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