Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

Showing posts by Lorraine Hoffman

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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Photo of Lorraine Hoffman
Jun 03 2016
Employee BenefitsLeave Laws  

Oregon BOLI updates regulations on social media, OFLA, and domestic workers

In response to 2015 changes to employment laws, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) has finalized revised administrative rules regarding employees’ social media accounts, medical insurance during Oregon Family Leave, and domestic workers. Social Media: Employee Use and Privacy This revision clarifies that, not only is it an unlawful employment practice to…

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Photo of Lorraine Hoffman
Apr 08 2016
Q&ADisability  

Employees with Fragrance Sensitivity: Addressing Request for a Fragrance-Free Workplace

Question: We have an employee who has indicated that he is allergic to all fragrances and has requested that we prohibit anyone from wearing perfume or cologne in the workplace, banning the use of any scented products. Do we really have to tell our employees what kind of laundry detergent they can and cannot use and that they can’t wear perfume or cologne to work?

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