Beware cryptic notes in your HR files–they could be used against you in a later lawsuit

November 1, 2011

Before you enter into official files your handwritten notes on conversations, recollections or thoughts about an HR decision, consider how your words might be interpreted. Best practice: Draft a memo that summarizes and fleshes out your notes—and that makes your ideas perfectly clear. Then toss out the original notes.

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No exit in Brooklyn: Locked doors mean OSHA fine

November 1, 2011
Fine Fare Supermarkets faces $62,000 in fines after OSHA inspectors found that all five emergency exits at a store in Brooklyn were kept locked during the night shift. OSHA standards require employees to be able to open an exit route door from inside at all times, without keys, tools or special knowledge.
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Known disability, safety concern? Testing OK

November 1, 2011

Disabled employees may believe that their employers can never insist that they take a test related to the disability. That’s not true. For example, if an employee has a known disability and is observed making safety-related mistakes, it’s perfectly reasonable to demand an assessment of whether the employee is capable of performing the job.

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Punish employees who ‘occupy’ in their spare time?

November 1, 2011
Q. What recourse do employers have against employees involved in ‘Occupy [Wherever]’ protests during off-time?
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Don’t let bias complaint stop legit discipline

November 1, 2011
Here’s an important reminder for HR professionals handling em­­ployee discipline: If the disciplinary process is well under way—and you believe that the proposed discipline is fair, reasonable and based on facts—there’s no need to stop the process just because the employee files an internal discrimination complaint.
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Are we allowed to round off hours worked?

October 31, 2011
Q, My company tracks the hours of nonexempt em­­ployees using a time clock. In determining their wages, can we round up or down to the nearest five-minute increment?
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OSHA issues new rules on investigating workplace violence

October 31, 2011
OSHA has issued en­­force­­ment instructions regarding incidents of workplace violence. Officials will use the directive to decide whether allegations of workplace violence warrant an investigation. It also details methods employers can use to minimize the possibility of workplace violence.
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TCC headed for court after prof alleges anti-gay bias

October 31, 2011
With help from lawyers at Lambda Legal, which works to protect the legal rights of gay employees, a former temporary professor is suing Tarrant County College, alleging that officials blocked her bid for a full-time professorship because she is a lesbian.
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Texas health care firms sued for health-related firings

October 31, 2011
Workers at two Texas health care companies are suing, alleging in separate lawsuits that their employers discriminated against them because of health-related issues. One suit claims pregnancy discrimination and FMLA interference, while the other says a worker was fired just before she was scheduled to undergo a costly surgical procedure.
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USERRA: Handling pay, benefits for returning service members

October 31, 2011

The end of U.S. military combat operations in Iraq means that more “citizen soldiers” will be returning to the civilian workforce. That makes it critical for HR professionals to understand USERRA, the federal law that protects the employment rights of military reservists and National Guard troops. Here’s a primer.

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