QUESTIONING AN EMPLOYEE’S FMLA LEAVE? REQUIRE CERTIFICATION.

Allowing employees to take FMLA leave is good for employees, it’s good for families, and, of course, it’s required by law. But what if you have an employee who takes FMLA leave when nothing seems to be wrong? For example, you could have an employee who reports that he is taking FMLA leave every time his request for a specific vacation day is turned down. Certainly, you don’t have to allow an employee to take the day off just because the employee has suddenly decided to say that it is FMLA leave, right? images Read More »

MICRO BARGAINING UNITS COMING TO A WORKPLACE NEAR YOU

It is no secret that many employers take steps to try and keep their workplaces union-free.  One of the newer concerns for employers in that camp is the possibility that employees could form a “micro bargaining unit,” which is a unit of employees that make up only a small portion of the workforce. images

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CLASS ARBITRATION – WHO DECIDES?

Employers tend to like certain aspects of arbitration.  Often it provides a faster and more economical resolution to a dispute than litigation.  Parties can represent themselves, without the need for counsel, before an impartial decision maker chosen by them.  Most arbitrators have some level of experience or expertise in the subject matter of the controversy they will be deciding.  Courts and juries generally will have no such experience.  Employers also believe that an arbitrator’s economic self interest, the desire to be selected for future cases, will prevent an arbitrator from entering a “runaway jury” size adverse award significantly beyond the actual, documented losses and, where appropriate, prevailing party attorney fees. Read More »

PA FEDERAL COURTS ANALYZE PHRA DISABILITY CLAIMS UNDER PRE-ADAAA STANDARDS

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled in Riley v. St. Mary’s Medical Center that, while the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (“ADAAA”) altered the federal standard for proving a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act and as the Pennsylvania legislature has not enacted a similar amendment to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (“PHRA”), the higher, pre-ADAAA standard for proving “disability” will apply to a plaintiff’s PHRA disability claim. pic

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DON’T MAKE DECISIONS IN THE BLIND

An employee who has 20/20 vision asks to bring a service animal—a “seeing eye dog”—into work. Must you permit the employee to do so? You might feel that this is the sort of question for which you don’t need to consult with an attorney. The answer is obviously, “No,” right? What if the employee also trains service animals on the side? Must you allow the employee to bring the animal in to work? The answer might surprise you.
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WAGE-AND-HOUR IMPLICATIONS FOR TELECOMMUTING

The practice of allowing employees to work from home – telecommuting – is a growing trend.  After all, today’s technology allows employees to work from almost anywhere, and telecommuting can be beneficial for both employers and employees.  For employers, telecommunicating can be a less expensive alternative to traditional brick and mortar locations.  Employees like telecommuting because of the flexibility it provides. 784x2048

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DIFFICULT SITUATION KNOW-HOW: WHAT TO DO IF AN EMPLOYEE SEEMS SUICIDAL

As people in the world, we face difficult situations all the time.  If someone seems sad or depressed, we may want to help but not know how.  When it’s your employee who is going through tough times, you may have legal concerns to worry about too.  It’s good to be as prepared as possible beforehand.  For example, let’s imagine that one of your employees seems depressed and starts making comments around the workplace about hurting him or herself.

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RETHINKING “LIGHT DUTY”

It is no secret that employers often struggle with fashioning light duty jobs for employees on the mend. A growing trend, however, is for employers to send employees in need of light duty assignments to work for charitable or community organizations wherein the employee receives his or her regular wage and the organization receives a “volunteer.”  By engaging in community service, the employee is returning to a job and is productive, albeit in new and different ways.  The employer is getting the benefit of goodwill in the community, as well as assisting the employee in the healing and reconditioning process.light-duty-job_sm

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EEOC ISSUES UPDATED PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION GUIDANCE

On July 14, 2014, the EEOC issued Updated Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination, as well as a set of Questions and Answers and a Fact Sheet for small businesses related to that Guidance.  This is the first comprehensive update to the Commission’s pregnancy discrimination guidance since 1983.  eeoc

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WEST VIRGINIA SUPREME COURT FINDS ADR AGREEMENT IT CAN LIVE WITH

In an important win for employers seeking to resolve disputes with former employees outside of the circuit courts, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals recently upheld a circuit court decision that compelled a former employee to submit his wrongful termination dispute to alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) rather than pursue the claim in court.  Although the West Virginia Supreme Court often finds ADR agreements to be unenforceable, it’s important to note why they found this one was acceptable.

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