In a recent meeting where the OSHA Area Director for West Virginia explained how OSHA’s National Emphasis Program on recordkeeping would be carried out in our state, it was made abundantly clear that the OSHA recordkeeping practices of employers will be under a much brighter spotlight by the agency going forward than many believed.
In a recent Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia case decided on April 15, 2010, Ramey v. Contractor Enterprises, Inc., the Supreme Court issued an important ruling on “deliberate intent” actions that should prove to be helpful for West Virginia employers. A deliberate intent action is an action brought by an employee to recover damages for a work-related injury. The deliberate intent action allows the employee to recover beyond what he or she is entitled to under the workers’ compensation system.
So you have a disgruntled employee in your ranks; allegations start to fly; and somewhere in the process, that person’s employment is terminated (maybe even voluntarily). What should you do? If nothing else, devote the appropriate level of attention to the allegations, and treat the situation as though it may eventually be the subject of litigation.
A lot of press has been generated by recent health care reform efforts and passage of the health care bill known as the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” (PPACA). What has not been getting a lot of press, however, is the fact that the PPACA didn’t just regulate health care in the traditional sense. It also has resulted in amendments to other laws — including labor laws, like the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). And there’s one change in that regard that will impact many employers quickly.
Like the frustration Frank Costanza felt toward the “more traditional” holidays, departing or former employees often give Human Resources professionals such head and heartaches that drastic measures often feel necessary. Instead of establishing a new holiday like Festivus, the outlet that most frequently presents itself is the reference check inquiry from the employer who has graciously decided to take the problem employee off your hands.
Employment lawyers who frequently defend discrimination claims will tell you that direct evidence of unlawful discrimination does not often exist. Typically, discrimination claims live or die on whether the employee can make it appear that she was disparately treated, rather than on any comment or action which screams discrimination on its face.
In a recent Fourth Circuit Opinion issued on April 1st, Whitten v. Fred’s Inc., the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers West Virginia among other jurisdictions, had occasion to revisit an important sexual harassment issue which it touched upon for the first time more than a decade earlier, and addressed most recently about 4 years ago.
With President Barack Obama’s recent recess appointment of former AFL-CIO and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Associate General Counsel, Craig Becker, to the National Labor Relations Board, employers need to be as alert as ever to potential changes in the world of federal labor relations.