Latest Articles

You arrive at work bright and early, only to find that someone beat you there — OSHA is waiting to perform an inspection. Now what? Many employers think they have little say in what happens next. Actually, employers have many choices to make, starting as soon as OSHA arrives. The first thing step is simply bringing the compliance officer to a conference room or other appropriate location. You should select a location that is private…
Most employers are aware of their obligation to explore reasonable disability accommodations when an employee asks for such a measure. But, what if the employee never asks? A new decision out of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit raises the concerning possibility that an employer could indeed be held liable for failing to provide a disability accommodation even if the employee never requested one. In that case, a respiratory therapist at…
A well-conducted investigation can reduce workplace conflict, promote job satisfaction and inclusion, and can also help shield you from legal liability. However, the converse is also true — a botched investigation can have enormous implications, both from a business and legal perspective. Fortunately, there are a number of simple steps you can take to ensure effective workplace investigations:…
A number of years ago, one of the nation’s largest grocery stores banned its employees from recording workplace conversations, images, or meetings without prior management approval or consent by all parties to a conversation. Sounds reasonable, right? Not to the NLRB, which recently ruled that the employer’s recording restrictions violate the National Labor Relations Act. The ruling serves as guidance (and a warning) to employers that would like to prohibit recording in the workplace, and…
There was a time, not so long ago, when federal courts refused to enforce arbitration agreements in Title VII cases, rendering arbitration agreements in the employment context virtually meaningless. Then, in 1991, Congress amended Title VII to specifically allow arbitration of Title VII claims “where appropriate.” Since that amendment, courts have interpreted Title VII’s “where appropriate” language as requiring any agreement to arbitrate a Title VII claim be entered into by the employee “knowingly.” This,…
Newly appointed U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Chair Jenny Yang recently offered some insight into the EEOC’s areas of focus for 2015, providing all employers with a preview of some of the key regulatory and enforcement actions on the horizon. Two primary issues have emerged: workplace harassment and wellness programs.…
Employers must keep track of hours worked by hourly, non-exempt employees. Any timekeeping method is permitted, as long as it is complete and accurate. The need to track hours might appear obvious at first, but in reality, this simple rule is not always easy to follow. For example, when hourly employees are out in the field, telecommuting, or traveling, requiring employees to account for their time can prove challenging. Traditionally, time tracking requirements envision…
Courts often conclude that absent appropriate disclaimer language, statements in employee handbooks are “promises” to employees, binding employers to abide by these promises in their dealings with employees. However, a recent case provides an important reminder to automobile industry employers that what they say, as well as what they do not say, in their employee handbooks can come back to bite them later. A federal appellate court recently determined that statements in an employee handbook…
Courts often conclude that absent appropriate disclaimer language, statements in employee handbooks are “promises” to employees, binding employers to abide by these promises in their dealings with employees. However, a recent case provides an important reminder to employers that what they say, as well as what they do not say, in their employee handbooks can come back to bite them later.…
Newly appointed U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Chair Jenny Yang recently offered some insight into the EEOC’s areas of focus for 2015, providing employers with a preview of some of the key regulatory and enforcement actions on the horizon. Two primary issues have emerged: workplace harassment and wellness programs.…