Blog Archives

Health Care Reform Is Here to Stay – Are You Ready?

“For employers and plan sponsors that have been adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach before focusing on compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the time to wait is over. PPACA’s insurance mandates, market reforms, and employer requirements generally will move ahead as scheduled, with most of PPACA becoming fully effective just… Read more »

Firing Up on the Job Can Still Get You Fired: What New Marijuana Laws Mean for Employers

[Editor’s note: for full effect you might consider playing the song embedded below as you read the latest on this buzzing topic.] On November 6 of this year, voters in both Colorado and Washington approved initiatives to legalize the possession and use of small amounts of marijuana. What do the new laws mean for employers… Read more »

5 Tips for Navigating the Employee References Minefield

 True or false: When asked to give a reference for a terminated employee, you should provide only the person’s name, dates of employment and, if asked, salary level? True. Furnish just about any other information and – assuming it’s negative – the former employee could sue your company for, among other things, defamation. (Fisher &… Read more »

Tax News: Want to Help Sandy Relief Efforts? Here Are 3 Tax-Exempt Ways

“Because Hurricane Sandy has been designated a qualified disaster for U.S. federal tax purposes, certain payments made by employers and others to assist disaster victims will be considered qualified disaster relief payments and thus can be excluded from taxable income.” (Proskauer) Employers and small business owners who help victims of Hurricane Sandy deserve a break,… Read more »

3 Tips for Filing Hurricane Sandy Insurance Claims for Your Business

“Businesses with operations in the path of the storm may have suffered significant property damage and an interruption of business. Businesses nationwide—and even worldwide—also may have suffered contingent business interruption losses due to the inability to obtain supplies, among other things, from business in the Eastern United States that suffered direct physical property damage.” (Perkins… Read more »

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath a HR Nightmare for Workers and Their Employers

“Natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy can create a host of employment challenges for employers, from wage-hour concerns to employee leave and employee safety.” (Schnader) As the country begins to understand the profound damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy, those folks who managed to make it through relatively unscathed are finding a new nightmare in the wake… Read more »

EEOC to Employers: Anti-Discrimination Also Laws Protect Domestic Violence Victims

Earlier this month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released new guidance to help employers avoid discrimination of domestic violence victims. Entitled “Questions and Answers: The Application of Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act to Applicants or Employees who Experience Domestic or Dating Violence, Sexual Assault or Stalking,” the guidance provides examples of employment… Read more »

Giving Employees Time Off to Vote? It May Be Required. A State-by-State Guide…

“Regardless of where employers operate, they should not discipline employees for exercising their right to vote or for serving as election workers. Many states prohibit firing or disciplining employees because they took time off to vote or to serve as an election worker.” (Littler) Americans head to the polls next week. Whether they do it… Read more »

Riding Out the (Franken)Storm: 5 Ways to Prepare Your Business for Disaster Recovery

Sandy has already been called “the storm of a lifetime,” and at time of writing it hasn’t even fully made landfall yet. As people up and down the East Coast prepare for the onslaught, this is perhaps a good time for all of us to consider the types of preparations that can ease recovery for… Read more »

5 Ways to Protect Your Trade Secrets

Earlier this month, game developer Zynga took the offensive in a dispute over the theft of trade secrets when it sued a former employee for walking out the door with proprietary information: “… Zynga alleges [Alan] Patmore copied over 760 corporate files into his DropBox account (in a folder which he allegedly named ‘Zynga’). The… Read more »

EEOC Targets Discrimination Against Muslim and Arab Employees

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is cracking down on religious discrimination in the workplace, particularly that committed against Muslim and Arab workers, write Robert Meyer and David Woodard of law firm Poyner Spruill: “The EEOC reports that in the initial months after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Commission saw a 250% increase in… Read more »

Politics in the Workplace: What Are the Rules?

The presidential election is less than three weeks away, but it could be a looong three weeks for employers and HR managers. Nicole Jeong of law firm Morrison & Foerster explains: “[B]ecause many of the issues at the forefront of these elections can be deeply personal since they deal with race, class, gender, sexual orientation,… Read more »

Are You Doing Your Part to Prevent Workplace Bullying?

“Everyone deserves a safe, healthy workplace.” (Workplace Bullying Institute) October 14 – 21 is National Freedom from Workplace Bullying Week. What does that mean for employers and HR managers? From XpertHR: ““During this week… [e]mployers should demonstrate that they will take all necessary steps aimed at curbing workplace bullying and preventing an abusive workplace by… Read more »

Breastfeeding, Social Media, Wages, Human Trafficking: California Employers Face Mountain of New Labor Laws

On September 30, 2012, California’s Governor Jerry Brown signed a package of new employment laws and amendments to existing statutes, most of which go into effect on January 1. Here are some of the highlights: On social media privacy: “Assembly Bill No. 1844 prohibits an employer from ‘requiring or requesting an employee or applicant for… Read more »

New FTC Green Marketing Guidelines Are 100% Eco-Friendly (and Helpful!)

“Earlier this week the Federal Trade Commission (‘FTC’) adopted revised Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims. The updated ‘Green Guides’ provide the FTC’s current views on when environmental claims may be deceptive. This includes not only general claims that a product is environmentally friendly, but specific claims that a product is compostable, degradable,… Read more »