Blog Posts: Workplace Compliance
The number of job-related disability claims filed with the EEOC increased in 2102 for the seventh year in a row. A total of 26,379 employment disability claims were filed in fiscal year 2012 under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), up from 25,742 in 2011 and 14,893 in 2005.
A recent survey of people who said they were victims of bullying at work found that most of the self-identified victims blamed the bullies, and not the targets, for the incidents. Respondents to the survey, conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute, selected “bullies were threatened by target's technical skills” as the most common answer to the question of why they, or people whose bullying they witnessed, were bullied. One in five respondents, who could each chose two answers, selected that as a reason.
The Department of Labor (DOL) recently expanded the definition of “son or daughter” under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to include adult children. The new interpretation allows employees to take up to 12 workweeks of leave per year to care for any children who are 18 years of age or older and unable to care for themselves because of mental or physical disability. Previously, the FMLA limited the definition of “son or daughter” to children age 17 and under who have serious health conditions.
The United States Department of Labor (DOL) appears to be reviving the “Right to Know” initiative first proposed in 2010. This initiative is aimed at reducing worker misclassification by requiring employers to reveal more information about how they classify employees. The DOL recently announced its intention to collect information about “employers' experiences and workers' knowledge of basic employment laws and rules so as to better understand employees' experience with worker misclassification.” The DOL may ultimately use this information in crafting and implementing a new Right-to-Know rule.
The severity of this year’s flu season is prompting legislators in some U.S. cities and states to consider passing mandatory paid sick-leave laws. In New York City, Councilwoman Gale Brewer has proposed a bill that would require businesses with five or more employees to offer five paid sick days a year. If the bill becomes law, NYC would become only the fifth place to have passed such legislation, joining Connecticut, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Seattle. Connecticut has a law similar to the one proposed in NYC that requires private employers to grant full-time employees five paid sick days a year, while Seattle has implemented a tiered system of paid sick leave that varies based on the size of the business.
Two new pieces of legislation – swiftly passed and taking many by surprise – made Michigan the 24th state to enact right to work laws. These new laws require that payment of union dues must be voluntary and that union membership must not be made a condition of employment.
You can't have it both ways. That's the message that an employees' attorney hopes to send in a $25 million lawsuit against the workers’ employer, a retail clothing company. The lawsuit alleges violations of overtime-pay laws, claiming that the company required its store managers to work a minimum of 45 hours per week without paying them for overtime, while simultaneously paying them hourly wages instead of salaries.
Holiday parties are occasions where employees get to have fun and let loose after working hard all year. However, employees need to be aware that company policies remain in effect — even at off-site locations — and violations can subject the company and the individuals involved to disciplinary action and/or legal trouble.
A recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit highlights the importance of well-drafted time-reporting policies and procedures. In White v. Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp., a nurse sued her employer under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for lost wages. She alleged that the hospital’s timekeeping system automatically deducted time for an unpaid meal break, even though the hospital often required her to skip it or cut it short.
In November's elections, Colorado and Washington state legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Many employers, however, that now prohibit their employees from using marijuana plan to continue prohibiting marijuana use – and to continue doing drug testing.