The Conflict Between Federal and State Marijuana Laws Remains Hazy

Last month Michigan became the 10th state to approve the legal, recreational use of marijuana.[1] With the addition of Michigan, nearly 80 million Americans (approximately 25% of the US population) live in areas with recreationally legal marijuana.   A total of thirty-three states allow for the use of marijuana for medical treatment with a doctor’s prescription.  Missouri and Utah became the most recent additions to the growing list of states allowing for medical marijuana after voters passed legalization measures last election cycle. Read more ›

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Supporting Nursing Mothers is Required by Law and Improves the Workplace

Last week, a Nevada bank teller sued her employer for allegedly violating federal anti-discrimination laws by berating her and retaliating against her for requesting a private space to pump breastmilk. This lawsuit reminds employers that various federal, state, and local laws provide protections for nursing mothers. Because lactation is a pregnancy-related medical condition, less favorable treatment of a nursing mother can raise an inference of unlawful discrimination. Additionally, the Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to provide “reasonable break time” and a private place, that is not a bathroom, for nonexempt (hourly) employees to pump breastmilk for up to one year after the child’s birth. Read more ›

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Posted in Discrimination, Labor & Employment

It’s Time To Be Creative: Historically Low Unemployment Rates Fuel New Approaches To Parental Leave

In October 2018, NPR reported that the U.S. unemployment rate had dropped to 3.7 percent, the lowest rate in 50 years.  In some states, like Colorado, where I live, the rate is even lower (3.1 percent, per Denver Post).  Record low unemployment and a trend towards more progressive and creative thinking about benefits has led to some imaginative new approaches to parental leave.  In this HR Headaches post, I’ll summarize five of the cutting-edge parental leave benefits employers are using to attract and retain top talent in a competitive job market.  HR professionals should take note of these inventive ways to help employees with children balance work and life because I’ll bet that your competitors are. Read more ›

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Posted in Labor & Employment

The Importance of “Thanks-Giving” in the Workplace

Approaching the Thanksgiving holiday, many people take time to give thanks for what they have.  This is a good time to remind employers of the positive impact “giving thanks” has on their employees, work environments and their organizations’ cultures.

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Posted in Labor & Employment

The ADA and Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana: Top 5 Pitfalls for Healthcare Employers

Navigating the landscape of reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) can be particularly challenging to clients in the healthcare industry.  Need to wear a wrist brace?  In most jobs, that would be no problem; in an area where a company must control for infectious diseases, it’s a no-go. Read more ›

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Posted in Labor & Employment

EEOC Data for FY 2018 Shows Uptick in Sexual Harassment Claims as Number of Other Claims Falls

On October 4, 2018, the EEOC announced preliminary sexual harassment data for FY 2018, which ended September 30. The acting chair of the agency, Victoria Lipnic, said the EEOC had received many requests for the data in the lead-up to the one-year anniversary of the reporting on Harvey Weinstein and the birth of the #MeToo movement. Read more ›

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Posted in Labor & Employment, Sexual Harassment

Halloween in the Workplace – What Could Go Wrong?

October 31st is right around the corner, and in workplaces all across the U.S. employers are contemplating having some kind of Halloween party or inviting employees to dress up. On its face, it seems like a great idea. Halloween can be a fun way to break the monotony of everyday office life (and is a convenient excuse to eat embarrassing amounts of candy) but with it comes a unique set of pitfalls. Here, we touch on a number of those pitfalls and ways to avoid them.

First and foremost, as is applicable to all other office functions, alcohol and Halloween may seem like a fun idea, but is generally not advisable. If you choose to serve alcohol at your Halloween event, drinks should be limited and monitored by a third party. Licensed mobile bartending services are a convenient way to check both of these boxes. Also, always encourage safe transport home. If alcohol is served, consider whether to give out an Uber or Lyft code to provide employees with an easy (and free) way to get home afterward. Read more ›

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Posted in Labor & Employment

Defend Trade Secrets Act Whistleblower Immunity Notice – Small Price to Pay for Major Benefits

You probably already know that the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) makes available to employers a number of significant remedies, but what you may not know is that several of those remedies are contingent on employers notifying employees of key whistleblower protections provided for in the Act. Read more ›

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Posted in Benefits, Labor & Employment

New Illinois Law Puts Money Back in Your Employees’ Wallets

As of January 1, 2019, Illinois will have one of the most expansive employee expense reimbursement laws in the country. Governor Bruce Rauner recently signed off on an amendment to the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act, requiring employers to reimburse “all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee within the employee’s scope of employment and directly related to services performed for the employer.” 820 ILCS 115/9.5(a). Exceptions to this requirement include expenses or losses related to the employee’s own negligence, losses attributable to normal wear, and loses due to theft—unless the theft occurred as a result of the employer’s negligence.  Read more ›

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Posted in Labor & Employment

How to Handle Waivers in Discrimination Cases

It is every L&E attorney’s dream:  You are deposing a Title VII plaintiff and it’s starting to get late. One by one, the plaintiff’s allegations of discrimination start to lose their luster; the seams are beginning to show. Plaintiff is sweating now. Plaintiff’s attorney is sweating more. You decide to go for it: “Plaintiff, do you believe that your supervisor—the one who terminated you—was racist/sexist/xenophobic?” Plaintiff responds: “No.”

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Posted in Discrimination, Labor & Employment
About HR Headaches
HR Headaches is a blog for Human Resources professionals, business owners, and in-house counsel to get the latest news, analysis and tips in the area of labor and employment law. Every day there are new court decisions, agency interpretations, and regulations which affect the workplace, making it difficult, if not impossible, for many employers to keep current. HR Headaches is dedicated to providing information in a practical, no-nonsense manner to help employers avoid legal disputes and keep policies up to date.
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