Archives: Employment Policies

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And the Oscar Goes to. . .the Stored Communications Act?

Film reels abound with examples of employees-turned-detectives using documents taken from their employer’s files to bring wrongdoing to light. You may have your own favorites but here are mine (with titles hidden in footnotes so as not to spoil your fun): An up-and-coming agent uses a flash drive hidden in her coffee mug to smuggle … Continue Reading

Employee Turnover: Can Employers Recoup Investments In Their Employees?

New employees need to be trained. Some need to be moved. And, in many business sectors, employers continue to invest in their employees via continued education and training courses. All of these are investments. Their pay off, however, depends on whether the employee stays with the company. Millennials job-hop like it’s their… well, job. Over … Continue Reading

Suggested New Year’s Resolution

Everything in employment devolves to motivation.  Terminations result from a failure to motivate; so too strikes, turnover, and virtually every other issue facing employment lawyers and HR managers.  Theories abound in the business literature on employee motivation including classics like McGregor’s “theory X” and “theory Y” or Ouchi’s “theory Z”. With behavioral economics, there is … Continue Reading

Walk-Backs: Learning to manage employees by watching America’s political leaders?

Managers often confront workplaces rife with a history of unenforced policies and mistakenly believe that the solution is merely to enforce those long-ignored rules.  Legally, the results of such efforts can be disastrous. In Curry v. Menard, Inc., 270 F.3d 473 (7th Cir. 2001), a new manager tried to more strictly enforce the company’s cash … Continue Reading

OSHA’s Safety “Nudge” to Employers: No Reportable Injuries Is Not Time for a Pizza Party

Think 180 days without an OSHA recordable injury is cause for celebration? Think again. New OSHA rules are potential game-changers to the status quo on safety.  Those rules require notice must be provided to employees explaining their right to report any injury or illness without fear of retaliation for making the report.  That is easy … Continue Reading

#SocialActivism in the Workplace

Hashtags are ubiquitous. The 10 most influential hashtags on Twitter are: 10. #GivingTuesday 9. #YesAllWomen 8. #PrayforJapan 7. #BringBackOurGirls 6. #IceBucketChallenge 5. #Sandy 4. #IndyRef 3. #BlackLivesMatter 2. #LoveWins 1. #Ferguson (Washington Post, “These 10 Twitter hashtags changed the way we talk about social issues,” March 21, 2016) Fan, athletes, entertainers, political candidates, and just … Continue Reading

Wellness Program Wars

This should be easy.  Like motherhood and apple pie, everybody should be in favor of encouraging more wellness.  But, in 21st century America, nothing is ever easy; mothers baking apple pies beware. There are two fronts in the wellness program wars. The first has been playing in court for several years.  The second arises from … Continue Reading

The Globalization of Labor Disputes

My colleagues saw a line item in the advance sheets and said “this must be wrong, Joe; some reporter has obviously misunderstood.”  The report was simple: a local labor dispute at the El Super grocery stores in several southern California locations is now an international legal issue.  Worse, it was totally true. El Super, a small … Continue Reading

A Movie Review And A Legal Critique: Two Days, One Night

Today’s authors are summer college interns from DLA’s Chicago office.  Two Days, One Night is an award winning film set in Belgium that revolves around an employment dilemma. Here’s the premise: Sandra is scheduled to return from sick leave on Monday but discovers on the preceding Friday that she is being terminated from her position with … Continue Reading

Kvetching Toward Living With EEO-1 Compensation Data Demands

Nobody remembers I.F. “Izzy” Stone (1907-1989) but everybody should; he was a reporter who did deep-dive readings of the handouts, the press releases, and the public documents.  Izzy would love the EEOC as a target.  While the EEOC did not include its proposed EEO-1 form in its updated Final Comment Request, you can find it … Continue Reading

Space, Time, and Taxes: How The Theory Of Special Relativity Applies To Settling An Employment Claim

Special thanks to Taylor Carico for contributing to this post. Tax implications of employment settlements bedevil everyone. Even Albert Einstein famously stated that “the hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.” There are lots of reasons for confusion but the complication between what is taxable income and what is taxable wages … Continue Reading

An Apple a Day Will Not Keep Paid Leave Away

Take two aspirin before reading further because apples won’t help. Keeping up with the ever-expanding paid leave laws is enough to give any employer a headache. Let’s start with those currently effective – 4 states, Puerto Rico, Washington D.C., and 22 other cities or counties: Take two more aspirin and look ahead. • The U.S. … Continue Reading

How to use the new trade secrets act: tips for employers

US businesses lose $300 billion annually in stolen trade secrets; employees can steal thousands of documents with the push of a button; and the FBI acknowledges it cannot stop this hemorrhage on its own. In response, Congress just enacted the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) to give private litigants powerful new tools to combat this … Continue Reading

Dealing with the new FLSA salary tests in ruby slippers

This article first appeared as an Employment Alert on our firm’s website. News releases echoing the famous mantra from The Wizard of Oz – “lions, and tigers, and bears … Oh my!” – suggested that the Department of Labor (DOL) has issued an army of flying monkeys. Not so. The DOL merely finalized new dollar … Continue Reading

FAQs on the ADA’s Application to Addicts

23.5 million Americans aged 12 or older—approximately 10% of the U.S. population—consider themselves in recovery from drug or alcohol abuse problems. In light of these staggering numbers, as well as the ADA’s explicit protections for addicts, litigation related to employee addiction is increasingly common. The following FAQs address legal responsibilities with respect to addicted employees. … Continue Reading

Landmines In Health Care Coverage In Executive Comp Packages

Employers promising to pay for health care in recruiting an executive or in negotiating an outplacment package need to pay close attention to overlooked tax provisions, some of which have been modified by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In some cases, these rules are designed to prevent payments for health coverage that discriminate in favor … Continue Reading

The Elephant in the Corner … Do You Have to Pay Employees for Checking Work Email?

Connectivity is addictive. Managers text and email staff 24/7; workers check their phones incessantly 24/7. How often? Okay, here are the actual numbers from a recent Gallup poll: 11% check it every few minutes; 41% a few times an hour; and 20% of Americans claim once an hour. If you haven’t checked in last 60 … Continue Reading

Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk: Best Practices for Handling Nursing Employees

“First comes love, then comes marriage [or not – no judgment], then comes the baby in the baby carriage” and then – for nursing working mothers – comes expressing milk at the workplace. Nursing employees are currently afforded workplace protections under several major federal laws; plus, many state and local governments have expanded these federal … Continue Reading

Retaliation Claims Under The False Claims Act: A Pop Quiz

President Lincoln signed the False Claims Act (FCA) in response to scoundrels who sold the Union Army “gunpowder” kegs full of sawdust, uniforms sewn with used rags that disintegrated when wet, and boots made of cardboard that fell apart when worn. To incentivize citizens to protect the government, the FCA provided a bounty to individuals … Continue Reading

Is a Severance Policy More Like an ERISA Plan, a Writing Desk, or a Raven?

… The Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he said was, “Why is a raven like a writing-desk?” …“Have you guessed the riddle yet?” the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.  “No, I give it up,” Alice replied. “What’s the answer?”  “I haven’t the slightest idea,” said the Hatter.  “Nor … Continue Reading

Is There Really An Obligation To Provide Miranda Warnings In Employee Interviews?

Investigations of employment-related claims routinely require employee interviews. Reports of sexual harassment, picket line misconduct, or whistleblowing all trigger such investigative interviews. Conventional wisdom suggests that employers and their counsel should ask the interviewees to maintain what is covered in confidence and even to document that confidentiality commitment in writing. But, developments on multiple fronts … Continue Reading
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