HR Minute

Showing 18 posts by Randy C. Gepp.

Lactation in the Workplace

Many employers are uncertain how to handle requests by female employees for break periods and special locations for expressing breast milk. The law is clearly trending in favor of policies that permit female employees to express breast milk in the workplace.

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Recent Guidelines in Handling FMLA Claims

Your employee takes twelve weeks of FMLA, but cannot return when her leave expires. Her doctor certifies that she needs an additional 30 days of recuperation, but she claims she can do light-duty work during that 30 day period. What are you required to do?

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Tips on Religious Requirements in the Workplace

We are currently seeing more issues arising in the workplace concerning religion. Below are some points an employer should remember in dealing with religious issues. There is no “one size fits all” solution to the challenges presented in this area. Each case should be analyzed on specific facts.

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Tips for Claims Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the American Disabilities Act

Did you know that a pregnant employee who has complications may be equivalent to an employee with a disability? Recent cases hold that pregnant employees with complications may be entitled to reasonable accommodations. The complications do not need to be severe. They may include such things as temporary Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), incompetent cervix, or high blood pressure. A physician’s restriction may be sufficient to put you on notice.

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Housing and Criminal Background Checks

HUD has issued guidance indicating it will review of the use of criminal background checks in determining qualifications for residents in housing. HUD is following the lead of the EEOC concerning criminal convictions and employment. Under the guidance, refusing to rent to someone on the basis that he or she has a prior conviction may be illegal discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.

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Work-Related Stress and the Americans with Disabilities Act

With increasing frequency employees are claiming disabilities based on work-related stress. Some employees are asking for accommodations such as transfers to new supervisors, working from home, additional leave, and alternative jobs. These requests may require an employer to make a determination of whether the employee has a disability and potential accommodations for the alleged disability.

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EEOC Investigations - New Requirements for Position Statements

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has implemented new procedures which include electronic filing and which allow the EEOC to release an employer’s position statement to a charging party. The EEOC may release any information or documents which are not determined to be confidential.

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Are You Compliant With Your I-9 Responsibilities?

Posted In Government

Many employers are unaware of the accuracy required by the federal government in the completion of I-9 documents. Only when the government conducts an audit do these employers learn the extent of mistakes they have been making for years. Committing errors on documents may result in penalties of up to $1,100 for each I-9 form. Thus, a mistake on 100 forms could result in penalties exceeding $100,000. In addition, employing individuals who are ineligible to work because of expired documents or other reasons may result in penalties of $3,200 per worker.

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Fair Credit Reporting Act Requirements

Recently, a class action was filed against a major employer alleging that the company violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by not providing applicants with proper warnings or the opportunity to correct mistakes in their records. These types of lawsuits are increasing. Failure to comply with the technical requirements of the FCRA may result in significant liability to employers.

The FCRA requires employers that use consumer reports for applicants or employees to (1) notify the applicant or employee that the employer may use the information for decisions relating to employment, and (2) obtain written permission from the job applicant or employee before any consumer report is obtained. Consumer reports include any written, oral or other communication of information from a consumer reporting agency bearing on credit standing, character, or reputation. Consumer reports include credit reports, criminal records and driving records.

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Pregnancy, the FMLA and ADA

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is the primary statute affording pregnant employees the right to leave. The FMLA provides for up to 12 workweeks of unpaid job-protected leave to qualifying employees for pregnancy. Many employers may not be aware that in addition to rights under the FMLA, pregnant employees may also have rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The ADA provides for pregnancy-related leave in limited circumstances. Specifically, a pregnant employee experiencing complications that limit a major life activity may be considered disabled under the ADA and entitled to its protections, including reasonable accommodations.

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