Use updated FMLA forms--at least for the rest of March

With almost no advance notice, the federal government has revised recently expired FMLA forms to reflect a new effective date: March 31, 2015. The core suite of FMLA forms—doctors’ certifications of serious health conditions, notices of rights and responsibilities and designation notices—was set to expire Feb. 28.

Progress or gridlock? Bill would expand NLRB

Sen. Lamar Alexander has introduced a bill that would expand the National Labor Relations Board from five members to six. Currently, the president appoints five board members with the “advice and consent of the Senate.” By law, two board members must be from the political party other than the president’s.

FMLA rights extended to all same-sex spouses

The rule change grants FMLA leave rights to same-sex spouses even in states that do not sanction or recognize gay marriage.

Harassment or just a bad-behaving boss?

Courts expect em­­ploy­­ees to have relatively thick skins. Behavior that is crude or obnoxious isn’t usually grounds for a harassment lawsuit unless it targets people based on a protected characteristic (sex, age, race, disability, etc.).Still, the “equal opportunity harasser” argument is a pretty flimsy nail to hang your defense on.

Bill would turn pro cheerleaders into employees

A bill before the General Assembly would require California’s professional sports teams to give cheerleaders full employment rights, including paying the minimum wage and overtime.

Federal judge strikes raises for home health workers

One of President Obama’s attempts to stimulate the economy has been nixed by a federal court.

PAGA claims still alive after SCOTUS denies review

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review the California Supreme Court Decision in which the state’s highest court ruled that the Federal Arbitration Act preempted California’s policy against enforcement of class-action waivers on the grounds that they were contrary to public policy or unconscionable.

OK to ditch telegraph under new CalOSHA regulations

The California state legislature made changes to both CalOSHA reporting requirements and fines for violations.

Whistle-blower can go directly to court after internal review

An employee who tries to internally report alleged wrongdoing and is then fired can pursue internal remedies—and then go directly to court with her discharge and retaliation claims.

Act fast to fix computer glitch that threatens to compromise disability accommodation

If a technology problem interferes with a disabled employee’s attempt to use medical leave, fix the problem fast. Otherwise, you may be liable for claims that you violated the ADA’s disability accommodations ­requirements.

You choose the reasonable accommodation

It’s up to the employer to choose which ADA reasonable accommodation it wants to offer a disabled employee. If the worker wants a different accommodation, he’s out of luck.

EEOC says Walmart discriminated by denying same-sex benefits

Walmart could soon face an EEOC lawsuit alleging the retail giant engaged in sex discrimination when it denied health insurance benefits to the same-sex spouse of an employee in Massachusetts.

Retaliation hits record: Alert bosses to risk

While employees filed fewer charges of job discrimination in 2014 than the year before, one new statistic from the EEOC should make HR and employers stand up and take notice: More than 2 in 5 charges last year allege some form of retaliation against the employee for pursuing the discrimination claim.

Beware handing out discipline so soon after FMLA request


When it comes to the FMLA, courts always pull out their stopwatches and calendars to see how closely the employee’s protected activity (requesting or taking FMLA leave) coincides with the adverse action (discipline or firing). As this case shows, the smaller the time, the bigger your risk of liability.

NLRB piles on joint-employer charges against McDonald's

The National Labor Relations Board has upped the ante in its ongoing effort to brand McDonald’s USA a joint employer along with its franchisees in a series of claims that the fast-food giant engages in unfair labor practices.
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