SAFETY/HEALTH

Disability leave: Best intentions may backfire

04/23/2014

Here’s something to consider before you place an employee on disability leave following an em­­ployer-ordered medical exam. That employee may end up being considered disabled—even if the exam revealed no real medical problems. Essentially, by examining him and placing him on leave, you are regarding him as disabled. He can then sue for disability discrimination.

8 warning signs of volatile employee behavior

03/27/2014
Dennis Davis, author of Threats Pending, Fuses Burning: Managing Workplace Violence and director of client training for Ogletree Deakins, urges employers to be on the lookout for workers who display any of these eight warning signs of violent behavior.

Lancaster nurse fired after refusing influenza vaccine

03/06/2014

Lancaster-based Horizons Healthcare fired a nurse after she refused to have a flu vaccine. The company requires its employees to get flu shots to limit potential epidemics. The nurse offered to wear a mask while on duty, instead. It’s a case that has yet to result in a lawsuit—but it could.

Workers' Safety and Health

02/02/2014

HR Law 101: Employers have an obligation to provide a safe work environment for their employees. Those that don’t will pay a heavy price. Their workers’ compensation and other liability insurance costs will rise, workers may sue, and OSHA may impose heavy fines.

Does workers' comp cover injuries an employee suffers at a work-related social event?

01/24/2014
Q. Is an employee who injures himself at a ­company-sponsored picnic eligible for workers’ ­compensation?

Be alert for health, safety whistle-blowing

01/24/2014
Here’s a warning for federal government employers: Just about any internal complaint about agency wrongdoing may be protected activity under the Whistleblower Pro­­tec­­tion Act (WPA).

OSHA launches online whistle-blower complaint form

01/22/2014
OSHA now offers whistle-blowers an online complaint form. Until now, whistle-blowers had to either write or call OSHA. The online form is designed to provide workers who have been retaliated against an additional way to reach out for OSHA assistance.

Ergonomics

01/18/2014

HR Law 101: In 2009, OSHA said it plans to propose a rule requiring employers to report work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) in a new column on their Form 300 workplace injury logs. Some believe the move is a precursor to reintroducing ergonomic standards.

Gaines' loss: Over $1 million for whistle-blower violations

01/03/2014
OSHA has ordered Gaines Motor Lines, a Hickory-based freight hauling company, to reinstate three workers and pay $1,070,123 in back pay wages, interest, compensatory and punitive damages to four former employees who warned about safety problems.

Minnesota's workplace injury rates remain low

12/23/2013
The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry’s Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses for 2012 contains good news. The results showed just a slight uptick in injuries from the all-time low posted in 2011.

Whoa! Never saw that one coming! You're not responsible for aberrant crime

12/10/2013
Unless it’s obvious that an em­­ployer acted maliciously by purposely setting out to harm an employee, chances are it won’t be held responsible for the consequences of a co-worker’s crime.

Isolated attack not grounds for harassment lawsuit

11/27/2013
Employers can control some hazardous work conditions, but not all of them. What a particular customer or client may do when he comes in contact with an employee likely falls into the uncontrollable category.

Can we ban e-cigarettes?

11/19/2013
Q. Over the past few months I have been seeing more and more electronic cigarettes in our city. Last week, an employee walked into our office while smoking an electronic cigarette. I’d like to ban their use in our offices. I’ve heard that e-cigarettes are just as addictive as the real things.

Employer restrictions on guns in California workplaces

10/29/2013
This month, we’ll examine several questions about how far employers can go toward prohibiting employees from bringing guns to work.

Cal-OSHA law applies even to tiny businesses

10/29/2013
Think your business is too small to be covered by Cal-OSHA safety regulations? Think again.
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