Do we need to accommodate smokers?

Q. We currently have a designated smoking area outside our building. Recently, an employee who is extremely sensitive to certain odors complained that smoke was drifting through our ventilation system into her work space. May we prohibit smoking in certain areas outside our building? If so, do we need to provide another location for our employees to smoke?

How to avoid the pitfalls of social media: The FCRA and EEOC angle

You may think you're using social media for quite innocent puposes, but the law may state otherwise.

It's spring, so love must be in the air ... and at the office

Hone your workplace relationship rules now before spring romance brings September grief.

March Madness: Deal with office betting pools

You don’t need to crack down on minor pools, but you should write a policy on habitual gambling at work. The real danger of office bracketology lies in its effect on compulsive gamblers who may be on your payroll.

Drop the cellphone! Set an anti-distracted driving policy

Most states have laws against texting or talking on a handheld cellphone while driving. Absent a clear, tough, enforced policy against distracted driving, employers risk losing millions of dollars in jury verdicts—and contribute to crippling and fatal carnage on the road.

What is the most effective way of keeping a former employee from giving away trade secrets?

Q. As an employer, what can I do to avoid unauthorized disclosure of sensitive company information when an employee departs?

Why you need a workplace gambling policy

Most employers fail to specifically prohibit workplace gambling, and many sanction the behavior as harmless fun. Don't bet on it.

Follow these guidelines to protect your trade secrets

As the economy heats up and employees start exploring greener pastures, it’s more important than ever to ensure that you implement iron-clad confidentiality agreements to make sure your intellectual property doesn’t walk out the door with them if they change jobs.

More than a matter of style: Grooming rules can differ based on gender


If you have a dress and grooming policy that sets out different rules for men and women, you aren’t necessarily setting yourself up for a sex discrimination lawsuit. As several court rulings have shown, you can have different rules based on gender—as long as you enforce those rules even-handedly.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act


HR Law 101: The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) of 1978 prohibits discrimination on the basis of "pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions." Employers can't deny a woman a job or a promotion merely because she's pregnant or has had an abortion ...

New NLRB ruling shows risk of prohibiting 'loud, disrespectful' speech

During an all-staff meeting at an Amazon.com warehouse in Arizona, an employee loudly voiced concerns about an on-site safety issue. After the meeting, he was called in the HR office and told he spoke too loudly and disrespectfully, both of which violated company policy. The employee countered by saying he had to speak loudly to be heard—and he objected to Amazon’s heavy-handed response.

Add a social media policy to your employee handbook

Social media represents a fundamental shift in how business is evolving. Employers need to establish clear expectations about what employees can and cannot post.

Discrimination: Title VII


HR Law 101: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination against workers on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. An array of federal and state laws further refine the definition of discrimination ...

Sexual Harassment: Overview


HR Law 101: Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Courts are increasingly taking a dim view of employers that don't take decisive action to prevent sexual harassment ...

FLSA: Calculating Hours Worked


HR Law 101: To ensure you’re in compliance with the FLSA, it’s important to understand the definition of “hours of work.” Any hour when an employee’s on duty is considered time worked. The only period usually excluded: when an employee uses the time for personal reasons ...

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