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Don’t fire workers to trim health costs

During Kathy Smith’s first year in a customer service job, her husband was diagnosed with heart disease and her son with water on the brain. Treatment was covered under the firm’s …

Challenge workers’ comp claim based on personal problems, gossip

While working as a bus driver and instructor for a school district, Carrie Geredes had a not-so-private affair with a co-worker. After the affair ended, she heard that her former lover …

Check the fine print on legal-liability insurance

When a former executive sued his company for defamation, the company turned to its umbrella liability insurance policy to cover the defense cost. But the insurer refused and a federal appeals …

Get your ergonomic house in order

Many companies celebrated in April when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced it would combat workplace ergonomic injuries through a new strategy of guidance, information and assistance, rather than heavy-handed rules on businesses.

EEOC lifts controversial ADEA link to retiree benefits

Bowing to criticism from employers and employee groups, the EEOC has officially rescinded its policy of applying the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) to employer-sponsored retiree health benefit plans. …

Workers’ Comp Fraud Is Legitimate Reason to Fire


Q. While on unpaid leave, one of our staffers applied for and was granted workers’ compensation. This person has not expressed any interest in returning to work. She may even be working for someone else. Can we terminate her? —A.L., New York

Health Plan Cancellation Ends Your COBRA Obligation


Q. Our business recently was forced to implement layoffs—and most remaining employees walked off the job. All were given a COBRA notice, but only one chose to take the coverage. Since this was a group insurance policy and only one person will now be insured, the insurer is cancelling our policy. What’s our responsibility to that ex-employee? —G.B., Texas

COBRA notification requires only a ‘good faith’ effort

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that an employer who sent a COBRA continuation insurance notice to a former employee at his last known address via certified mail …

Gross misconduct gets tougher to prove

After a Philadelphia school district fired a high-school math teacher for misusing money from the extracurricular activity account, the teacher sued. He claimed, among other things, that the school district refused …

Expect Enron fallout to sway retirement offerings

With the collapse of giant energy trader Enron Corp. grabbing headlines, expect new skepticism and tough questions from employees about the makeup of your company’s own retirement plan. Hundreds of …