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You can limit domestic partner benefits to same-sex couples

If you’re thinking about extending benefits to employees’ domestic partners, be prepared to defend any limits. When the Chicago school board decided to extend spousal health benefits to domestic partners …

Employee can sue after losing workers’ comp case, state says

Terry Smothers claimed that exposure to chemicals from his job as a lube technician led to lung problems, but Oregon’s workers’ comp board said he couldn’t prove that workplace exposure was …

Newborn’s Medical Problems May Warrant Shorter Hours


Q. A long-standing employee recently took leave under the FMLA to give birth, but her twins have many medical complications. She exhausted her eligibility under our disability carrier and isn’t eligible for long-term disability because she’s not disabled. We want her back, but she can’t commit to even 20 hours a week. What are our obligations under the FMLA, and would this individual be entitled to unemployment compensation if we terminate her? —G.B., New York

Give your health plan a discrimination checkup

If you have a group health plan, now’s a good time to make sure it doesn’t discriminate against any worker. Reason: New federal nondiscrimination rules are set to take effect with …

Go for the gold: Craft waivers that release you from all lawsuits

The teachers and students in the classroom where Mary Jefferson was a part-time aide regularly used derogatory terms for females, such as bitch, slut and whore. As a result, Jefferson filed …

In office or at home, workers’ comp applies


Q. Do workers’ compensation laws apply if an employee is injured while working in his own home and using his own equipment? —S.S., Maryland

Don’t ignore ergonomics

Don’t forget about ergonomics just because Congress scrapped the Clinton administration’s controversial rules. Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) can still hurt your bottom line, …

Do you have to offer COBRA? Check new IRS eligibility rule

If your company offers health insurance and has about 20 workers, look into IRS rules published this year. The federal COBRA law requires companies with 20 or more workers …

High court to decide whether health plans can recoup benefits

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether health plans can sue to recover benefits from a person who also collects from another source. In the case, an insurance …

Having a good business reason trumps speculation

After Gary Rowe had a kidney transplant, his medication was costing his employer more than $1,000 a month, and his supervisor frequently asked about his condition. When that supervisor had to …