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Employee Relations

The WARN Act: Notify staff before large-scale layoffs

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires certain employers to give employees 60 days notice before a plant closing or mass layoff. Some states also have plant-closure laws that add additional mandates.

Casual comments put you on FMLA notice

Reginald Moore, a security-guard supervisor at a Virginia courthouse, told his boss he needed time off to care for his wife who had emphysema. A few months later, Moore said he …

Don’t silence or punish workers who compare their pay

A marketing director at one of Covenant Care’s nursing facilities attended a meeting of other marketing directors in the company. During the meeting, she joined other directors in a brief discussion …

NLRB shake-up may cause reversals on key cases

You can expect some good news from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Reason: If the Senate confirms a new slate of Bush appointees to the NLRB, it will be the …

When Can You Fire a Disabled Worker?


Q. We’ve had a disabled worker on staff for five years. He’s consistently absent or tardy and has trouble working with others and keeping up his job duties. We adjusted his hours, but his poor work forced us to reassign some of his duties and even hire another person to help carry the load. What can we do? —F.F., Texas

High court: Weingarten rights stand; state family leave case on docket

It’s official: Employees have the right, even in nonunion workplaces, to bring a co-worker as a witness to an investigative meeting that could result in discipline. Nonunion employees won …

English-Only Rule Is Legal in Rare Circumstances


Q. Is it legal for our company to require employees to speak only English at work? —B.K., Idaho

Include temp workers in anti-harassment policy

Nearly 70 women who worked as temporary on-site telemarketers at a Chicago car dealership filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court, claiming widespread sexual harassment by the dealership’s management. Most of …

Give employees fair shot to verify leave

Alex Jiminez frequently missed work due to flare-ups of Crohn’s disease. His employer’s absentee policy required progressive warnings and eventual management review after 80 hours of absences. The company reminded …

Mean-spirited office pranks carry heavy price

When a manager at an auto body shop went to the restroom, two fellow employees picked the lock, entered and took a photograph of him while urinating. They distributed the picture …