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Employment Law

Hold it! Don’t prevent extra bathroom breaks

Alert managers that some medical conditions do require more frequent visits to the restroom.

A $1.4 million lesson: Misclassifying workers can lead to personal liability

Making the employee-or-independent-contractor decision should always be a well-researched and documented choice. One main reason: While most lawsuits claiming misclassification of independent contractors are brought against corporate entities, many federal and state laws also allow workers to sue company execs directly for personal liability in such cases.

100%-healed policy may be automatic ADA violation

When employees return to work after an illness or injury, it’s natural to wonder if they’re really ready to resume their duties. Think twice before requiring them to prove they are fully healed before you allow them to come back. That could constitute an automatic violation of the ADA.

Stamp out racially hostile environment

It can be difficult for HR to keep track of every liability threat. You might never learn that a rogue supervisor is harassing subordinates. Without constant vigilance, it’s easy for a racially hostile work environment to fester.

Beware diversity goals that cause reverse bias

Employers are eager to recruit talent from every background, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion or other protected characteristics. And they’re launching organization-wide initiatives to achieve their diversity goals. But sometimes, diversity initiatives can backfire, triggering lawsuits that allege reverse discrimination against majority-group members who perceive they’re missing out on opportunities for which they are qualified.

3 federal agencies team up to stop retaliation

The U.S. Department of Labor, the EEOC and the National Labor Relations Board are responsible for enforcing most federal anti-discrimination laws affecting workers and the workplace. Concerned with an increase in the number of employee lawsuits accusing employers of retaliation, those three agencies have joined forces to raise awareness about the problem.

Heed FMLA rules during weeks before Christmas, New Year’s Day

Dec. 24 and 31, while usually not official work holidays, fall on Fridays this year. To stretch it to a long holiday weekend and in recognition of employees’ hard work during trying times, many employers will close on these days. Other employers traditionally close during the holiday week. The Department of Labor warns that such closures can complicate your calculations of employees’ FMLA leave entitlements.

EEOC casts a skeptical eye on the use of AI in hiring

Employers considering adding or expanding use of artificial intelligence programs to screen job applicants, take note: The EEOC has announced a new initiative to examine the use of AI in hiring.

Train executives on FLSA classification rules

Plaintiffs’ lawyers love to file lawsuits alleging an employee was improperly classified as a manager under the Fair Labor Standards Act. That’s because just one misclassification mistake can force employers to pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay and penalties. Avoid that fate by training everyone with the authority to set job duties, schedules and pay how to properly classify workers as either exempt or hourly.

EEOC: Customer preference irrelevant in hiring

When the Supreme Court ruled in 2020 that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the EEOC began filing a series of lawsuits, like this one.