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Employment Law

Don’t let policies rot on a shelf; educate staff or lose your defense

Sprint wasn’t ignorant of sexual harassment. The company had distributed a human resources policy guide to all employees in 1990 and posted it in all offices. Its code of ethics urges …

Informal vacation policy can cost you.

Don’t leave any doubt about when workers are on vacation. Michael Pelletier’s employer fired him after 20 years on the job, claiming he failed to show up for three days …

Be clear which company is the employer.

Tri-Me Transportation was the company that paid Geri Heinemeier and the one she listed as her employer. When Heinemeier sued the company for sexual harassment, the judge ordered Tri-Me to …

Retaliation doesn’t have to be part of original complaint.

Don’t rest if a discrimination suit against you doesn’t claim retaliation from the outset. The employee can usually add it later, if the retaliation is related to the initial complaint. A …

Supreme Court: One crude remark doesn’t equal hostile environment

A supervisor reviewing reports on job applicants with two other employees noted that one candidate had told a co-worker, “I hear that making love to you is like making love to …

Bankruptcy bias: Handle deadbeat applicants carefully

Don’t refuse to hire applicants, and don’t fire current employees, solely because they’ve filed for bankruptcy. The U.S. Bankruptcy Code bars such discrimination. However, you can consider an applicant’s overall …

Continuing deductions slams correction window shut

Don’t wait until someone questions his exempt status to check whether you’ve been making improper pay deductions and then try to correct the situation. Although there’s a “window of correction” …

Withdrawing recognition of unions just got harder

The National Labor Relations Board recently made it more difficult for employers to withdraw recognition of an incumbent union. For the past 50 years, employers needed only a good-faith belief …

Rethink your nepotism policy

If you have a policy that bans hiring employees’ spouses, consider dropping it, or at least rewriting it. Reason: 14 percent of dual-income married couples now work in the same …

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 …