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Employment Law

How to legally navigate employees’ requests to work remotely

After roughly two years of isolation, employers are summoning employees back to the office. Not all employees are thrilled, which means many employers are facing resistance from employees who have grown accustomed to remote work.

Is your noncompete killing a fly with a sledgehammer?

Use discretion and common sense. Narrowly tailor your restrictive covenant agreements to the specific interests you are trying to protect.

Consider writing FMLA ‘script’ for supervisors

The FMLA has a built-in punishment for employers that discourage workers from taking FMLA leave. Those workers can sue for interference with their FMLA rights even if they were never denied time off. All it takes is for a supervisor to informally warn a subordinate that asking for FMLA leave could have workplace consequences.

Heed this $42 million wage-and-hour lesson

If you are a mid-sized to large employer, making even basic wage-and-hour mistakes can be massively expensive. To make matters worse, the Fair Labor Standards Act authorizes courts to double what’s due to punish employers for mistakes. So do most state wage-and-hour laws.

New DOL guidance on FMLA, mental health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 20% of Americans will experience mental illness in a given year. That alarming statistic prompted the Department of Labor to issue new guidance on the interplay between FMLA and mental health issues.

Dodge performance review FLSA traps

Most employers wisely tell hourly employees not to work unscheduled overtime. But employers often send mixed messages, too, telling employees they’re expected to work hard and achieve productivity goals their supervisors set. Then, at review time, workers may be penalized for not meeting those goals.

Document how you tried to accommodate religion

Employers must reasonably accommodate employees’ religious beliefs and need to worship. But it’s not an absolute mandate; the accommodation must be reasonable. If it would cause an undue hardship, employers must document their accommodation efforts and the disruption caused by unsuccessful attempts to accommodate religious needs.

Consider calling police for severe harassment

If an employee complains about sexual harassment that has moved well beyond mere verbal abuse to include unwanted touching or other physical contact, it may be time to call the police. Serious allegations call for a robust response to protect the employee and your organization if the behavior repeats or escalates.

Assess policies, practices for LGBT inclusion

June 15 is the second anniversary of U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, which ruled employers cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. June is also Pride Month, making now a good time to review your legal obligations and perhaps reset policies to make your workplace more welcoming for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.

Employers and employees give high marks to EEOC mediation

Two new independent studies report overwhelming employer and employee satisfaction with the EEOC’s mediation program, as well as the commission’s transition from in-person to online mediation as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.