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  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
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Caregiver leave: Was this firing disability discrimination?

A refusal to grant time off as an accommodation for the disability of an employee’s family member will only pass muster for employers too small to be covered by the FMLA or employees who did not work long enough to be eligible for FMLA leave.

North Canton trucking company faces DOL suit

North Canton-based Star Air faces a DOL lawsuit that seeks more than $600,000 in fines and reinstatement for two drivers allegedly fired for re­­fusing to drive unsafe vehicles.

txtng@wrk can mean no unemployment benefits


Employers don’t want distracted em­ployees, especially when their jobs require their undivided attention. That’s reason enough to tell workers to shut off their cellphones and other electronic devices. Ignoring such orders and engaging in distractions like reading text messages is misconduct.

Stop litigious employees’ amateur sleuthing! Set policies to ban unauthorized recordings

Surreptitiously gathering evidence in violation of your rules isn’t protected activity and can’t be the basis for an employee’s subsequent retaliation lawsuit.

Before approving termination, check to see if boss has ax to grind with the employee

Do you routinely rubber-stamp your supervisors’ termination decisions? As an important U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year made clear, that’s not a smart move for HR—and a new ruling illustrates that further.

Investigations must be thorough, but not bulletproof to justify discipline

Here’s some good news for those handling discipline and wondering whether your decision will stand up in court: You don’t always have to be exactly right, just fair and honest.

Handbooks: 5 simple steps for preserving at-will status

The easiest way to make sure employees understand that they are employed on an at-will basis is to place disclaimers throughout your employee handbook. Five key elements will help those disclaimers stand up in court if an employee ever mounts a legal challenge to at-will employment.

No obligation to create indefinite light-duty job

You don’t have to create permanent light-duty work for injured workers, as the following case shows.

Pregnancy discrimination: You may be personally liable

Here’s a good reason to make sure pregnant employees don’t experience bias: The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act protects against pregnancy discrimination and holds personally liable anyone who aids or abets discriminatory practices.

Choose: Create light-duty job or keep paying workers’ comp

The job market is tough for poorly educated, untrained injured workers. However, unless you want to continue carrying such workers on your workers’ compensation policy rolls, it might be smart to do all you can to find light-duty jobs for them.