Category Archives: HR Law

Can Employers Require Employees to Get Vaccines?

We have been coping with the effects of the coronavirus for most of 2020. How many times have you heard someone say, “I’m so over this pandemic”? Most of us want to get back to life as we knew it before the pandemic struck. However, we continue to hear that we may not be able to control the pandemic until we have an effective vaccine. According to this COVID-19 vaccine tracker, there are nearly fifty COVID-19 vaccines in development Read the rest

Without Child Care, Back-to-Work Parents May Have Limited Options

Although the positivity rate for those infected with the coronavirus continues to increase in many areas across the United States, more libraries, organizations, businesses, and schools have begun the process of reopening (or allowing increased numbers of patrons for those already open). Most will have new policies in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Back to school planning for many families with school-aged children, however, will look very different this year than it has in previous years. School Read the rest

Department of Labor Revises Fluctuating Workweek Regulations

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has revised its regulations for computing overtime compensation of salaried non-exempt employees who work hours that vary each week (fluctuating workweek) under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The final rule clarifies that payments in addition to the fixed salary are compatible with the use of the fluctuating workweek method of compensation. Such payments must be included in the calculation of the regular rate as appropriate under the FLSA. The DOL also adds examples Read the rest

IRS Allows Employee Mid-Year Health Benefits Changes Without a Qualifying Event Due to COVID-19

Over the last couple of months, life has changed in ways no one could have imagined or expected. Being stuck inside means that most of us have been unable to keep routine doctor and dental appointments. The onset of COVID-19 has impacted our ability to use Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) either for healthcare or dependent care expenses. However, there is good news for these extraordinary times.  

First, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Read the rest

EEOC Weighs in on Employers Conducting Temperature Checks and Other Questions

  • If employers are hiring, may they screen applicants for symptoms of COVID-19?
  • May an employer take an applicant’s temperature as part of a post-offer, pre-employment medical exam? 
  • May an employer withdraw a job offer when it needs the applicant to start immediately, but the individual has COVID-19 or symptoms of it?
  • May an employer require employees who have been away from the workplace during a pandemic to provide a doctor’s note certifying fitness to return to work?

As many workplaces Read the rest

How to Correctly Implement the New Paid Leave

The recently signed Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA – Public Law 116-127) requires employers to provide qualified employees with Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Emergency/Expanded Paid Leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (EPFMLA). The FFCRA took effect on April 1, 2020, and will remain in effect until December 31, 2020. 

Here’s what’s important to know: Employers with less than 500 employees must provide two weeks of paid Emergency Sick Leave and an additional ten weeks Read the rest

EEOC Reports Sexual Harassment Complaints Down

Last month, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released detailed breakdowns for the 72,675 charges of workplace discrimination the agency received in fiscal year 2019. According to the data, most categories of complaints, including sexual harassment, dropped. Only two — those alleging color discrimination and equal pay act violations — increased. Retaliation remained the most frequent complaint. HR Dive suggests that employers continue to work to prevent such claims. They also advise human resource professionals to create a culture Read the rest

Pay Equity Litigation Update

Recent litigation suggests employers should proactively identify and address pay inequities, particularly as they relate to gender bias. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has made equal pay a focus this year. The article explains how two cases EEOC v. Enoch Pratt Free Library and EEOC v. George Washington University— demonstrate that employers face considerable obstacles to dispensing with an equal pay claim early in the litigation process. The author of the article states that “the fact-dependent Read the rest

Resist the Urge to Access: The Impact of the Stored Communications Act on Employers

Do you distribute laptops, cellphones, or other electronic devices to your employees to use for work-related activities? Have you ever collected an employee’s employer-owned laptop or cellphone and discovered that the employee left a personal account automatically logged in? Did you have the urge to look at what the employee was doing, what sites the employee visited and who the employee was talking to? If so, you should resist that urge. According to this article, “based on the broad Read the rest

Is It Legal to Dock the Pay of Employees Who Skip a Political Rally Being Held in the Workplace?

Every year during the ALA midwinter meetings, my co-worker and I present a session on professional etiquette. One of the topics we advise workshop attendees to avoid is politics. Political discussions can lead to a variety of negative consequences —particularly in the workplace. Individual feelings about various politicians, the voting process in general, and political activities are all personal. Coercing employees’ attendance at political events is an ill-advised activity that does not bode well for employers. Though it may be Read the rest