Employer Law Report

Tag Archives: forecast

Managing the heat for employees

Temperatures across the United States are starting to heat up. Employers must be cognizant of the impact these rising temps have on employees who work outside.

First things first. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) put together the following list of symptoms of heat illness and first aid solutions:

  • Sunburn: Redness and pain. In severe cases, swelling of skin, blisters, fever and headaches. Response: Ointments for mild cases if blisters appear and do not break. If breaking occurs, apply dry sterile dressing.
  • Heat cramps: Painful spasms usually in the muscles of legs and abdomen with heavy sweating.

How FMLA works during holidays

Managing FMLA leaves that fall on holidays

Administering the FMLA is difficult. When an FMLA leave falls on a holiday, it becomes even more complicated. Employers must know how to answer three holiday-related questions. First, if a holiday falls during an employee’s FMLA leave, does that holiday count against the employee’s FMLA entitlement? Second, how is the FMLA administered when there is an extended plant, office or school shutdown? Lastly, must an employer provide holiday pay to an employee on FMLA leave?

Does a holiday count against an employee’s FMLA leave entitlement?

While many employers keep track of their employees’ …

Fantasy sport issues in the workplace

As we enter football season, workforces should prepare for the estimated 25 million fantasy sports enthusiasts who spend at least an hour of work time managing their teams each week during the 13- to 17-week football season. (See more here.)  Distracted employees can reduce productivity, cause workplace accidents, and potentially impact the bottom line. As such, employers that are concerned with such productivity issues should put proper procedures in place to address these issues head on.

The first question of course, however, is are fantasy football leagues even legal? On the federal level, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act …

Workers’ compensation and summer outings

Summertime brings company picnics, charity walks and softball leagues. Great moments for increasing employee morale, but these activities may lead to employer liability if an employee is injured while participating in such activities.

In Ohio, employees injured while engaged in an employer-sponsored recreational or fitness activity are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits unless the employee signed a waiver prior to participating in the activity. Hence, it is critical employers request employees execute a waiver before an activity occurs. The BWC provides a sample waiver on its website.

For the waiver to be valid, the following requirements must be met:…

Hiring minors: Not my teenage dream

It is summer, and you know what that means: teenagers, everywhere. And they are not just hanging out at the mall, they are working at the mall, at the local pool, and in other entry-level positions. Unlike other workers, however, teenagers come with their own special set of complications. Generational issues aside, the real concern for employers with employment of minors is complying with federal and state laws specific to employment of minors.

Hiring

Before hiring minors, each employer should verify whether it can hire minor employees in the industry in which the employer operates and the state in which …

Summer dress codes: The long and skorts of it

For many, summer is a more laid-back time of year and rightfully so. There are summer holidays for people to enjoy, vacations, long weekends, lazy days outside taking advantage of the nice weather and, in the employment law area, many law-making and law-enforcing bodies are less active or not in session. Sometimes this laid-back attitude seeps into the workplace. Specifically, during these hot, sticky summer months, employers often notice employees start taking a relaxed approach the office dress code. It makes sense; the rising temperatures make some people reach for shorter hemlines or lighter-weight fabrics. Many times this can be …

Managing religious holidays

Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination and/or harassment on the basis of religion. This means that an employer cannot treat persons of different religions differently or appear to favor one religion over another. As such, employers should be mindful of varying cultural differences among their employees. While their are not as many religious holidays during the summer months, during 2015, the month of Ramadan is celebrated by Muslims from June 17 – July 16.  During this period, Muslims must fast between sunrise and sunset. Keeping that in mind, the following tips may serve as helpful reminders to employers:

  • Keep décor

Hiring seasonal workers during the summer

One issue that comes up for many employers in the summer is hiring seasonal workers. Hiring temporary seasonal employees presents some substantial legal traps for the unwary. Employers should assess their seasonal hiring practices to ensure compliance with various state and federal laws. In other posts, we advised you on the issues in hiring interns and minors, but here are some other issues employers should look out for when hiring seasonal workers:

  • Verify employees are legally permitted to work in the U.S.
  • Make sure you are following the rules when classifying a seasonal worker as an “independent contractor” versus an

Flu season: guidance for employers

As the weather turns colder, concerns about the flu resurface. With many reports that this year’s flu vaccine is less effective than usual, flu season figures to be worse than ever. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued updated guidance for businesses and employers, which can be found at: Make It Your Business to Fight the Flu: A Toolkit for Businesses and Employers. Employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforces while ensuring continuity of operations. Most of the recommendations boil down to simple common sense:

  1. Encourage workers who are sick to stay home

Hiring seasonal workers during the holidays

Many employers hire seasonal workers during the holidays to help keep up with increased consumer demand. However, hiring temporary seasonal employees presents some substantial legal traps for the unwary. Employers should assess their seasonal hiring practices to ensure compliance with various state and federal laws. In other posts, we advised you on the issues in hiring interns and minors, but here are some other issues employers should look out for when hiring seasonal workers:

  • Verify employees are legally permitted to work in the U.S.
  • Make sure you are following the rules when classifying a seasonal worker as an “independent contractor”

Introducing our mobile-device friendly microsite – the Employer Law Forecast

In this first week of Summer, we are excited to let our blog readers be among the first to know about our launch of a new microsite – Employer Law Forecast, a new way to deliver insightful legal content to readers.

The Employer Law Forecast is an online tool that helps employers and human resource professionals plan for employment law issues that occur seasonally.  For example, as we kick off summer, we help you address common workforce issues during the summer months, including Managing the Heat for Employees, Hiring Interns, Workers’ Compensation and Summer Outings, Hiring

What employers need to know about employee time off for Primary Elections (and new 50-state survey)

Election day will soon be upon us. Employers often have questions about voting leave—who is entitled to it; what they are required to provide; whether the leave must be paid; and what they are permitted and prohibited from doing on election day.

What voting leave is an employer required to provide?

Ohio employers must give their employees “reasonable time” to vote. The law does not define what constitutes “reasonable time,” nor does it define what restrictions or parameters an employer can place on voting leave. To be on the safe side, it is advisable that employers provide employees leave to …

Are You Ready, Baby? March Madness = Workplace Madness

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament, a/k/a March Madness, kicks off Sunday, March 15 with Selection Sunday, then rolls on Tuesday, March 18 with a couple of play-in games and then on to the actual tournament, which begins Thursday, March 20. The brackets, the gambling, the office conference rooms dedicated to the games, the continual online streaming of games, the excitement…it’s all here! And with Warren Buffet recently announcing he will give $1 billion to anyone who can pick a perfect bracket, the stakes just got higher! While the Billion-Dollar Bracket may be new this year, March Madness, Super Bowl …

Daylight $avings $tart$ $unday. $pring Forward and Pay Employee$ Correctly

Most states, including Ohio, participate in Daylight Savings Time.  This means that this Sunday, March 9, 2014, Daylight Savings Time begins, and we spring forward and push the clocks forward one hour at 2:00 a.m.  Daylight Savings Time runs from the second Sunday of March to the first Sunday of November.

So, what does this mean for employers?  Well, the key concern for employers is how the change impacts hourly (non-exempt) employees who work during the time change, e.g., the graveyard shift?

As you know, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to credit and pay employees for all …

Hunka Hunka Burning Love. How Employers Stop the Heartburn of Workplace Romances and Avoid Litigation

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we have a two-part series on workplace romance. Next week, we will have a featured post on love contracts in the workplace.  Stay tuned!

With Valentine’s Day approaching, it is a good time to remind employers that dear old Cupid is alive and well, and strutting his stuff in the workplace. I won’t bore you with the statistics about how many romantic relationships blossom in the workplace, and how many of those end up in marriage or crash and burn like the Hindenburg. As many employers already know, it is not just the parties actually …

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful! How Employers Can Handle the Impact of Inclement Weather (Polar Vortex Anyone?) and What NIOSH, OSHA, the NLRA and the FLSA Have to Say About It

For some, snowflakes bring thoughts of snowmen and sleigh rides. For others, they signal the beginning of closed business days, employees arriving late to work, and all sorts of other issues—all the result of inclement weather! Since many parts of the United States are currently dealing with the effects of, what-is-being-called, the “Polar Vortex,” we decided to take a look at some common headaches for employers caused by bad weather and provide you with some helpful guidance.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Addresses Cold Stress

Extreme cold temperatures have disastrous effects on humans and their ability to …

‘Tis the Season For Holiday Workplace Issues – Download our Holiday eBook with FMLA Stocking Stuffer – “Three FMLA Holiday Stocking Stuffers: How to Avoid a Big Lump of Coal”

We hope you enjoyed our five-part series last week addressing the Top 5 Holiday Headaches for Employers. Due to popular demand, we have compiled this series into an eBook for you and have added a special bonus:

Three FMLA Stocking Stuffers: How to Avoid a
Big Lump of Coal

We couldn’t do a holiday-blog series and NOT include something about every employer’s favorite holiday topic. Like fruitcake, it is a gift that nobody really wants or knows what do with… the FMLA.

Here we tackle three prickly FMLA-holiday questions. First, do holidays count against an employee’s FLMA leave entitlement? Second, …

‘Tis the Season for Holiday Workplace Issues. Day 5 – What If Santa Was The One That Got Run Over By a Reindeer?

It is important not to require employee attendance at holiday parties and that pressure to attend is properly managed. Mandatory attendance at company-sponsored functions, like holiday parties, can result in workers’ compensation claims if an attending employee is injured. It can also mean that the employee is entitled to be compensated for his or her time spent at the event pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

In Ohio, employees injured while engaged in an employer-sponsored recreational or fitness activity are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits unless the employee signed a waiver prior to participating in the activity. Hence, …

‘Tis the Season for Holiday Workplace Issues. Day 4 – Holiday Pay and How Not to Get Scrooged by the FLSA

Many employees believe they are entitled to holiday pay, even if they do not work on the holiday. This is not the case. In fact, neither the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) nor most state laws, including Ohio, require a private employer to pay hourly employees for not working on holidays (federal or otherwise).

Holiday pay is typically considered a fringe benefit and is a matter of agreement between an employer and an employee (or the employee’s union representative). However, please note that this does not apply to salaried, exempt employees who get paid for holidays, even ones they do …

‘Tis the Season for Holiday Workplace Issues. Day 3 – “Holiday Attire” Does Not Include “Beer Goggles”

Often the question on everyone’s mind when it comes to holiday parties is “Will alcohol be served?” For employers this is a big decision and, depending on where the holiday party is held and how it is contained, one that may expose an employer to liability. For the most part, whether an employer can be held responsible for alcohol-related incidents at or after company-sponsored events depends on the state in which the party is held and the circumstances surrounding the party.

First things first: If the event involves a business purpose that can be considered to have a direct effect …

‘Tis the Season for Holiday Workplace Issues. Day 2 – Being Inclusive Without Being A Grinch

Religion is also a hot-button workplace issue in December because so many different religious groups celebrate different holidays in December. For example: Christians commemorate the birth of Jesus at Christmas; Buddhists celebrate Buddha’s Enlightenment with Bodhi Day; Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights; African-Americans celebrate Kwanzaa, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice; Seinfeld enthusiasts celebrate Festivus, and there are many others.

Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination and/or harassment on the basis of religion. This means that an employer cannot treat persons of different religions differently or appear to favor one religion over another. …

‘Tis the Season for Holiday Workplace Issues. Day 1 – Avoiding Holiday Party Liability When the Office Santa Tries to Teach His Employees a Few “Reindeer Games”

As much as everyone loves them, the holidays create increased risk of employer liability and can result in a long list of legal problems for an unprepared employer. As our holiday gift to you, we’ve put together our top five holiday headaches for employers, which will be provided to you in a week-long series starting today.

Numero uno on our list: Sexual harassment at the office holiday party. Who doesn’t have at least one inappropriate office holiday party story? If you don’t, you’ve at least heard a couple doozies. The mix of sparkly outfits, tasty snacks, free-flowing libations and people …

Hiring Unpaid Summer Interns? Keep These Important Tips In Mind

Find an updated post on this topic, published May 7, 2018, here. 

 

Many employers allow students to intern in their workplaces so that the students can gain exposure to real world work, learn about a particular industry or career, or earn credit hours towards their degree requirements. However, if these interns are unpaid, employers risk liability for failure to pay minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employers that enter into these arrangements, often made with the intent of helping students and being good corporate citizens, without careful consideration risk lawsuits from former interns, including …

Updated Guidance for Businesses and Employers for the Fall Flu Season

Concerns about H1N1 Influenza are beginning to creep back into everyone’s consciousness as summer is drawing to a close. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued updated guidance for businesses and employers, which can be found at:

CDC Guidance for Businesses, Employers, and Workplaces to Plan and Respond to 2009 H1N1 Influenza

Preparing for the Flu: A Communication Toolkit for Businesses and Employers

Employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforces while ensuring continuity of operations. Most of the recommendations boil down to simple common sense:

  1. Encourage workers who are sick to stay home
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