Category: HR Management & Compliance

There are dozens of details to take care of in the day-to-day operation of your department and your company. We give you case studies, news updates, best practices and training tips that keep your organization fully in compliance with ever-changing employment law, and you fully aware of emerging HR trends.

Personnel Manuals And Handbooks: Surprising Danger Lurks In Common Disclaimers; A 4-Point Update Checklist

Your employee handbooks and manuals probably state that the policies are not intended to create a contract and are subject to change. This is a common provision employers use to maintain the flexibility to modify their personnel practices and procedures. But now, in a recent case many employers will find startling, one company learned this […]

News Notes: Is Same-Sex Horseplay Harassment When It Involves Heterosexuals?

Same-sex harassment is illegal under California law if the harassment is “because of” a person’s gender. The concept is easy to apply when the perpetrator and the victim are gays or lesbians of the same gender. But is crude behavior by a heterosexual employee against someone of the same gender-such as making sexually explicit jokes […]

News Notes: Study Reports Many Employers Were Sued But Few Had Insurance

Even though employee lawsuits are skyrocketing, most employers don’t carry insurance for employment practices liability, according to a report by Aon Risk Services, an insurance brokerage. Of 2,200 employers from various industries surveyed, 61% said they don’t have insurance. Nevertheless, three-quarters of the respondents reported being hit by an employee lawsuit within the past year. 

News Notes: Phone Company To Fork Over Millions To Settle Overtime Claims

In a development that highlights the expensive consequences of misclassifying employees as exempt from overtime, San Francisco-based Pacific Bell has reportedly promised to pay out huge damages-$27.8 million-to settle a class action lawsuit involving claims for unpaid overtime. The case involved 600 current and former sales support managers who were classified as exempt from overtime. […]

Handling Whistleblowers: Surprising New Caution On Firing Workers Who Complain

In recent years many employers have been sued for illegally firing or disciplining employees who blow the whistle or gripe about workplace health and safety considerations or an employer’s alleged illegal activity. But now an employer is in hot water for merely deciding not to rehire a contract worker whose employment term had expired. Here’s […]

Arbitrating Employment Claims: Court Strikes Down Arbitration Clause; Important Details You Should Never Leave Out

Agreements to arbitrate employment disputes are more popular than ever with employers because they can help avoid expensive and risky litigation. They are also controversial because some believe it’s unfair to require employees to agree in advance to submit employment claims to arbitration, giving up the right to a jury trial and potentially huge damages. […]

Personnel Policies: New Case Flags How Your At-Will Agreements May Be Vulnerable; Review Your Practices

The basic rule in California is that employees can quit or be fired at any time, with or without cause. If you’re like most employers, you’ve reinforced this concept by including “at-will” statements in your employee handbooks and application forms. But you could find yourself on the wrong end of an employee lawsuit if your […]

Health And Safety: Landmark Ergonomics Regulations Finally Approved; What You Need To Know

Following years of controversy and false starts, historic workplace ergonomics rules aimed at reducing repetitive motion injuries are in effect as of July 3, 1997. Certain employers whose workers have repetitive motion disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis will have to implement a specific ergonomics program to eliminate or minimize the injury risk.

News Notes: Employers Continue To Be Targeted

Discrimination lawsuits doubled between 1992 and 1996, according to a new report from the U.S. Courts’ Administrative Office. And the problem is likely to get worse. In May, we reported that employers paid record amounts to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over the last few years. Now top EEOC lawyers have promised to step […]