Your HR Department Survey 2.0

October 17, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Last Friday (Oct. 10) we discovered we had some significant technical problems with the survey on Your HR Department that caused us to lose many of your responses.

So we’re going to try this again. The survey is the same. We’ve gotten the technical problems resolved. Now we just need you to take the survey — again.

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Categories: HR Hero Line

Connecticut Court Overturns Ban on Same-Sex Marriages

October 13, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Connecticut has become the third state to legalize same-sex civil marriages, which California and Massachusetts already recognize. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled 4-3 to overturn a lower court ruling that denied same-sex couples the right to marry on the grounds that existing laws allowing civil unions afforded them sufficient rights. Gay and lesbian couples sought the right to marry under the Connecticut Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection. The Connecticut decision has no potential effect on federal law, which does not recognize same-sex marriages.

We will provide more details and discuss how this ruling will affect your workplace in an upcoming issue of Connecticut Employment Law Letter.

Categories: Connecticut

Mental Health Parity Measure Part of Bailout Package

October 06, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

A mental health parity measure has been passed in Congress as part of the $700 billion financial rescue package. The measure requires covered employers that provide health plans to cover mental illness and substance abuse on the same basis as physical conditions. President George W. Bush signed the financial package on Friday, October 3. The mental health provisions go into effect one year after enactment, with a different effective date for collective bargaining agreements.

Here are some of the provisions of the mental health measure: read more…

New York’s Disposal of Personal Records Law Amended

October 02, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

On September 5, 2008, New York Governor David A. Paterson signed into law Bill No. A10625, which amends New York’s General Business Law. Effective immediately, the amendment clarifies who must abide by New York’s Disposal of Personal Records Law, which relates to the disposal of records containing personal identifying information.

Personal identifying information consists of personal information, such as a name, number, personal mark, or other identifier, that can be used to identify a natural person, coupled with one or more data elements. Data elements range in type and are enumerated in the statute.

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Categories: New York

ADA Amendments Act Expands Definition, Interpretation of Disability

September 25, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

President Bush signed the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) into law on Sept. 25. It will expand interpretation of the American with Disabilities Act’s coverage, reversing a trend toward narrow construction that began with a string of U.S. Supreme Court decisions starting in 1999. The amendments become effective January 1, 2009.

Learn more from a nationally recognized authority on the Americans with Disabilities Act, Jonathan R. Mook, by participating in the HR Hero audio conference, “ADA Amendments Act Takes Effect Jan. 1: Get Ready For New Challenges.” For more information, call (800) 274-6774.

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Categories: Federal Laws

Controversial LAWA Upheld by Ninth Circuit

September 22, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the controversial Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA). Under the LAWA, which took effect January 1, 2008, a business found guilty of “knowingly” or “intentionally” hiring undocumented workers faces suspension or revocation of its business license and is placed on probationary status for a period of time. LAWA also requires employers to use the controversial federal E-Verify system to check employees’ work authorization status.

The suit was filed by a coalition of business and immigrant rights groups, including Chicanos por la Causa Inc., the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Arizona Employers for Immigration Reform.

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Categories: Arizona

Workplace Violence Prevention Strategies

August 27, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Workplace violence is a serious threat to American employers and employees. Although homicide in the workplace has steadily declined since 1994, it is still the fourth leading cause of workplace fatalities in the United States.

In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2006, more than 22,000 employees in private industry missed days of work because of nonfatal injuries that resulted from violent assaults in the workplace. Seventy percent of those injured missed three or more days of work as a result. The total number of workplace assaults, however, is much higher.

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Categories: HR Hero Line

‘Just Cause’ Measure on Colorado November Ballot

August 25, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

A proposed measure that would amend the Colorado Constitution to bar employers from firing or suspending employees without just cause was certified for the November 2008 ballot by the Colorado secretary of state on August 22. The “Just Cause Initiative,” which will appear on the November ballot as Amendment 55, gathered more than 130,000 signatures to be placed on the ballot. State law required only 76,047 certified signatures to make the ballot.

If Amendment 55 passes in November, covered employers would be required to provide an employee with written documentation showing that his termination or suspension was for “just cause,” which is defined to mean specified types of employee misconduct or substandard job performance, the filing of bankruptcy by the employer, or discharge or suspension due to adverse economic circumstances affecting the employer. Companies with fewer than 20 employees, governmental entities, and nonprofit organizations with fewer than 1,000 workers would be exempt from the just-cause requirement. Employees who are subject to collective bargaining agreements that require just cause for discharge or suspension also wouldn’t be protected by the measure.

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Categories: Colorado

Louisiana Governor Signs Firearms Law

August 14, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Effective August 15, Louisiana will join a growing number of “red” states that have limited employer policies banning guns from the workplace. Under the new law (Senate Bill 51), employers may not prohibit employees from storing “lawfully possessed” firearms in their locked personally owned or leased vehicles while parked on company property.

The new law does not limit an employer’s right to prohibit employees from carrying firearms on their person while at work or on company property when outside of their personal vehicles or from carrying or storing firearms in company-owned or -leased vehicles provided to employees for their business and personal transportation. The new law also expressly allows employers to require that any firearms stored in employees’ personal vehicles be hidden from plain view or locked in a case or container within the vehicle.

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Categories: Louisiana

U.S. Supreme Court Issues 3 New Decisions

June 20, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The first case, Meacham v. Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, involved an employer’s decision to lay off 31 employees, 30 of whom were age 40 or older. The workers sued, claiming the layoffs had a disparate impact on older workers in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

The employer claimed it based its layoff decision on reasonable factors other than age, which is an affirmative defense under the ADEA. It also stated that the employees had earlier lost their case because they couldn’t show the factors were unreasonable. By a 7-1 vote, the justices said the employer — not the employees — had to prove that the non-age factors used in its decision were reasonable.

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Categories: U.S. Supreme Court

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