‘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

Bush Orders Federal Contractors to Use E-Verify

June 12, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Update: E-verify deadline moved to September 2009

On June 6, President George W. Bush issued an executive order requiring all federal government contractors to use E-Verify to verify the work authorization of all new hires and existing personnel assigned to perform work on future federal contracts.

The amended Executive Order 12989 states: “Adherence to the general policy of contracting only with providers that do not knowingly employ unauthorized alien workers and that have agreed to utilize an electronic employment verification system designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security to confirm the employment eligibility of their workforce will promote economy and efficiency in Federal procurement.”

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Categories: Federal Laws

Supreme Court Recognizes 2 New Retaliation Claims

May 27, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in separate decisions that retaliation is prohibited under two federal discrimination statutes that don’t clearly say so — 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and the federal-sector provisions of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

CBOCS West, Inc. v. Humphries
In the first case, a Cracker Barrel assistant manager sued the employer for discrimination and retaliation under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, a post-Civil War era law that prohibits race discrimination in the making and enforcement of contracts. The employee’s retaliation claim was based on retaliatory actions he allegedly suffered after complaining that another employee had been subjected to race discrimination.

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Categories: U.S. Supreme Court

High Court Defines ‘Charge’ in Age Discrimination

February 27, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on the definition of a “charge” of age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

Under the ADEA, an employee is required to file a “charge” with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before the dispute is escalated to court. But the term “charge” is not defined in the ADEA. Thus, the circuits have adopted various definitions, leading to extraordinary difficulty in determining when employees are entitled to file ADEA claims in court.

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Categories: U.S. Supreme Court

Proposed FMLA Regs Shed Light on New Leave Requirements for Military Families

February 27, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Update: New FMLA regs issued by DOL on November 14, 2008

When Congress amended the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to grant additional leave entitlements to certain employees with family members in the military, its heart was in the right place. After all, who can argue against that type of leave?

Unfortunately for employers, Congress didn’t seem to think things through very carefully in drafting the legislation. First, by leaving out an effective date, it ensured that the legislation would — for the most part — be effective immediately. Then, by leaving a lot of the law’s specific requirements up to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to interpret and even decide, Congress ensured that there would be a gap of at least several months between the law’s effective date and the DOL’s issuance of regulations.

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Categories: FMLA

Supreme Court Rules on ‘Me Too’ Evidence

February 26, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Supreme Court has completed its review of a key Kansas age discrimination case, settling a split between federal courts on the admissibility of “me too” evidence.

“Me too” evidence is testimony by non-parties that alleges discrimination at the hands of persons who played no part in the challenged employment decision. In the present case, Ellen Mendelsohn, a 51-year-old unit manager with Sprint, alleged that the company fired her because of her age during a companywide reduction in force.

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Categories: Kansas / U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court Expands ERISA Remedies

February 21, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

In a case that could have far-reaching consequences for employers and employees alike, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday, February 20, 2008, that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) allows an employee to sue his employer because of a fiduciary breach that resulted in individual losses to his 401(k) plan.

James LaRue says he told his employer to change his investment allocations from mutual funds to cash and didn’t find out for 10 months that it didn’t follow his instructions. LaRue says that when he repeated his request, the employer again failed to do so. The result, according to LaRue, was that his plan assets were depleted by $150,000. He sued his employer under ERISA in an attempt to recover his losses.

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Categories: U.S. Supreme Court

DOL Issues Long-Awaited Proposed FMLA Regs

February 12, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

After many years of promising changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) last week issued new proposed regulations in an attempt to address some of the most common criticisms employers have about the previously issued final FMLA regulations. (You can view the proposed regulations at www.HRhero.com/fmla_update.pdf.)

(Updated Nov. 4, 2008 -  Proposed changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations were recently submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for final review. The new regulations could be included in the Federal Register before the end of November.)

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Categories: FMLA

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