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

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

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