“Day Without a Gay” Nationwide Protest May Result in Work Shortage

December 09, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Some gay rights advocates are calling for “A Day Without a Gay” protest and boycott across the United States on Wednesday, December 10, to show opposition to California’s Proposition 8 and to show the power of the gay and lesbian community. Organizers are encouraging people to strike by “calling in gay” to work, taking the day off, or shutting down their business. Instead of working, they’re urging supporters to spend the day participating in volunteer activities. They’re also encouraging people not to buy anything or spend any money.

So what should you do if employees “call in gay” tomorrow? Can you tell them they’re fired if they don’t show up? You should think twice before doing that. Remember that many state laws, including California’s, prohibit employers from discriminating against employees because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or their association with a homosexual person. Thus, you need to treat employees who call in gay the same as all other employees. If you decide to enforce your attendance policy, make sure you do so in a fair and consistent manner, regardless of the employee’s sexual orientation (or other protected status).

Categories: California

FMLA virtual summit provides opportunity to speak with lawyers

December 08, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

On January 16, 2009, all employers covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) will have a new batch of regulations to contend with. To help HR professionals prepare, M. Lee Smith Publishers offered its first-ever, FMLA virtual summit — a day-long event during which participants could watch online, listen on the phone, and interact with employment law experts John B. Phillips Jr., Kara E. Shea, and Stacie L. Caraway, attorneys with the law firm Miller & Martin.

Caraway led the segment of the program on the new FMLA regs. A significant portion of her discussion was devoted to the new regulations granting protected leave for military family members.

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Categories: FMLA

Raises 2009 HR Hero Survey

December 05, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

It’s time for the annual HR Hero survey on raises and wages. This year in particular, many companies are having to take a hard look at their compensation packages and making tough decisions. What will your organization do? What will other organizations in your state or industry do?

Take the survey then check out the results in the Dec. 12 issue of HR Hero Line.

Categories: HR Hero Line

New FMLA regulations explained

November 24, 2008 - by: HR Hero 3 COMMENTS

A special issue of HR Hero Line, a free weekly e-zine from HR Hero and employment law attorneys who are part of the Employers Counsel Network, took an in-depth look at the new FMLA regulations that go into effect January 16 and what they mean to employers.

10 key changes in new FMLA regulations” by Susan M. Webman details 10 issues that the new Famuily and Medical Leave Act rules address, including substituting time off, employees’ waiver of FMLA rights, light duty work, and employee and employer notification requirements. Webman and her colleague David Fortney at the law firm of Fortney & Scott, LLC, and Rodney Satterwhite of the law firm McGuireWoods LLP will present a 90 minute audio conference on the new FMLA regulations and another audio conference on changes the new FMLA regs have made to intermittent leave.

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Categories: Federal Laws / FMLA

Holidays and the Workplace

November 21, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

At Thanksgiving time, we thought it would be good to take a look at some of the issues employers face during the holidays — drops in productivity, employees shopping online when they should be working, training seasonal workers, refereeing disagreements about holiday decorations, and, of course, navigating the office party. Lawsuits never take a holiday. Here’s an early gift for all you HR and business pros from HR Hero Line and some of the employment law attorneys in the Employers Counsel Network to keep the holiday at work merry.

Productivity got run over by a reindeer

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Categories: HR Hero Line

California Supreme Court to Look at Same-Sex Marriage

November 20, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Despite the passage of Proposition 8 earlier this month, the issue of same-sex marriage is still very much alive in California. The California Supreme Court announced yesterday that it will address the issues raised by the initiative at the request of advocates on both sides:

(1) Was Proposition 8 legally valid, or must it be stricken? The court agreed November 19 to review whether the measure illegally allows a majority to restrict a minority group’s rights and whether it unconstitutionally limits judicial authority.

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Categories: California

New FMLA Regulations Issued by DOL

November 14, 2008 - by: HR Hero 5 COMMENTS

Final regulations under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), were issued Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The new regulations allow employers more control over when employees can take leave. As expected, the new regulations cover the recently enacted leave benefits for family members of both seriously injured or ill service members and National Guard and Reserve members who have been called to service. These are the first significant revisions to the FMLA regulations since the law was enacted 15 years ago and will affect all employers subject to the FMLA.

Read the entire FMLA regs from the DOL

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Categories: Connecticut / Federal Laws / FMLA / Kansas

Election Day Brings Milwaukee Employees Sick Leave Benefits

November 14, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

While much of the focus on the recent election has been on the results of the presidential and federal and state legislative races, in Wisconsin, city of Milwaukee voters also passed a binding referendum creating an ordinance providing sick leave benefits for all employees working within the city. Effective immediately, the ordinance is being enforced by the city’s Equal Opportunity Commission.

The ordinance applies to all employers located within the geographic boundaries of the city of Milwaukee, except for the federal government and the “state of Wisconsin, including any office, department, agency, authority, institution, association, society or other body of the state, including the legislative and judiciary, or county or local government.”

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Categories: Wisconsin

Holidays 2008 Survey Results

November 14, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The results from this year’s HR Hero annual holidays survey are very similar to years past and it doesn’t appear that the number of holidays granted in 2009 will be different than in 2008 or previous years. The one difference is that July 4, 2009 will be on a Saturday. Because of that, many of respondents reported that your workplace will observe July 3 as a paid holiday.

You might be particularly interested in the answers to the last question in the survey — an open-ended question about how the economy might affect office holiday celebrations and annual bonuses. Some said that there would be no change. Some said that holiday parties would be scaled back or cancelled because of budget crunches. It appears that pot luck lunches at the office are going to be back in vogue. Several people also explained some creative ways that their organizations are cutting back while trying to do something for employees – such as giving the day after Christmas as a paid holiday in lieu of having an office party and gifts.

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Categories: HR Hero Line

Federal Contractors Required to Use E-Verify System

November 13, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Update: E-verify deadline moved to September 2009

Starting January 15, 2009, federal contractors and subcontractors will be required to begin using the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) E-Verify system to ensure their employees are eligible to work in the United States.

New E-Verify regulations (PDF)

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Categories: Federal Contractors

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