Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Legal News & Knowledge: December 2015 Newsletter

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'Tis the Season

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How to Show that You're Thankful for Your Employees

By Stephanie Hammerwold
 
In HR and management, it is easy to get caught up in corrective action and dealing with problem employees. There is tremendous power in positive feedback.

Full Article
 



Do You Hear What I Hear? Holiday Party Litigation

By Michelle Daum and Megan Walawender
 
Now that holiday season is upon us, companies everywhere are planning their holiday parties and get-togethers. These kinds of events are great for morale and employee team-building, but they can potentially result in some serious liability.

Full Article
 



Can an employee, injured at a company holiday party, pursue a workers' compensation claim?

By Bernard D. Nomberg, Esq.
 
Suppose an employee is injured while attending a company holiday party. Can the employee receive workers' compensation benefits such as medical benefits or compensation?

Full Article
 



Everything you want to know about employee holiday pay (but are afraid to ask)

By Jon Hyman
 
Yesterday I said that I'd be back next week, but then I checked the analytics for my site and noticed a huge spike for a post that digs deep into the archives: 8 things you need to know about holiday pay.

Full Article
 



Preparing Your Business for the New Year

By Mary Girsch-Bock
 
It's never too early to prepare for year end. Because year end is typically when new systems are implemented, new software purchased, or current work wrapped up, the sooner you can get a jump on these items the better.

Full Article
 


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Employment Law and HR

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The EEOC and wellness programs: The other shoe drops!
(But it's not that bad)

By Deborah Hembree, Brian Magargle, and Robin Shea
 
Recently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a proposed rule on employer wellness programs and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. The GINA proposal accompanies a proposed rule on employer wellness programs and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which the EEOC issued last spring.

Full Article
 



Is Telecommuting a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA?

By Rhianna A. Kittrell, Esq.
 
As most companies and businesses are aware, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to provide employees who are considered qualified individuals with disabilities with reasonable accommodations that allow those employees to perform the essential functions of the job, provided that the reasonable accommodation does not create an undue hardship for the employer.

Full Article
 



Evidence that all 14 employees laid off were over 55 supports age bias claims

By Marjorie Johnson, J.D.
 
A 61-year-old licensed engineer who was laid off in a RIF after 25 years on the job will have a jury decide whether his discharge was motivated by age bias and if the layoff had a disparate impact on older workers, a federal district court in Massachusetts ruled.

Full Article
 



Retaliation: Climbing the Charts or Not?

By Sarah L. Schreiber, Esq.
 
The number of charges filed in virtually all areas of discrimination, including retaliation, has increased dramatically over the past fifteen years.

Full Article
 



Employee Termination Upheld Due To Failure To Comply with Employer's Prescription Medication Policy

By Kathryn J. Russo
 
Approximately two months after his hire, Angel was selected for random drug testing and tested positive for Oxycodone . . . he argued that after the positive drug test result, he advised the company that he took Oxycodone for back pain.

Full Article
 


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Workers' Compensation

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Why Mental Health Matters in Work Comp

By Mark Walls
 
Mental health issues in injured workers can no longer be ignored. These conditions are increasingly being recognized as potential risk factors for prolonged work absences, and even for no return to work within the context of workers' compensation.

Full Article
 



States with Opt-Out Workers' Comp System are Strict on Injured Workers

By Hayes Jernigan
 
Under this system, employers can opt-out of state mandated workers' compensation insurance by creating their own policy for injured workers. These employer-written policies give employers 100% control over the terms, the benefits, and even settlements.

Full Article
 



Always, Always, Always Tell the Truth

By Bernard D. Nomberg
 
I cannot stress this enough. The cover-up typically gets you in much more hot water than the original problem you had to begin with. How many times have you told that to your children? Well, it applies in the workers' compensation world as well.

Full Article
 



Urine -- the money!

By Martin Klug
 
Another new cost driver now in comp is drug tests. Not many years ago most urine tests were performed by only a few labs. Doctors now have acquired their own testing equipment and perform many tests on their own.

Full Article
 



Effective Use of Predictive Analytics in Workers Compensation

By Michael B. Stack
 
The use of predictive analytics is the latest trend employed by workers' compensation claim management teams to reduce costs. By using this tool effectively, teams have seen a reduction in the costs of claims and percentage of claims with high complexity.

Full Article
 


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Real Estate and Property Management

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Regaining Possession of Residential Properties in Tenant Bankruptcies

By David L. Bury, Jr., Esq.
 
In this economy, even if it's no longer at its worst, residential landlords are finding themselves and their property tied-up in bankruptcy and subject to the Bankruptcy Code's special, and often confusing, treatment for leases.

Full Article
 



Remember These Things When Renting to Families With Children

By Jason Van Steenwyk
 
Children are prone to spill juice on carpets, draw on the walls with crayons and markers, and have all kinds of accidents that can result in minor property damage.
Can landlords refuse to rent to children? With a few exceptions that will be described shortly, the answer is no.

Full Article
 



The Rise of Renters: Housing in the Decade Ahead

By John Powell
 
There are now more Americans renting than at any other time in U.S. history. Over the last decade, the share of renter households in the U.S. has increased significantly as homeownership rates have fallen from 69.2 percent in 2004 to 63.4 percent in 2015, the lowest level since 1967 . . .

Full Article
 



Corporate Landlords Must Be Represented by Attorney in District Court

By Timothy H. Baland, Esq.
 
In a published decision issued on Monday, November 9, 2015, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that corporate landlords—including limited partnerships—must be represented by a licensed attorney in district court.

Full Article
 



6 Tips to Avoid Mold-Related Litigation

By Mark Di Vincenzo
 
The landmark Ballard toxic mold case . . . triggered dozens of copycat lawsuits filed against property management companies and insurance companies.
The defendants won some and lost some, but these lawsuits didn't become a massive, widespread problem for the multifamily industry, as public health officials and others predicted.

Full Article
 


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Legal Jargon

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Discovery vs. Privacy: Social Media in Litigation

By David P. Kennison, Esq.
 
The need to balance an individual's privacy with an adverse party's right to access relevant information is the inherent tension manifesting itself in the litigation process.

Full Article
 



What is the state of the legal blogosphere?

By Molly McDonough
 
In 2015, there's no longer a Legal Blog Watch at the National Law Journal. But law blogging appears to be flourishing.

Full Article
 



Traditional legal academic publishing to tumble?

By Kevin O'Keefe
 
In nothing short of a mutiny, the editorial staff of a major research journal, Lingua, has resigned en masse to protest Reed Elsevier (parent of LexisNexis) failing to embrace open access academic publishing.

Full Article
 



Is Egg Donation a Job?

By Cynthia E. Fruchtman, Esq.
 
Ms. Perez's written Egg Donation Contracts designated the sums she received as compensation for pain and suffering. Hence, Ms. Perez did not report the $20,000 she was paid on her 2009 tax return, even though she received Forms 1099 for those payments.

Full Article
 



What's Equivalent to a Handwriting Expert for E-Signatures?

By Sam Glover
 
Any debate over the validity of e-signatures is silly. Of course e-signatures are valid. You can agree to a contract with any clear manifestation of intent.

Full Article
 


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Staff Picks

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Employers and workers grapple with laws allowing marijuana use

By G. M. Filisko
 
"I think there's mass confusion," reports Lori Ecker, a Chicago lawyer who for 32 years has represented employees in workplace disputes and served as a neutral mediator and arbitrator. "The core problem is that marijuana continues to be a Schedule I drug according to federal drug law. That's the 800-pound gorilla in the room.

Full Article
 



3D-Printed 'Smart Cap' Uses Electronics to Sense Spoiled Food

By Ice Miller
 
University of California Berkeley engineers have printed a wireless "smart cap" for a milk carton, which was capable of detecting signs of spoilage using embedded sensors.

Full Article
 



"So, how much do you make?": The Trend Towards Sharing Wage Data

By Greg Northen
 
At a time when the cost of basic commodities like eggs and milk continues to rise, many Americans complain that salary increases remain stagnant.

Full Article
 



Have You Fired This Person Yet? You Should

By Team Edgar
 
Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you should.
Sometimes, you need some good old fashioned expertise on your side – the type of know-how that comes from training and practice in things outside your wheelhouse.

Full Article
 



The 3 biggest ACA requirements you still have to worry about

By Christian Schappel
 
Congratulations . . . you've survived the vast majority of the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) requirements. But your compliance headaches aren't over yet. What Obamacare regulations are still slated to kick in?

Full Article
 


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