Thursday, June 23, 2016

Now What? Drug Testing in the Wake of Medical Marijuana

by Elizabeth Crosby, Esq.

Earlier this month, Ohio legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes, fueling concerns over the extent to which Ohio employees are now legally permitted to report to work under the influence of marijuana. Ohio is now one of 25 states that permit the use of marijuana for pain management and treatment of various medical conditions. The law does not permit recreational use of marijuana and the law, as written, places significant restraints on how marijuana can be ingested for medical benefits.

Many of the details concerning how medical marijuana will be grown, packaged and distributed legally have yet to be determined. However, doctors can begin prescribing medical marijuana in September, at which time it will be legal for those patients to access medical marijuana in the states where it is currently legally available.

The law imposes certain important restrictions on how medical marijuana can be ingested and by whom. It remains illegal to smoke marijuana—even with a prescription.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

How to Regulate Employees' Off-Duty Conduct

by Sarah Briley, Esq.

With the increasing ubiquity of social media, information on the off-duty conduct of employees has never been more accessible to employers. As an employer, it is important to keep in mind that simple disagreement with an employee's off-duty conduct is not always sufficient to justify termination.

An employer should be able to show that the employee's off-duty conduct had some objective negative impact on the employee's ability to do his or her job.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Drug Testing Your Employees: Invasion of Privacy or Business Need?

by Michael Latimer, Esq.

Drug use by employees on and off the job has been a problem for employers for many years. Consequently, many employers now utilize some form of drug testing for employees and job applicants. Any type of employee drug testing obviously raises privacy concerns for the employee but the issue is particularly sensitive if the employer's policy requires random, unannounced or observed drug testing.

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Monday, December 21, 2015

You've Received a Discrimination Charge: Don't Throw It in the Trash!

by Dora Lane, Esq.

When asked about a discrimination charge sent to them months ago, a client once answered "I did not know what to do with it, so I threw it in the trash." Needless to say, that was a bad idea.

Unfortunately, many employers do not understand their obligations when faced with a discrimination charge and that can backfire if the charge is not informally resolved.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

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.

In 1997, 80,680 charges of discrimination were filed with the EEOC. In the EEOC's annual Performance and Accountability Report, released November 17, 2014, the Commission reported 88,778 charges of employment discrimination filed in fiscal year (FY) 2014, a decrease of approximately 5,000 charges from the 93,727 filed in 2013.

In 2013, over 31,400 of the charges asserted claims of retaliation. This represents approximately twice the number of charges for retaliation filed in 1997.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Conflict and Confusion Continue over Employee Wellness Programs

by Timothy Puin, Esq.

For every dollar a company spends on an employee wellness program—whether by offering free flu shots, a discounted salad bar, or T-shirts for tracking steps on a Fitbit device—the company may save as much as $4 in lost productivity and related costs. However, employers who get a little too enthusiastic in this regard about may find themselves on the wrong side of the laws protecting employee rights.

Employee wellness programs have come under renewed scrutiny by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) created new incentives for employers to maintain wellness programs as a way of controlling health care spending related to diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and tobacco use, in particular.

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Employee Absences Do Not Make the Heart Grow Fonder

by Emily Coody Marks, Esq.

Employee absenteeism is inevitable, so is excessive absenteeism. Dealing with this issue is particularly difficult for employers because it gives rise to many different considerations: application of employer policies, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) etc.

"But this is an at-will state", employers say; "I can fire an employee for any reason!" Not so.

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Putting Together the Puzzle on Off-Duty Emails and Overtime

by Jonathan T. Hyman, Esq.

Employers, I can see the writing on the wall, and it’s not looking good for your continued reliance on your non-exempt employees using their smartphones off-the-clock.

In the past few months, this issue has picked up a ton of momentum.

First, the Wall Street Journal ran an article entitled, "Can You Sue the Boss for Making You Answer Late-Night Email?"

Then, the Wage & Hour Litigation Blog reported that the Department of Labor’s Wage & Hour Division announced a request for information regarding "the use of technology, including portable electronic devices, by employees away from the workplace and outside of scheduled work hours outside of scheduled work outside of scheduled work hours."

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Employers: Gear Up for Changes in Treatment of Same-Sex Spouses After Supreme Court Ruling

by Adair M. Buckner, Esq.

The United States Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling Friday, June 26, 2015, in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that the U.S. Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. Read the Court's full opinion here.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that the 14th Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex, and that the U.S. Constitution does not permit states to bar same-sex couples from marriage. This ruling, coupled with the U. S. Supreme Court ruling in 2013 in United States v. Windsor, that the portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which denied recognition of marital status to couples of the same sex under federal law was unconstitutional, will mean broad changes in employment-related treatment of same-sex spouses.

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Dear Employer: Is Your Social Media Policy Legal?

by William J. Haynes, III

Social media is a fact of modern life. Billions of people across the globe use a variety of platforms such a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat to connect with family, friends and the world at large. Businesses have moved rapidly to capitalize on opportunities for growth in social media, but have also recognized the realities of social media in the everyday lives of their employees.

Recent studies indicate that most employers in the United States now have some form of social media policy and that employers are relaxing policies restricting social media use during business hours.

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