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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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Prepare Yourself for the Risks When Hiring and Terminating Employees

by Karen A. Monsen, Esq.

Hiring and terminating employees are complex tasks, which are made more difficult by the alphabet soup of statutes affecting those tasks; ADEA, FCRA, FLSA, OWBPA, RIF, and WARN are just a few examples.

Common pitfalls during the hiring process involve asking unlawful questions during interviews, failing to disclose background checks, researching candidates using social media without proper safeguards, and mismanaging the employment eligibility process.

Termination, however, creates a higher likelihood of legal claims, and employers must remain mindful of best practices to avoid being sued.

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Monday, July 6, 2015

Neutral Policy Not Enough to Protect Against Religious Discrimination

by Robert W. Kline, Esq.

Failure to Hire

Plaintiff Samantha Elauf is a practicing Muslim who wore a black hijab (a headscarf traditionally worn by Muslim women) when she interviewed for a sales position at Abercrombie whose "Look Policy" prohibited sales associates from wearing black clothing or "caps."

Elauf received high marks in her interview. Although the assistant manager interviewing Elauf assumed that Elauf wore her hijab because she was Muslim, Elauf never mentioned her religion or requested a religious accommodation to exempt her from the Look Policy. Ultimately Abercrombie did not hire Elauf because her headscarf did not conform to its Look Policy.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Unintended Consequences of Progressive Discipline Policies

by Stephen S. Manning, Esq.

At-will employment is something that is almost too good to be true from the employer's perspective. The at-will doctrine essentially says that you can be fired or quit for any reason on no reason.

Are there exceptions to this doctrine? Yes. For example, you can't discriminate against a protected class and can't breach the terms of an employment contract. But, assuming that there are no applicable exceptions, the at-will doctrine is great for employers. If you have an employee not meeting productivity goals, or has a bad attitude, then the at-will doctrine allows you to fire this unproductive or sour employee.

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Could the New Legal Restrictions Actually Refocus and Improve Hiring?

by Gregory H. Andrews, Esq.

Employers face what many view as their toughest task when it comes to making hiring decisions. Some employers will err on the side of spending very little time and energy on this task, only to wonder why they have such high employee turnover.

Other employers will outsource the hiring task, never giving it another thought, only to wonder why the recruiter never sends any good candidates to them.

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Should Employers Ever Ask About Job Applicants' Criminal History?

by Carolyn Pratt, Esq.

The use of criminal background checks in hiring decisions has been one of the hottest employment law topics for several years running, so now is the perfect time to ask yourself:

Do I know what the law is in this area?

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Criminal Background Checks: What Employers Need to Know

by Mary Elizabeth Davis, Esq. and Elliot P. Fitzgerald, Esq.

Do you conduct background checks on job applicants or your employees? Take note! In a new joint publication, "Background Checks: What Employers Need to Know," the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provide useful tips on complying with federal discrimination laws and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

The publication reminds employers of the "dos and don'ts" to comply with the FCRA procedures when running a background check:

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Background Checks: To Check, or Not to Check?

By Julie Steed Kammer

Not too long ago an employer approached me with this question: "Can I get background checks on all of my employees? I need to weed out some of the crazy people we seem to be hiring."

While not an uncommon question, the answer is no, for several reasons. As a practical matter, background checks are not "sanity checks"--you can get some perfectly law-abiding citizens that pay their bills on time and are also perfectly nuts (non-clinically speaking), and conversely, some applicants who have been convicted of a crime or who may have a less-than-desirable credit score that are also entirely rational, responsible people.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Keeping Good Records: Performance Evaluations

by Trisha Gibo, Esq.

When you mention recordkeeping, most managers think of employee files: what needs to be kept in files, where they need to be kept, and who should have access to those documents. But recordkeeping is not merely keeping required paperwork for a personnel file. It is ensuring that the paperwork generated is beneficial for the day-to-day operations of a company.

Performance evaluations are one way that managers can create superior records. They serve as a communication tool to employees and assist companies with the management of employee performance. Performance evaluations also document performance issues and create legal support for adverse employment actions.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

5 Tips for High-Risk Terminations

by Kinsey A. O'Brien, Esq.

Terminating an employee is never enjoyable for an employer. It can be even more nerve-wracking and uncomfortable when you believe the employee might sue the company after being fired. In these "high-risk" situations, there are steps you can take to mitigate risk.

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