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  • Writing an Employee Termination Letter

    Writing an Employee Termination Letter: How Much to Include? Q&A

    Find out the pros and cons of putting your termination reasons in a written employee termination letter.

    Q: We want to provide employees who are terminated with a brief employee termination letter explaining our reasoning and informing them about administrative issues like COBRA and returning office keys. How much detail should be included about the reason for termination?

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  • FLSA Administrative Exemption

    Complying with the FLSA Administrative Exemption Q&A

    Are you in compliance with the FLSA administrative exemption regulations? Find out if your administrative assistants meet these very specific criteria.

    Q: We have an employee whose title is administrative assistant to the CEO. She is essential to the CEO and often works more than 40 hours a week. She is paid overtime as a nonexempt employee, but we are wondering if her job duties meet the criteria for the administrative exemption. What are the criteria?
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  • Bona Fide Occupational Qualification Standards

    BFOQ Defined: Can You Exclude Women from Certain Jobs?

    Can you claim a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) to exclude women from jobs that require heavy lifting or impose safety risks? In most cases, the answer is “probably not,” unless you want to face a law suit for discrimination against hiring women.
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  • Designation of FMLA Leave

    Make Medical Certifications Part of Your FMLA Process (Part 2 of 2)

    Medical certifications can help you determine whether FMLA leave is really needed and ensure that employee rights under FMLA leave are understood and their obligations met under the law.
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  • FMLA Guidelines for Employers

    Make Medical Certifications Part of Your FMLA Process (Part 1 of 2)

    If you do not require employees to provide medical certification for FMLA leaves involving serious health conditions, you are missing out on an essential tool to ensure leaves are used properly.

    Are you like the majority of human resource professionals who have trouble determining when an employee has a serious health condition under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? A recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that almost 60 percent of the survey respondents indicated they had trouble determining whether an employee’s illness met the FMLA’s definition of a “serious health condition.” In addition, 39 percent felt they had granted FMLA requests that may not have been legitimate.
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  • Employee Use of Medical Marijuana

    The Dope on Medical Marijuana for Employers

    Employee use of medical marijuana is one of the hot employer topics of the decade. As more states legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes, more employers will have to decide how they will deal with employee drug use on and off the clock. As of 2007, it was estimated that 300,000 people in the United States were medical marijuana users (estimates based on data from Americans for Safe Access). And the numbers are growing.
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  • Federal Labor Laws on Unpaid Internships

    Summertime Blues: When Unpaid Internships Turn Into Wage Claims

    Pop Quiz! If you are a “for-profit” employer with unpaid employees called “Summer Interns,” you better make sure the internship passes muster with the Department of Labor lest you be the unwary object of claims for unpaid wages and overtime. Get your No. 2 pencils out for this internship pop quiz:
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  • HR Policies on Hiring Interns

    DOL to Give Intern Pay Practices Closer Look Q&A

    If you are hiring interns to work for you this summer, be aware that the DOL may be scrutinizing your pay practices. So, be sure you either pay them as employees or are able to prove that they meet the criteria for unpaid interns.
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  • Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act

    Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act Tax Incentives to Spur Job Growth

    On March 18, 2010, President Obama signed into law a $17.5 billion dollar jobs bill entitled the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act. This bill includes a number of government incentives for hiring, including tax cuts, business credits and subsidies for state and local construction bonds, and moves an additional $20 billion into the highway trust fund for new spending on highway and transit programs. The HIRE Act is aimed at providing hiring incentives for employers to restore some of the jobs lost during “the great recession.”
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  • Unpaid Overtime Information

    Five More Overtime Questions (Part 2 of 2)

    Eighty-eight percent of the employee back wages collected by the Department of Labor for wage and hour violations in Fiscal Year 2008 involved overtime issues. Make sure that you know when you have to pay overtime and what penalties you could face if you do not.
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  • Overtime Pay Regulations

    Top Ten Overtime Pay Questions (Part 1 of 2)

    If you have fewer employees doing more work, you need to be sure you are paying them any overtime that is due. If you do not pay overtime properly, you could be exposed to wage claims and penalties.
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  • Smoking in the Workplace

    Does Your Workplace Smoking Policy Cover All the Bases?

    If you could cut your break times and maybe even your health insurance rates by refusing to hire smokers, would you? While the idea is intriguing, these kinds of policies to stop smoking in the workplace may be illegal in so-called “smokers’ rights states.” Further, there are three practical reasons these preferences for hiring nonsmokers may not be such a great idea.

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  • Framing Discrimination Claims

    EEOC Claim Statistics: Actions Necessary for Preventing Employment Discrimination Claims

    The EEOC recently reported that it recovered a record high of $294 million on behalf of employee claimants in FY 2009. How can you prevent becoming a target of an employment discrimination claim? Find out the six steps you can take. Your hint: The first tip involves training.

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  • Absences for Exempt Workers

    Exempt Employees and Partial Day Absences

    One issue that comes up continually for employers is how to deal with exempt employees who take time off in less than full day increments.  The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations make it clear that employers generally cannot dock their exempt employees pay for absences of less than a day without jeopardizing the exemption.

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  • Taking Care with Layoff Laws

    Employee Termination ChecklistFiring Employees: A Lawyer’s Advice

    The world of human resources has officially arrived to mainstream media. In his recent blockbuster movie, George Clooney tackles the death-defying world of human resources and employee terminations. His character racks up tens of thousands of frequent flyer miles travelling to distant lands to be a “hired gun” and terminate employees on behalf of their employers. As the movie suggests, terminating an employee is a very sensitive task. Poorly-handled employee terminations are more likely to breed lawsuits by the former employee, discontent among the remaining employees, and myriad unexpected legal issues. As an employment lawyer, I see the good, the bad, and the absurd when it comes to employee terminations. The stories you are about to read are true (sanitized to protect the innocent) and the lesson drawn from the story worth its weight in saved litigation costs.

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  • COBRA Premium Reduction Subsidy

    Cobra Premium Reduction SubsidyA Summary of the COBRA Premium Reduction Provisions Under ARRA

    The period to sign up for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) subsidy that provides terminated employees and their beneficiaries with a 65 percent COBRA premium reduction in health continuation insurance costs has been extended through February 28, 2010. In addition, the subsidy period has been extended from 9 months to 15 months of the COBRA 18-month entitlement period.

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  • HR Guide to Holiday Parties

    HR Guide to Holiday Parties 9 Tips to Limit Holiday Office Party Legal Exposure

    ‘Tis the season for holiday parties and the spreading of good cheer in the workplace. Unfortunately, though, too much cheer can cause liability. If your plans include serving alcohol at holiday parties or even sponsoring department “happy hours” at a local pub, your organization could be at risk for legal liability if a drunken employee harms himself or others.

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  • Laws for Employee Breaks

    Laws for Employee Breaks Employee Work Breaks: Legal Issues and Worker Needs

    Surprisingly, federal law does not require employers to provide employee work breaks. Still, you should consider providing them. In addition to giving employees a necessary break from workday chores, they may also be required as accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or to satisfy state requirements.

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  • Temporary Employee Laws

    Temporary Employee Laws Legal Smarts: Hiring Temporary Employees

    The holidays are coming up, which can mean hiring temporary workers in retail and other industries. Do you know how to protect yourself against claims of unfair pay, benefits requests payments, and other temporary employee legal issues? Temporary employee laws abound so it’s important that you’re well informed. Here are some of the A-B-C’s of law relating to temporary employees that will help keep your company off of Santa’s “naughty” list this season.

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  • Employers and the National Labor Relations Act

    Employers and the National Labor Relations Act Does the National Labor Relations Act Impact Non-Union Employers?


    How are employers affected by the NLRA? For most non-union employers, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA or Act) is probably not the federal statute that has been at the top of their watch list in recent years. With union membership at a historical low point, employers in the US concern themselves with other state and federal laws that impact their HR policies and HR practices more so than the NLRA.

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