FMLA definitions

January 22nd, 2018

FMLA coverage for employers

As with other employment-related statutes, the FMLA applies only to certain employers. Under the FMLA, an "employer" is:

  • any person engaged in commerce or in any industry affecting commerce who employs 50 or more employees for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year, including:
    • any successor in interest of an employer
    • any person who acts, directly or indirectly, in the interest of an employer to any of the employer’s employees (NOTE: Several courts have concluded that supervisors can be held individually liable under this provision of the FMLA.)
  • any public agency.

The following entities are also covered by the FMLA:

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Unemployed or wear a bra – are those the only choices?

January 19th, 2018

So, the choices are wear a bra or be unemployed? Karla Miller, in her Washington Post "Workplace Advice" column, says you can define what is workplace appropriate.

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What "government shutdown" means for employers

January 18th, 2018

If Congress cannot approve a budget by this Friday at midnight, the federal government will shut down. What will this mean for employers across the country? A look back at the most recent government shutdown will provide lessons on what you can expect.

Spoiler alert: it probably means more than you think it does, especially for small businesses.

Spoiler alert spoiler alert: small businesses "now is the time to enact any emergency plan you created to deal with a possible interruption of business".

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An intern by any other name

January 16th, 2018

. . . is an employee who works for free. How do you tell the difference? Our authors at Polsinelli have the NEW list of 7 factors.

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 “M,” “F,” Or “X”? Nonbinary Gender Designations in the Workplace

January 16th, 2018

You are probably familiar with the concept of transgender status and, even if you haven’t already addressed such a situation at your workplace, you probably have a rough idea of how you would handle a situation involving an employee in transition. It’s time now for you to ready yourself for the next step in the 21st-century gender revolution and prepare for the day when one of your employees informs you they would prefer to be treated as “nonbinary” – that is, neither male nor female. What do you need to know about this developing issue?

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How to treat fringe benefits for employees

January 10th, 2018

This chapter provides an overview of some fringe benefits that are not among the benefits that can trigger coverage under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and are not discussed elsewhere in this book. Generally, a fringe benefit is a form of non-cash compensation paid to an employee. Fringe benefits provided to employees are taxable unless there is a specifically applicable income tax exclusion. If taxable, the fringe benefits discussed are wages reportable on Form W-2 and are subject to withholding.

The following sections describe some of the more common excludable fringe benefits that might be provided by the typical employer. The list is not exhaustive. Among other things, benefits that could be offered only by employers engaged in a particular line of business (such as reduced tuition for dependents of college and university faculty members) have been omitted.

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Attendance policies

January 10th, 2018

Needless to say, a company can’t operate (let alone succeed) if the employees aren’t showing up to work. But how do you ensure that your workforce will consistently report for duty? One good step is having a clear attendance policy. Communicating clearly about what are acceptable reasons to miss work, how these requests should be made, and what does not qualify as an excusable absence can prevent a lot of confusion and make employees more accountable. The key to communicating these guidelines is a well-written and enforced “No-Fault Attendance” policy. This kind of policy may even boost employee morale by minimizing resentment on the part of some employees toward coworkers who suffer no consequences for being chronically absent.

Here is a deeper look at what such a policy should cover.

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Bring your own gun

January 10th, 2018

In this topsy turvy world we are living in, employee safety is top of mind for employers. But what do you do when one employee’s safety precautions make other employees feel unsafe? Do firearms have a place in the modern day work place? What has this world become? 

Click here to read more from SHRM. 

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Social media

January 10th, 2018

For purposes of this chapter, social media includes all electronic social networking sites through which applicants and employees may congregate, such as Facebook, Twitter, various blog-hosting sites, and LinkedIn.  While there are hundreds, if not thousands, of such sites, the law regarding the use of social media in employment is still in its infancy.  As there have been very few reported court cases regarding it, this chapter is limited to discussing potential issues that may arise in using social media in employment decisions, rather than providing definitive answers regarding such usage.

Generally, it is easiest to think about the employment issues regarding social media in two timeframes

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Hiring interviews

January 10th, 2018

The employment interview is the most used and often the least valid selection device used by management.  Too often interviewers are ill prepared and may be influenced by irrelevant personality factors to determine who is best for the job.  That is why we suggest having more than one person interview each of the candidates.  Of course, each interviewer should be trained on the “hows” of conducting an interview.

Preparing for an interview
When interviewing candidates, it is helpful to remember the following four points:

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Employee contracts

January 10th, 2018

In most states, employment is presumed to be “at-will.”  This means employees can be discharged and can resign at any time, with or without cause or notice.  Such discharge or resignation usually does not give the employee the right to sue unless the employee can establish that an exception to the general at-will rule applies.  The most commonly recognized exceptions to at-will employment include:

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Arizona sick day policy

January 10th, 2018

Beginning on July 1, 2017, under Arizona law, all employees earn 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.  If a company has 15 or more employees, employees accrue and use up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year.  If a company has fewer than 15 employees, employees accrue and may use up to 24 hours of paid sick leave per year.  Exempt employees are presumed to work 40 hours per week (unless their actual schedule is fewer hours, then their actual schedule can be used).  Unused sick leave rolls over from year to year unless the employer pays for the unused leave. 

In lieu of an hourly accrual, an employer may give employees all of their sick leave hours up front at the beginning of the year.  Additionally, . . .

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FMLA - "leave" as in "leave the employee alone"

January 10th, 2018

FMLA contains "leave", as in "the employee isn't at work" but also as in "leave the employee alone or else". See what the boundaries are to avoid the "or else" from one of our authors @Ogletree Deakins.

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Holidays

January 10th, 2018

The summer can bring up several employment issues, including discipline and dress code violations, but one of the biggest issues is just getting employees to show up! With holidays and vacations, warmer summer months often result in lower attendance, which can translate to a loss in productivity. Time off requests also pose a lot of administrative problems, and employers should be sure to enforce a clear policy to ensure fairness. 

The following sample policy can help you get started.

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Bullying in the workplace

January 10th, 2018

A few years ago if you heard the word bullying, images of playgrounds and principals' offices might come to mind. It's true that many people felt that bullying only applied to children, but in recent years we've acknowledged the truth of the situation: adults can be bullied – and bullies – too. A 2010 survey showed that over 35% of adults admit to being bullied and another 15% admit to witnessing bullying. With these numbers on the rise, employers need to learn to identify and prevent bullying in the workplace, as it can lead to some very serious problems. Here are some questions you need answers to and a sample bullying policy:

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