Employment Policies

News & Analysis as of

New Oregon Law Mandates Sick Leave Policy for Most Employers - Oregon Enacts Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Effective Jan. 1, 2016

On June 23, 2015, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed into law Senate Bill 454, which mandates statewide mandatory paid or unpaid sick leave for virtually all Oregon workers. Oregon joins California, Connecticut and Massachusetts...more

Twitter Terrorism: Criminals Choose the Hack Attack

In what appears to be yet another brazen demonstration of capability following an earlier hijack of government social media sites, a group calling itself the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) recently hacked into the U.S. Army’s...more

Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law Takes Effect July 1 Attorney General Issues Final, Relatively Employer-Friendly Regulations

As we reported in a previous alert, the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law takes effect on July 1, 2015, with significant consequences for most employers with Massachusetts-based employees. In summary, the new law entitles...more

New CT Law Bars “Pay Secrecy”

On July 2, 2015, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed into law Public Act No. 15-196, entitled An Act Concerning Pay Equity and Fairness.  The new law is intended to end pay secrecy, and specifically bars employers...more

If Your Baristas Can Show Off Their Tattoos, Will Your Employees Be Next?

Coffee giant Starbucks recently announced a major change to its dress and appearance policy, allowing baristas to visibly display tattoos for the first time in the company’s 44-year history. The company decided that employee...more

EEOC’s Revised Pregnancy Guidance: Now, Just Barely More Flexible!

Last Thursday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued its amended guidance on pregnancy discrimination and accommodation in light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Young v. UPS, issued in March 2015. The...more

Changes Affecting Employers’ CFRA Policies and Procedures Begin Today

On July 1, 2015, the recent amendments to the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) regulations go into effect. Employers who are covered by the CFRA should be aware of these changes as they will impact how they handle family...more

A “Hotbox” Of Legal Issues: California’s Workplace Marijuana Laws

With New York joining in last year, nearly half the country has laws permitting state residents to use marijuana for medical purposes, and a handful even permit recreational use. California led the movement when it passed the...more

The People Have Spoken, and It’s Time to Start Smokin’. . . Or Just Say No

It’s July 1, 2015, and Oregon law now allows adults to lawfully use marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes. Many employers have already faced questions from employees about the impact of the state’s new...more

Is An Unlimited Vacation Policy Right For Your Workplace?

According to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, about 3% of companies in the U.S. maintain some form of unlimited vacation policy. The reasons for adopting such a policy are easy to see: they offer...more

Arbitrator Strikes Down Employer’s Total Ban On Smoking During Shift

Starting in January 2015, the employer – which manufactured wire and cable products – banned smoking anywhere on company property, including outside of the plant. Employees were also prohibited from leaving company property...more

Supreme Court’s Marriage Decision Should Prompt Employers’ Review of All Employment Policies

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. … Their...more

What the Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Means to Employers

The Supreme Court ruled today that state laws banning same sex marriage are unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. While this holding does not directly implicate employers or their...more

Colorado Medical Marijuana Case is Not as Far-Reaching as Expected

On June 15, 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court issued its highly anticipated decision in Coats v. Dish Network. In a unanimous decision, the court in Coats upheld the termination of an employee who failed a random drug test...more

Model Massachusetts Earned Sick Leave Policy

On July 1, 2015 the Massachusetts earned sick leave law1 goes into effect. The law requires employers to give their Massachusetts employees the chance to earn and use sick leave each year. We recommend the following sick...more

A Cautionary FMLA Tale: “Let Them Fix It Before Firing” Must Employees Now Be Allowed to Cure Deficient Medical Certifications?

Compliance with the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) is a daily challenge for employers, as more and more employees seem to take advantage of the right to full and intermittent leave. I often see clients jump to hasty...more

Recent Colorado Supreme Court Decision on Medical Marijuana Highlights Risks Facing Employers in Connecticut Who Seek to Enforce...

As many of our clients know, we frequently train and counsel employers on the implications of Connecticut’s medical marijuana law in the workplace. Although medical marijuana use remains illegal under federal law,...more

Medical Marijuana Still “Unlawful”

The Colorado Supreme Court considered whether a state law prohibiting discrimination based on an employee’s “lawful” off-work activities applies to the employee’s use of medical marijuana as permitted under state law. Coats...more

Thanks a LOT, Mr. President!

As you know, I strongly disapprove of use of the “N” word in the workplace. I don’t think African-Americans should say it, and I really, really don’t think people who aren’t African-American should use it....more

NLRB General Counsel sets sights on common employer policies

Creation of sound and legally compliant employee handbook policies has been something of a moving target in recent years because of the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) continual review and interpretation of employee...more

Massachusetts Attorney General Issues Final Sick Leave Regulations

Effective July 1, 2015, all private-sector employers in Massachusetts must provide their employees with up to 40 hours of sick leave per calendar year. Earlier this year, the Massachusetts Attorney General published proposed...more

When is enough, enough? Managing difficult employees in the human rights context

Not surprisingly, employers seek to hire individuals who will perform the duties of their job diligently, honestly and faithfully. Unfortunately, instances can occur where employers find themselves facing an unmotivated...more

Connecticut Extends Workplace Harassment and Discrimination Protections to Unpaid Interns

On June 22, 2015, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed into law a new statute that extends workplace harassment, discrimination and retaliation protection to unpaid interns. Historically, it was unclear whether an...more

Infographic: Whistleblowing Laws - A snapshot of whistleblowing laws around the world

For every business there is a risk that corruption or inadequate systems will lead to dangerous or criminal behavior. Often employees are the first to suspect something is wrong, and employers need to manage the potential for...more

6 Ways for Car Dealers to Avoid a $540,000 Sexual Harassment Jury Verdict

Many dealers took notice of the recent sexual harassment jury verdict against a Massachusetts Lexus dealer, in which a jury awarded $500,000 in punitive damages against the dealership although it awarded only $40,000 in...more

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