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Happy 25th Birthday ADA – Tips For Addressing Disability At Work

When my children were little, I was always grateful for the ADA and its requirements to make public buildings accessible. Automatic doors and ramps helped tremendously when pushing a stroller with one hand and holding a toddler with the other. At the end of July, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) celebrated its 25th anniversary. This is the perfect opportunity to refresh our knowledge of this legislation and what it means in the workplace. In the workplace, providing accommodation to disabled employees can seem like a difficult prospect. How much will it cost? How it is impact the business and …

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Do We REALLY Need To Talk About This In Summertime?

Need we really talk about employee misclassification during the summer? Last week, one of my swim team friends tells me the HR department at work wants to convert post-doctoral employees into independent contractors (IC) because it would be easier to administer. At the same time, the Department of Labor (DOL) issues new guidelines on the topic. Strange coincidence, or maybe not! To be sure, independent contractors offer a simpler, sometimes cheaper alternative to having employees. Ask my clients! They hire me as an independent contractor. I work for them on a specific project, say a supervisory training session. When the …

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Review Policies After Supreme Court Rule On Same-Sex Marriage

On June 26, the Supreme Court ruled on the Obergefell case that the Constitution’s 14th Amendment guarantees same-sex couples a fundamental right to marry and have their marriages legally recognized in all states. Although the state of Virginia has recognized same-sex marriage since October 2014, this may be a good opportunity for employers to review company policies and its impact on benefits now that same-sex marriage is the law of the land in all 50 states. This ruling affects all policies that involve employees’ spouses, including retirement benefits, health insurance, dependent care, FMLA and other family-related leave. Now, all benefits …

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Oh Boy! The Number Is Out and You won’t Like It.

If you were hoping to spend a quiet summer in the office, no such luck this year. Last week, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced its proposal for updating the overtime exemptions for white-collar employees including executives, administrative and professional employees. And employers are shocked by the new numbers. The most significant aspect of the DOL proposal increases the current salary threshold for exemption from $455 per week ($23,660 annually) to $970 per week ($50,440 annually).  In other words, under the new proposal employee paid less than $50,440 would be classified as non-exempt and become eligible for overtime pay.  The DOL …

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Summer Dress – Employees Don’t Know What To Wear

Summer Dress Code with Suzanne Douglas Today we are doing something a little different. I have a guest: Suzanne Douglas. I met Suzanne a few years ago at a Chamber of Commerce event. We quickly realized that we had both worked with Procter & Gamble in England in the 1990s. Suzanne was an advertising executive with Saatchi & Saatchi working on P&G brands and I was in HR in the same locations as those brand groups. It’s summer. It’s hot outside. And guess what? Your employees have no idea what to wear to the office. In a world of seemingly endless …

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What You Need To Know About the Update of the Exemption Status

In a post published in February, I wrote about the update of the White Collar exemption and what this might mean for employers. The Department Of Labor (DOL) recently sent its proposal to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The next step will be the period for public comments. Final implementation is likely to happen by the end of 2015. What are the likely changes to the White Collar exemption? One change is certain:  the DOL will increase the salary threshold required for exemption from overtime pay.  The question all employers ask me is “how much of an increase?”  …

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New NLRB Election Rules – What Employers Can Do to Remain Union-Free

In my previous post, I highlighted the changes in Union Election rules brought by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) effective since mid-April. The essence of these new rules is to 1) minimize delays to get to an election quickly and 2) facilitate the union’s ability to communicate with employees. Those two factors increase the chance of a successful unionization campaign. However, employers should be proactive with their employees. That’s the best way to prevent unionization efforts to ever reach your workforce. Tips for Employers Know your employees’ concerns and respond to them. By creating a positive work atmosphere where …

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New NLRB Election Rules Part 1

No Union? Pay Attention To New NLRB Election Rules New sectors of the economy are experiencing unionization pressures. Walmart employees, the home care industry and, more surprisingly, adjunct university professors are courted by unions.  The introduction by the NRLB of faster union election procedures has put the unionization back on the forefront of employers’ concerns. With the support of new elections rules, unions are back on the offensive. The essence of these new rules applicable since mid-April is to minimize delays to get to an election and facilitate the union’s ability to communicate with employees. There have been many studies concluding that the longer …

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Pregnancy in the Workplace – What “Young vs. UPS” Means for Employers

During our Lunch & Learn session at Schelsinger’s last week, we talked about the recent decision by the Supreme Court related of Young vs. UPS related to Pregnancy Discrimination. Smart employers know that it is in their best interest to accommodate valued employees, pregnant or not. And the US Senate seems to agree! Read on. The case – Peggy Young was a UPS driver. When she became pregnant after a series of miscarriages, her doctor imposed a restriction on how much she could lift. UPS decided that it could not continue to allow her to work unless she could lift …