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The Practical Employer

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Helping employers navigate the complicated and ever-changing world of employment and labor laws, rules, and regulations, rationally and pragmatically.

Who's the 'Knucklehead'? Employee Loses Retaliation Claim After Slurring Co-Worker

March 6, 2013
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Exercising control to dole out legitimate discipline is not retaliation or discrimination. It's sound management of your people. Provided the punishment fits the crime, and provided the punishment is consistent with your past practices, you can discipline without fear of retribution.
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Beware Saying too Much When Engaging in Pre-Suit Settlement Negotiations

March 5, 2013
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If you have to discuss the merits of the case with the employee's lawyer, either do so over the phone or only put in writing what you live with a judge or jury considering.
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Is an Employer Obligated to Provide Light Duty to an Employee Returning From FMLA Leave?

March 4, 2013
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Before denying light duty to an employee returning from FMLA leave, you must consider whether the ADA requires the light duty as a reasonable accommodation. If you have light duty available, and do not have to create a light duty position to accommodate the employee, the ADA will likely require the consideration of temporary light duty as a reasonable accommodation.
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New FMLA Forms and Posters Coming Next Week

February 28, 2013
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The U.S. Department of Labor recently issued new FMLA regulations. The substance of these new regulations, which go into place March 8, relate to the FMLA's military leave provisions and airline flight crew personnel.
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How Long Is Too Long for an Unpaid Medical Leave of Absence? Not Two Weeks and a Day

February 27, 2013
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Think long and hard before you deny a request for unpaid time off for an employee's medical issue, and, when in doubt, call your employment counsel for a sanity check.
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Does Social Media Change the Meaning of Solicitation?

February 25, 2013
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By defining “solicitation” to include passive social media connections and activities, you are at least putting yourself into a position to have a court consider shutting down an ex-employee for maintaining online relationships.
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It's Your Last Chance … to Avoid Retaliation

February 22, 2013
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Agreements are wonderful tools to use with our employees. They come in all shapes and sizes. No matter the agreement, however, there is one clause that it cannot contain: a covenant by the employee waiving his or her right to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC.
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Customer Preference Does Not Protect Employers From Race Discrimination Claims

February 21, 2013
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If you find yourself in a position of having to face down a customer making such a request, take a stand. Tell the customer, “We don't treat our employees like that, and if you can't deal, we don't need your business.” Be the better corporate citizen. It's not just the legal way to act, it's the moral way to act.
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Of Storks and Honesty—Avoid Shifting Reasons When Defending an Employment Decision

February 20, 2013
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It's trite to say honesty is the best policy. But, when defending an employment case, honesty and consistency are essential. And, if you can't be honest because the honest reason is illegal, then maybe you should consider biting the bullet and settling.
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Obsessing (Compulsively) Over Reasonable Accommodations

February 19, 2013
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You need to have a dialogue with an employee about reasonable accommodations. Without opening the channels of communication, you will never know what is feasible. More importantly, without the dialogue, you probably have not satisfied your obligations under the ADA.
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