Why Do You Need a Handbook Disclaimer and What Should Be In It Anyway?

If you’re like most employers right now, you’re in the process of reviewing your Employee Handbook to see if it needs to be updated. A recent Alabama state court decision offers valuable lessons to all employers with employee handbooks (not just those in Alabama) on the importance of a properly drafted handbook disclaimer. Now, in…

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OSHA Increasing Fines Through Major Changes in Enforcement Policies

In light of the decision by the previous, marginally Democratic Congress not to increase OSHA fines beyond inflation adjustments and the shift to a Republican House, it appears the Biden Administration has decided it will increase deterrence against OSHA violations by implementing penalty increases through two changes in its enforcement policies. One January 26, 2023…

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How to Minimize Your Risk in an Offer Letter

You have found the best candidate for the job you’re filling, and your offer is accepted, but sometimes unpredictable things happen. For example: What if you need to rescind an offer of employment? What if a candidate starts before their background check is complete and they don’t meet the requirements of the job when the…

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How to Navigate a Reduction in Force

Over the course of your business life, there may come a time when you are faced with the difficult but necessary decision to lay off some employees as part of a reduction in force or other restructuring initiative at one or more of your locations. There are a wide array of laws that may impact…

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OSHA Continues to Address Staffing Shortage

In 2022, the Occupational, Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) added 142 inspectors to its ranks, as part of an effort to reverse a downtrend in agency manpower brought on principally by retirements. The Biden administration’s announced goal is to nearly double the number of inspectors by 2024. According to a November 2022 Department of Labor…

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The EEOC Proposes Detailed New Enforcement Priorities For 2023-2027

On Tuesday, January 10, the EEOC released for public comment its draft 2023-2027 Strategic Enforcement Plan, or “SEP” (available here)—a document that will guide the Commission’s enforcement priorities for the next five years. The EEOC’s previously announced Strategic Plan described “how” it would pursue its enforcement goals. The Strategic Enforcement Plan, on the other hand,…

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Contractor Agreements Subject to Federal/State Law Prohibitions on Confidentiality and Nondisparagement

In yet another example of laws blurring the distinction between employees and independent contractors, organizations need to beware that the prohibitions on confidentiality and nondisparagement agreements embodied in the federal Speak Out Act and various state laws often are equally applicable to independent contractor agreements. The motive behind these prohibitions is driven by the egregiousness…

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Employers, Don’t Forget About the Flu!

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers did not have flu-specific policies and procedures (healthcare employers being one significant exception). However, seasonal flu can be a serious and dangerous illness, and employers should not treat it lightly. Many of the lessons we collectively learned from COVID-19 are equally applicable to the flu. And employers should…

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Retaliation Mistake Leads to a Costly Payout

Race discrimination is bad enough, but an Oklahoma-based company recently learned the hard way that adding a retaliation mistake on top of that can lead to hefty settlements. American Piping Inspection, Inc. has agreed to pay $250,000 to settle a race-based discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the EEOC on behalf of a Black employee…

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