HR News & Trends

Benefits, HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

For the First Time, EEOC Directly Challenges a Workplace Wellness Program

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By Russell D. Chapman

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed its first lawsuit directly challenging the operation of a wellness program.

In EEOC v. Orion Energy Systems, the EEOC alleged that the employer imposed a wellness program on its employees in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

According to the complaint filed Aug. 20, 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the EEOC claims that the defendant, Orion Energy Systems, administered a wellness program in which employees were asked to complete a health risk assessment, which included questions regarding medical history and blood work. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Unpaid Intern Group Certified by Court For Collective Action

Intern

By John E. Thompson

After more than a year of litigation (the filing which we reported here), former unpaid Gawker Media interns will be permitted to send notices to other unpaid or allegedly underpaid interns to inform those potential plaintiffs of the lawsuit and of the opportunity to join the proceedings.

The judge did not rule that the former interns’ claims under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act are valid. Instead, she decided that the evidence presented to date suggests that other potential plaintiffs are “similarly situated” for FLSA collective-action purposes. Read more…

HR News & Trends

HR Firms Are Moving Up on Fastest Growing Companies List

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Human resources firms are among the top revenue-producing sectors on this year’s Inc. 5,000 list of the 5,000 fastest growing private companies in the U.S.

With an aggregate 2013 revenue of $12.13 billion, the 199 self-identified human resource firms cumulatively ranked sixth among the 25 business sectors on the Inc. list.

The group includes HR services firms such as Trinet, the largest company to make the list with reported revenue of $1.6 billion. Its 81 percent growth over three years ranked it 3,821 on the Inc. 5000 list. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Title VII Prohibits Retaliation Based on Good Faith Claim of Harassment

no-harassment

By Eric  B. Meyer

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on a number of protected classes. Sexual orientation isn’t one of those protected classes specifically listed in the statute.

So, if an employee complains about sexual-orientation harassment and is later fired because she complained, then that won’t create a claim under Title VII. Or does it?

In Bennefield v. Mid-Valley Healthcare, Inc., an employee allegedly complained to her supervisor that a co-worker was creating a hostile work environment by, among other things, calling the employee a “disgusting lesbian” and a “stupid lesbian.” Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

California Repeals 60-Day Waiting Period on Health Insurance

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By Sara Richland

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a “waiting period” is defined as the period that must pass before coverage for an individual who is otherwise eligible to enroll under the terms of a group health plan can become effective.

The ACA prohibits group health plans and group health insurance issuers from imposing a waiting period that exceeds 90 days after an employee is otherwise eligible for health coverage.

Generally, an individual is “eligible” to enroll in a health plan if he or she has met the plan’s substantive eligibility conditions, such as being in an eligible job classification, earning a certain level of commission, or satisfying a reasonable and bona fide employment-based orientation period. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Can You Fire Someone Who Discloses a Disability at a Termination Meeting?

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By Eric B. Meyer

File this under: Duh!

Let’s assume that you have an employee who commits a terminable offense. For example, in Martins v. Rhode Island Hospital, surveillance cameras and the Hospital’s employee ID swipe system suggested that Martins left work for approximately four hours and, later, he could not account for his whereabouts.

So, you schedule a termination meeting, which is exactly what the Hospital did with Martins. However, at the meeting, Martins told the Hospital that he suffers from bipolar disorder. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Leadership

Leadership Challenges: It’s All About Critical Skills — and Gender Diversity

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Development Dimensions International (DDI) and The Conference Board have recently released a report titled Global Leadership Forecast 2014|2015.

This report, the seventh of its kind published by DDI, includes survey responses from 13,124 leaders, 1,528 global human resource executives, and 2,031 participating organizations.

The volume of respondents allowed DDI to look at findings from a variety of perspectives – multi-national vs. local corporations, spans four leadership levels and leaders/HR professionals of different genders, ages, 48 countries, and 32 major industry categories. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Recruiting and Staffing

City of Austin Shows the Wrong Way to Handle “Ban the Box”

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Question: What do you get when you combine “ban the box” compliance with utterly idiotic hiring practices? (I know I’m supposed to be diplomatic but no can do in this instance.)

Answer: Ask the city of Austin, Texas, who hired a six-time convict to work in their public library — and who just plead guilty to attempted indecency with a child.

Before we dig into the details, let me show you the resume (see: rap sheet) of said employee, Joe Heath, brought with him to the Austin Public library where he would come in regular contact with the public, including children. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Recruiting and Staffing

New Jersey Governor Vetoes Bill Protecting Unemployed Job Hunters

unemployment discrimination

By Eric B. Meyer

A bill that would have made it illegal for New Jersey companies to refuse to hire a job candidate because of his/her employment status is dead for now.

Last week, New Jersey banned the box.

However, Bob Jordan over at the Cherry Hill Courier-Post reports here that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has put the kibosh on a bill that would essentially make “unemployment” a protected class, like race, religion, national origin and others protected under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Leadership

The Legacy of Warren Bennis: Good Leadership Changes Over Time

Bennis

By Howard Mavity

I love reading The Economist and they justified my appreciation with an Aug. 9 obituary on Warren Bennis, who they rightly described as “the world’s most important thinker on the subject that business leaders care about more than any other: themselves.”

I cannot do a better job than this article in describing this thoughtful and ethical man’s contributions to business theory, to leadership, and to the question of “what things matter the most?”

Is there any quality more wanting in business and government today than effective leadership? Whether I write about safety, legal compliance, avoiding discrimination claims or developing a successful workplace culture, I come back to the need for real leadership. Read more…