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Kevin Marrs

4/23/2014

As we approach summer, many teens will be looking for part-time jobs for the summer and possibly into the school year.  Unfortunately for some, they will be subject to harassment, sexual and otherwise.  In a survey of 518 workers age 13 to 18, nearly one-third of both the boys and the girls reported varying degrees of harassment, said Susan Fineran, a University of Maine professor.  It is an alarming trend.

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4/23/2014

UAW decides to stop fighting its loss in the VW union election in Tennessee: However, that cannot stop VW from voluntarily recognizing the UAW. A lot of observers think that is a possibility because VW would like to be able to establish a Works Council, as it has in all of its other plants globally, and, per U.S. labor law, it will need to have a union in order to do that.

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4/23/2014

The following are cases that were decided, or in process of being decided, before a court or agency (federal or state) that either affirmed an employee discipline or termination, or reversed it. In some cases, HR may be the cause of the lawsuit.

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4/23/2014

Private companies that do business with public companies now need to enhance their business ethics policies. Thanks to a U.S. Supreme Court decision last month, employees of those private companies are covered by the whistle-blower’s protections of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, commonly known as SOX.

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4/22/2014

Did you have the opportunity to watch any of Mary Barra’s testimony in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s oversight panel? I only saw snippets of it, but from what I saw I would not like to have been in her seat. As I listened to the panel grill her, and heard her responses and saw her steady composure, I had to wonder what I would have done in that situation. But whether she was composed or—on the flip side—not emotional enough was not so important to me. What struck me were her responses to the questions about what she knew or did not know about the defective ignition switches.

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4/16/2014

In a case with a set of circumstances that would make a good book on how an employer should not handle an employee returning from maternity leave, Nationwide Insurance nevertheless got a favorable decision due to technicalities. In Ames v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. 8th Circuit, the employee returning from an eight-week maternity leave was told she had two weeks to catch up on her work or she would be disciplined. In addition, the company called her back to work earlier than originally planned because of an error in calculating her leave, and advised her not to object to the change because it would send up “red flags” that she would not want to send up. Further, her department head told her that a lactation room for her to express milk was not available, advised her to go home “to be with her babies,” and allegedly handed her a pen and paper and dictated what she should write to submit her resignation. All of this happened on the day she returned to work.

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4/16/2014

Discrimination lawsuits are decreasing: It may seem counterintuitive to HR practitioners. But according to Patrick Dorrian on Bloomberg BNA’s Labor and Employment Blog, the number of new federal court filings charging these violations actually dipped below 1,000 per month for January and February—for the first time since 2006.

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4/16/2014

Assume the following scenario: ABC Company has 200 full-time employees and 50 temporary employees supplied through a staffing company. Based on the calculations for employee coverage for 2016, ABC Company determines that the 200 full-time employees are its “common law” employees. Therefore it provides coverage under its group health plan to all of them. The staffing firm also provides coverage to all of its full-time employees, including the 50 temporary workers placed with ABC Company (whom the staffing firm has determined are full-time for IRS Code § 4980H purposes). 

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4/16/2014

A disturbing trend is being reported in The Wall Street Journal: HR departments are stifling innovation in companies.  As a result, employers are dropping HR totally and making it a manager responsibility.  LRN Corp., a 250-employee business, reorganized and dropped most job titles and department names. It also did away with its HR department.

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4/16/2014

Every manager needs to do it.  Nearly every (OK, every) manager dreads doing it.  Even when you try to disguise it as “constructive criticism,” it is still one of the most painful duties of leadership. Add to it that 25% of employees “(dread) their performance review more than anything else in their working lives,” as Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen write in their soon-to-be-released book, Thanks for the Feedback.  The sane manager wonders why she should even bother.

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