A federal court in New York recently struck down four federal Department of Labor (DOL) rules related to the leaves provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). As a result, certain aspects of the FFCRA are now more favorable to employees. Unfortunately, it’s not clear if the ruling applies nationwide or only in the Southern District of New York, where that court is located. Until there is further activity in the case—which may clarify whether the rules remain intact throughout the rest of the country—we recommend that employers err on the side of caution when administering FFCRA leaves and assume these particular rules no longer apply. What is clear is th
Right now, organizations across the country are asking themselves what they can do to make their workplaces more inclusive, diverse, and equitable, particularly for Black employees. They’re hosting conversations, acknowledging areas where they’ve fallen short, and identifying opportunities for improvement. For these efforts to be successful, employees need to be able to speak freely, offering critical and candid feedback about individual behaviors, workplace practices, and organizational policies. None of this can happen, however, if people believe it isn’t safe for them to speak up. It often isn’t. Employees who report harassment and discrimination, speak candi
With all of the changes everyone has had to make over the past few months, not to mention the heightened stress we’re all feeling, it may be tempting to let certain practices slide or be less strict about following particular workplace policies. Flexibility during crisis situations may make sense in certain situations, but there are some areas where you don’t want to fall short of your usual standards. Documentation is certainly one of those. Documenting decisions you make as an employer can feel like an extra, unnecessary step. It is additional work, after all, and that work adds up. Nevertheless, documentation is an important part of risk management, and the price of not documentin
Some of our employees have said they don’t feel safe returning to work. Can we just permanently replace them? What other options do we have?
We recommend caution when deciding to replace an employee who refuses to work because of concerns about COVID-19. Here are few things to keep in mind: Recalled employees may have a right to job-protected leave under a city ordinance, state law, or the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). See our overview of the FFCRA on the HR Support Center.Employees who are in a high-risk category — either because they are immunocompromised or have an underlying condition — may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or state law if their situation doesn’t qualify them for leave under the FFCRA (or if they have run out of that
We suspect that one of our employees harassed another, but we only have their conflicting stories to go on—no witnesses, video, or emails.
The accuser’s account of the incident seems much more credible than that of the accused. Can we discipline with only this information? Probably. It would be a good idea to consider whether your investigation was thorough. If it was, and all you have to go on is the testimony of the accuser and the accused, then you should take their credibility into consideration and make a determination based on their respective accounts. Here are some factors to consider when determining credibility: Each employee’s reputation for truthfulness and accuracyIf the story each employee presents is plausible Whether one of the employees has a motive to be untruthful Whether one emp
Given renewed national attention on issues of racial equity and justice, employees and customers might be more inclined to report incidents of racism they witness in person or on the internet. In this article, we cover some recommended practices for employers if they receive a report that an employee has made a racist statement online. Don’t ignore itWe recommend responding to the report, whether it’s made by an employee, customer, or vendor. Not responding could lead to an escalation of the situation. First, the offending post might be shared widely and result in additional pressure on you to take action. Second, not responding right away (or after additional complaints) could lead
The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that employers may not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment. This decision affects all employers with 15 or more employees. The decision was a response to three separate cases, all of which were about employment discrimination based on “sex” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which applies to all employers with 15 or more employees. There has been debate for years about the definition of sex under Title VII. Originally, many assumed that it meant only that men and women could not be treated differently, but over the years the Supreme Court has interpreted the definition to include cert
Employees who have come within six feet of someone who is infected should self-quarantine for 14 days after their last exposure per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During this time, they should take their temperature twice a day and watch for symptoms of COVID-19. Currently, the known symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, sore throat, muscle pain, chills, new loss of taste or smell, or shortness of breath. Because COVID-19 is widespread in so many communities, the CDC recommends that everyone practice social distancing, be alert for COVID-19 symptoms, and follow CDC guidanceif symptoms develop. Remember to maintain the confidentiality o
We are reopening after business closure due to COVID-19. Can we bring some employees back, but not others?
Yes. If you are recalling some positions, but not others, you should document the business reasons why only those positions were recalled. If you are recalling some employees in a certain position, but not everyone in that position, you should document the objective, job-related criteria you used to decide which employees to bring back. Seniority or previous job performance, for example, would be acceptable criteria and relatively easy to defend if you are ever challenged. Content provided by TPC HR Support Center.
New FFCRA Guidance in Temporary Rule and FAQsThe DOL has released rules related to administration of leaves under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and answered more common questions on their Questions and Answers page. Below are some key highlights to keep in mind when administering these leaves. Documentation: Employers may not require more documentation from employees than is described below. For instance, employers may not request a doctor’s note or an official notice from a closed school or daycare.Childcare Provider: The definition of childcare provider includes anyone who generally cares for the children in question. This includes individuals paid to prov