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News Brief

In February, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals became the second federal appellate court to rule that under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the word sex includes sexual orientation. The first was the Seventh Circuit, which we reported on last April. The Second Circuit Court’s ruling affects only New York, Vermont, and Connecticut. All three of these states already prohibit discrimination in employment because of sexual orientation, so the ruling does not have a significant impact on employers there. It does, however, ensure that it is possible for employees who feel they have been discriminated against based on sexual orientation to sue under both state and federal law.

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Reminder: EEO-1 Is Due by March 31

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires certain employers to submit a report categorizing their employees by race or ethnicity, gender, and job category. This demographic survey, called the EEO-1, is due by March 31. All employers with 100 or more employees must file the report. Employers also must file if the organization is any of the following: Owned by or affiliated with another company and the entire enterprise has 100 or more employees A federal government prime contractor or first-tier subcontractor with 50 or more employees and with a contract or subcontract amounting to $50,000 or more Serving as a depository of government funds in any amount A f

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Putting At-Will Employment at Risk

"At-will” employment refers to a common-law rule that the employment relationship may be terminated by the employer or the employee at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice, for any reason (allowed by law) or no reason at all. The intent behind this rule is to allow either the employee or employer to terminate the employment relationship without financial liability to the other. To minimize the risks of wrongful termination claims, every employer needs to understand at least three big exceptions to the employment at-will concept. Illegal Reasons for Termination At-will employment only extends to reasons that are permitted by law. The law allows for pretty much any re

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DOL Adopts New Unpaid Intern Test

The Department of Labor (DOL) adopted a new test for unpaid interns. Employers should use this test—called the primary beneficiary test—when determining if a worker can be properly classified as an unpaid intern or if they need to be classified as an employee and paid minimum wage and overtime. The test adopted by the DOL has already been in use in four federal appellate courts, most recently the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The DOL’s switch to the primary beneficiary test creates a nationwide standard. Balancing v. All-or-Nothing Previously, the DOL was using a six-question all-or-nothing test. An employer needed to be able to say “yes, the internship does that” to all six

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Reminder: OSHA 300A Forms Must Be Posted by February 1

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that all employers with more than 10 employees—except those in exempt low-risk industries—maintain a record of work-related injuries and illnesses. Those who are required to maintain these records should use OSHA’s Form 300: Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses or an equivalent state-specific form. Those same employers must then post OSHA’s Form 300A: Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses each year between February 1 and April 30. As its name implies, Form 300A summarizes (and sanitizes) the information logged on Form 300. OSHA Form 300A must be certified by a company executive and posted in a cons

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What Is Culture, Anyway? (part 1 of 4)

When you belong to an organization, there’s usually a reason, right? Whether the organization is a business, club, or other group, something about it appealed to you, and you chose to associate yourself with it. You personally identified with it and felt like you would fit in, so you joined. Alternatively, you may have considered joining an organization, but decided against it because it didn’t feel like a good fit. Or you joined for a time, but then decided the place wasn’t for you. What creates this sense of belonging or not belonging to an organization is the organization’s culture. Every organization has a culture, and every culture has three components. These are the organiz

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Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning With year-end and first-of-the-year goals out of the way and a lull between holidays, there’s no better time to do some organizational spring cleaning. As many experts in tidying up and clearing clutter will tell you, a clean space with room for movement (both physical and psychological) will boost productivity and just make people feel better. You may be low on time, or you might feel ready to embrace some serious reorganization. Depending on the number of hours available, consider mixing and matching the following spring cleaning options, from quickest to most comprehensive. Do a walk-through of the workplace to ensure that pathways are clear and free of trippi

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Second Circuit Rules Sexual Orientation is Protected by Title VII

Yesterday the Second Circuit Court of Appeals became the second federal appellate court to rule that under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the word sex includes sexual orientation. The first was the Seventh Circuit, which we reported on last April. The Second Circuit Court’s ruling yesterday affects only New York, Vermont, and Connecticut. All three of these states already prohibit discrimination in employment because of sexual orientation, so the ruling does not have a significant impact on employers there. It does, however, ensure that it is possible for employees who feel they have been discriminated against based on sexual orientation to sue under both state and federal l

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Three Tips for Effective Coaching

The performance of your company is directly tied to the performance of your employees, so one of the best ways to develop your company is to develop the people who work for you. While you can motivate your employees by rewarding success and disciplining failure, these incentives and disincentives will only get you so far. If your employees only perform well to get a reward or avoid discipline, they’re not truly invested in your company’s success. A great way to get employees invested is to invest in them. And one way you can do that is through coaching. Coaching is a management style that develops employees by assessing, improving, and tracking their knowledge, skills, and abili

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Trending Employment Laws in 2018

When a city or state passes a new kind of employment law or practice, you can expect other locations to follow their lead. We’ve seen this with paid sick leave, ban the box, social media privacy laws, and other legislation. This year will have its own trending employment laws and best practices. Here are a few to keep your eye on: Sexual harassment prevention: With the public hearing every day about new harassment allegations, employers are looking for better ways to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Training is necessary and important—and sometimes required by law—but it’s only one preventative step. Accountability is also a must, as is a culture of trust so when hara

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