Break time! For nursing mothers

When I was a kid, I dreamed of having a television in the bathroom because it combined two favorite past-times: watching TV and taking bubble baths. To me, that was REAL luxury. But you can dress up your company bathroom with chandeliers and pieces of great art and it still won’t make it a suitable place to express breast milk. The Department of Labor has issued its fact sheet on breaks for nursing mothers, and one of the things it gets specific on is private bathrooms.

Our partners at Squire Sanders & Dempsey have covered this topic, explaining what you need to know about the changes. To read “DOL issues Guidelines on Break Time Requirements for Nursing Mothers,” click here.

The DOL’s new fact sheet (“Break Time for Nursing Mothers Under the FLSA”) covers:

  • General Requirements
  • Time and Location of Breaks
  • Coverage and Compensation
  • Where to Obtain Additional Information

To view the fact sheet, click here.


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FLSA claims become fashionable

James Bond has a thousand flashy guns and gadgets, but for employees, the weapon of choice is becoming clear: filing suit under violation with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In 2010, the number of FLSA lawsuits filed in federal courts has increased 20% (compared to a similar period in 2009). Perhaps it is a result of the new awareness programs started by the Department of Labor and the Obama Administration, or maybe people looking for an easy pay-day in a tough economy, but either way, it needs to be taken seriously.

So what’s hot this summer in FLSA lawsuits?

  • Worker misclassification (employee vs. independent contractor)
  • Overtime eligibility
  • Donning and doffing clothing policies
  • Telecommuting
  • Use of electronic devices (such as Blackberries, iPhones) to check work emails when “off the clock”

For more information on this topic, read “Current weapon of choice against employers – the Fair Labor Standards Act.” Click here for the article.


New bills working to prevent workplace bullying

The state of New York may soon be the first to put into play a law that would seek to protect workers from bullying bosses. Yes, New York is one of 16 states who have bills waiting in the wings to address this issue – and perhaps rightfully so. According to TIME magazine, nearly 37% of American adults said they had been bullied at work.

Some employment law experts are saying this will cause more frivolous suits to come forward, but supporters of the bill say that only the most offensive and deliberate abuse will qualify. The New York bill requires that wrongful conduct be done with “malice” and (in most cases) be repeated.

There’s nothing on the books yet so no action is required, but it may be a good time to think about the practices you have in place to secure a safe, positive, and encouraging work environment. We will continue to watch as these 16 state bills make their way through and update you as more information becomes available.

For more information on this topic, read “Workplace Bullying: New York Bill Targets Abusive Bosses” by Adam Cohen of TIME magazine. Click here for the article.

Get on track with your new hire orientation program

We’ve all been new to a company at one point or another. You’re a bit nervous, perhaps worried about finding your way around or learning the new system, but still, you’re optimistic and ready to sink your teeth into your new job. If only they’d let you get working.

Instead, you spend all of Day 1 filling out paperwork, trying to set up your e-mail account, and constantly assuring other people you have everything you need.

The Punk Rock Human Resources blog recently featured an interesting article called “New Hire Orientation Programs Suck.” It lays out some great points that the employer or manager should keep in mind when bringing on new staff. It’s definitely worth the read. Click here for the post.

What does your new hire orientation program look like? What do you do to welcome in the new members of your work family? What do you avoid doing? Any ideas or tips to streamline the process?

You can share your thoughts by posting below – it’s just one click to post. We’d love to hear from you!

Final ruling on who pays for preventative care

The Department of Labor released the interim final rules on who pays for preventative care under the new health care reform. And it doesn’t look good if you’ve lost your grandfathered status.

Under the Affordable Care Act, non-grandfathered plans must cover certain preventative care service with no cost-sharing with the participant (meaning no deductible, co-payments, etc.) The new rules go into effect for non-grandfathered plans with the first plan year beginning on or after September 23, 2010.

For a summary of the new rules, read “Preventative Care Rules Released” by our partners at Davis Brown Law Firm by clicking here.

For more information on how to protect your grandfathered status, click here.


I(9) walk the line

Johnny Cash walked the line in 1956 and now it’s our turn – we’re trying our very best to stay in compliance, especially when it comes to verifying employment eligibility. Unfortunately, some employers are going too far to confirm that job applicants are eligible to work in the U.S. and the government is fining them for discrimination. Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration-law scholar at Cornell University says: “You need to worry just as much about asking for too many immigration documents as you do about not asking for enough.”

We want it to be easy for you to understand these important rules, so let’s review the “do’s and don’t’s” of I-9 forms. To access the I-9 chapter from our Employment Verification guide, click here.

For more information on how far is “too far” when requesting documentation, read “Policing Illegal Hires Puts Some Employers in a Bind” by Miriam Jordan of the Wall Street Journal, by clicking here.

If you want to watch Johnny Cash sing “I walk the line,” click here.


Hiring Q & A with the top CEOs

The New York Times has a great column called “Corner Office,” where the CEOs from major corporations like MasterCard, the Limited, Zappos, Saks, and the Onion, share their stories and theories on leadership and management. It’s a great column if you’ve got the time to sit down and read a 3-4 page interview, but many of us want to get to the meat and potatoes right away. Luckily we found a brief compilation of all the interviewees discussing how they hire. You’ll find answers to questions such as:

  • What do you look for when hiring? What questions do you ask?
  • What are the most important qualities you’re looking for?
  • What are your best interview questions?

Find out what questions the top people are asking and see how that might work for you. Click here.

Want more? You can read the full interviews by visiting the “Corner Office” homepage by clicking here.