Hostile Work Environment Definition
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More Insider HR Tips: What Are HR Pros Saying About You?

HR Knicker Twisters, by Mary The Undercover HR Director ("OnYourSide") in the forums Welcome to my second article! I’ll be writing articles periodically when I have news to share with you or an opinion on current events. I hope you had a chance to read my first article. I promised to share with you some “HR Knicker Twisters” gleaned from the recent SHRM® 2010 Annual Conference and Exposition that I attended in San Diego, California. Californians: you have a seriously gorgeous state. I can see why California is in such danger of earthquakes. There must be so many jealous transplants from other states weighing it down that if a really big earthquake happened California would just crack off and drop into the Pacific. As your intrepid Undercover HR Director, I attended the SHRM® … [Read more...]

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New Work Laws Protecting You in 2009

With a new year come new laws that can protect you. At the Federal level, new laws went into effect on January 1, 2009 which expand the definiation of "disability" under the ADA, and extend and expand FMLA protection for people who have had a loved one serving in the military.  The Federal minimum wage will also go up on July 24, 2009 to $7.25 per hour. (Until then the Federal minimum wage is $6.55 per hour). At the state level, a bevy of new laws come into effect.  In California, for instance, new laws address meal and rest periods, pay for computer professionals, work comp reporting, and (during your commute) ban text messaging while driving. New laws in Illinois also expands the reach of both the FMLA and ADA as applied in that state, by making eating disorders qualify under the law … [Read more...]

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Hostile Workplace Podcast #5: “I Don’t Know What FMLA Is, But I’m Sure YOU Don’t Qualify For It”

Download PDF Transcript Have you heard a supervisor admit they don't know about something with one breath, but then proceed to tell you what you should do about that thing in their next breath?  Listen to one of my readers, Vicki, tell her story dealing with that exact scenario. Once Vicki used FMLA, others at her work wanted to use FMLA leave too.  This angered her supervisors, who launched a campaign to "get" her. Listen to Podcast Episode #5 now to hear how Vicki has fared against her company's attack (and don't expect a nicey nice happy ending). You can listen to Podcast #5 through the player here on UndercoverLawyer.com. Or, if you have iTunes you can click on the link below to listen there and subscribe to the podcast for … [Read more...]

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“I Went On Med Leave and Now This…?!” Employee Unfriendly H.R.

Of the many questions I receive and respond to each week, I thought this one was particularly interesting because it shows how short-sighted and employee-unfriendly H.R. departments can be. A gentleman used medical leave for the first time in his twelve year career. He had to work with his doctor to adjust some medications; then he was set to return to work and continue in his twelfth year with the company without a single bad appraisal. "CAN I SCREAM DISCRIMINATION..." Suddenly and without warning he receives a letter from the Human Resources Department that states: "....if you will need accommodation(s) when you return, please contact the Office of Workplace Diversity before your return. They will assist you with that process......" The letter doesn't sound mean, but what does it … [Read more...]

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Is Time Off On FMLA Really Time Off? (Or, do you have to maintain your full-time work load while working a reduced-time schedule?)

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Case: Lewis v. School District #70 (April 17, 2008) A federal court case established for the first time that your employer can NOT expect you to maintain a full time work load when you are off work under the FMLA. The Federal Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit held that employees using their FMLA rights to be away from work cannot be held to the same requirements as full-time employees who are at work all day. Your company violates federal law if it tries to discipline or fire an employee who is on FMLA leave because he or she is isn’t producing as much work as the employees who are not on leave. A Good Worker Must Live Through Bad Times The worker in this new case was Debra Lewis. Debra began working for Illinois School District #70 in September of 1997 as a bookkeeper and … [Read more...]

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