Political Discussions at Work, Employee Substance Abuse, and more

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The OperationsInc Navigator
August 5, 2016
HR “Referees” this Political Season?

As the 2016 Presidential Election heats up, so may politically focused conversations in your workplace. Bloomberg BNA implores employers to “consider strategies to that take into account employee morale, public perceptions of the company, and federal and state laws”. Bloomberg BNA cautions that limiting employee speech can violate the National Labor Relations Act as it relates to concerted activity, but further warns that hostile conversations taking placing in the work environment can be considered harassment, though there is a “gray area” as it relates to political speech


Addressing Addiction in the Workplace
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence recently reported that 14.8M Americans currently abuse drugs or alcohol – and 70 percent are currently employed. US News & World Report says that some warning signs that an employee is abusing substances include performance issues as well as behavioral and attendance problems. US News & World Report cautions employers to tread lightly, document everything if they suspect that an employee has a substance abuse problem, and ensure that the company has a drug and alcohol policy present in their employee handbook. 
EEOC Brings $150k Lawsuit Against Insurance Brokerage Firm for Discriminating Against Pregnant Job Applicant
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has sued a Florida-based insurance brokerage firm for $150k, alleging that the company
pulled back a job offer once they learned that the candidate was pregnant. The Orlando Sentinel reports that the EEOC “found the company violated the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions”. 


FLSA Changes and Wage Theft Prevention Act Notices

Changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) will be put into place on December 1, 2016, and may cause employers to reclassify workers whose salaries do not meet the new thresholds set by the Department of Labor. New York employers should be advised that any reclassification of workers will result in the need to distribute new Wage Theft Prevention Act noticed to affected employees.

2016 EEO-1 Survey Notification Letters
Notification letters have been sent by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alerting relevant employers that the 2016 EEO-1 survey is now open. Private employers with more than 100 employees, as well as certain government contractors, are required by federal law to submit the survey, which is due September 30, 2016.


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