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February 2016 Archives

Protected activities, NLRA, and social media considerations

A Wisconsin employee can make their feelings about an employer known quite easily in today's social media world. However, a social media rant could be a bad idea. A Yelp employee in San Francisco was recently fired after a blog post that described the alleged financial challenges and training inadequacies for low-level workers in the company. In fact, the firing occurred on the same day that the post was made, but Yelp has not explained the reason for the firing.

IRS seeks stronger protection for whistleblowers

Wisconsin residents may know that whistleblower protection laws are in place to encourage individuals to come forward and report malfeasance by their employers by protecting them from retaliation. However, they may not be aware that these protections do not generally apply when the wrongdoing being reported is tax underpayment or tax fraud.

FMLA calculation may be missing from employers' policies

Most Wisconsin employees have a certain amount of FMLA leave that they may use in a 12-month period. However, there have been cases where the way that employers calculated remaining FMLA leave was not specified in the policy. The Illinois Department of Corrections, for example, fired an employee after claiming that he had too many unexcused absences even though he asked that those absences count as FMLA leave.

Wisconsin workplaces may benefit from romance policies

Companies that receive reports of sexual harassment from their employees need to be diligent about investigating them and taking claims seriously. Some observers believe that implementing policies that address issues like romantic relationships in the workplace might be an effective way to fight this type of behavior. These policies can include clauses that make it clear that misconduct isn't allowed. They could also reduce the risks of certain forms of harassment by prohibiting relationships between employees and their immediate managers.

Employees who travel may be at risk for the Zika virus

There are many Wisconsin employees who may be required to travel outside the state or even outside the country for work. With the rise of the Zika virus, employees who may be required to travel to the affected regions may be at risk for contracting the virus.

Religious accommodations in the workplace

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees in Wisconsin and around the country from discrimination based on race, age, gender or national origin, and it also requires employers to make reasonable accommodations when workers make requests of a religious nature. Such accommodations are usually straightforward and rarely amount to more than allowing employees to take short periods of time off to attend religious ceremonies or services, but companies may face difficult decisions when the worker concerned performs particularly hazardous or important work.

Frequently broken laws by employers

Many Wisconsin workers assume that if their employer does something, it must be legal. This is in large part due to a belief that the company they work for knows the laws and would not break them. However, there are a number of laws that are violated regularly in workplaces today, including disciplining people for comments made on social media and telling employees they cannot discuss their wages.

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