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The Top 10 Legal Issues to Watch for the Rest of 2012

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Here is an overview of the Top 10 potential legal snares you will need to be aware of in the second half of 2012.

  1. Retaliation: the biggest threat: Employees who cannot win a discrimination, harassment or other suit against you are finding it much easier to win retaliation claims, making retaliation the most frequent and costly case companies lose (more).
  2. Harassment: update the policy: New types of harassment claims — like workplace bullying — are exploding, so you would be well advised to update your policy and make it more current. Then republish it to remind your employees (more).
  3. Social media: a new nightmare: Companies that already have social media policies have to update them. You may have banned employees from discussing wages and other working conditions with co-workers in any forum, including on their Facebook pages. But that is now illegal, courtesy of the National Labor Relations Board — and its edict applies to all companies, not just union shops (more).
  4. Performance reviews — again: These continue to come back and haunt companies when they become a weapon for plaintiff's attorneys. Best advice: Make them simple and clear and state the truth, even if it hurts. And make reviews a continuous process, not a one-time event.
  5. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): The focus shifts: The new ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) has shifted the focus from who is disabled to how to accommodate the disability.
  6. FMLA/ADA conflicts: After an employee's 12 weeks of leave from the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) runs out, you cannot automatically terminate because these cases roll over into ADA cases (more).
  7. Discourage intermittent leave: Intermittent leave is a supervisor's biggest headache. Make it a priority to manage/track it to discourage abuse.
  8. Avoid the new overtime trap: Do not give any non-exempt employees company smartphones. If they check anything on it after hours, it is entirely possible they are on the clock earning overtime (more).
  9. Prepare for OSHA inspections: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has more resources and is better at targeting inspections, so it is a question of when, not if, your number is up. Do a self-audit before they appear at your door (more).
  10. Foil any snap union election: Although a recent court decision has postponed the new NLRB "quickie election" rules (more), you still have to be vigilant about internal rumblings of union organizing.

Want to know more? Read the full article by Tim Gould at HR Morning