May 29, 2012

Top Legal Issues for HR Pros to Watch

important noteFrom labor lawyers Richard Brann and Patrick Stanron, speakers at the recent LEAP conference is Las Vegas, comes a list of the biggest legal threats HR should look out for during the remainder of the year:

1. The biggest HR threat of the year is that of retaliation. For employees who find it difficult to win higher-caliber cases, such as discrimination and harassment suits, may have much more luck with a retaliation claim. Retaliation claims are the most frequent, and hence most costly, cases that companies lose.

2. New forms of harassment complaints are appearing in huge numbers in order to take advantage of outdated harassment policies that don’t effectively address such cases as workplace bullying and other non-traditional types of harassment.

3. The rise of social media as a public forum for employees to discuss issues ranging from working conditions to wages has wreaked havoc on companies without recently updated social media policies. Making matters worse, the National Labor Relations Board has now made the act of banning employees from discussing sensitive issues on Facebook and other social media platforms illegal.

4. Performance reviews are coming back to bite employers as plaintiffs are using the documents as ammunition in court cases against their employers; largely thanks to vague wording and the infrequency of reviews on the part of the employer.

5. The refocusing of the Americans with Disabilities Amendment Acts from disabled workers to how employers are addressing accommodations has expanded the list of disabilities to the point where employers are encouraged to immediately assume disability as not to overlook a situation that requires reasonable accommodation.

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Joshua Bjerke, from Savannah, Georgia, focuses on articles involving the labor force, economy, and HR topics including new technology and workplace news. Joshua has a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in International Studies and is currently pursuing his M.A. in International Security.