News & Analysis

Coronavirus: It's about facts over fear, planning over panic

As the COVID-19 coronavirus problem grows, employers will face increasing challenges on a variety of workplace issues. We now have seen travel restrictions, business closings, suspensions of schools, and widespread employee absences. Here are some tips on dealing with these issues.

To ink or not to ink? That is the question

Perhaps your parents warned you as a teenager that if you got a tattoo, you would never get a good job. But millennials have turned this adage on its head. Tattoos are no longer taboos. Nearly half of millennials have at least one tattoo, and the workforce is becoming more inked than ever before. As the popularity of tattoos (and tattoo reality TV shows) continues to grow, employers may wonder whether they should permit the visible display of tattoos in the workplace. Here are some tips for private and public employers faced with the question—to ink or not to ink?

Out-of-state employees not guaranteed protection under MHRA

Many Missouri employers conduct business in multiple states. What happens when a company is based in Missouri but its employees work out of state? Do they have an absolute right to sue for alleged violations of the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA)? Read on to learn more.

New reporting and reviewing requirements for employers with DOT drivers

Effective January 6, 2020, companies that employ commercial motor vehicle drivers must register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) national drug and alcohol clearinghouse and comply with new reporting and reviewing responsibilities. The clearinghouse (which can be accessed at is a secure, online database that will maintain information about violations of U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) drug and alcohol regulations by commercial driver's license (CDL) holders for five years. One of the clearinghouse's purposes is to allow employers to identify drivers who have committed violations while working for another employer but who have not informed their prospective or current employer of the violation.

Retaliation suit shows requests for unpaid overtime can be timekeeping trap

Informed employers know they must pay nonexempt employees for all hours actually worked. If an employee works unapproved hours or overtime, the company must still pay for the time, but they may discipline the worker for violating company policy or not following directions. A recent case from the 10th Circuit (whose rulings apply to all Kansas and Oklahoma employers) provides an example of how employers should tread carefully in such situations.

Weather and work: Save this article for a rainy day

Inclement weather is a perfect storm for unusual employment law issues. If the forecast predicts bad weather (and in the Midwest, we know it's just a matter of time), read the following article to make sure your inclement weather policies and practices are as right as rain.

ADA website accessibility: 2019 trends and predictions for 2020

As predicted, the flood of website accessibility lawsuits is continuing into 2020 after the U.S. Supreme Court declined late last year to weigh in on whether the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to the websites of places of public accommodation.

Legislative efforts taking on hairstyle discrimination

Workplace discrimination based on hair? It may not be the first type of discrimination to come to mind, but it's beginning to get more attention. African Americans have noted that workplace appearance codes often insist on Eurocentric hairstyles. Styles that better conform to the natural hair texture of black people are often looked down on in the workplace. But that is starting to change, and the change includes legislation. California and New York have passed state laws prohibiting discrimination based on natural or protective hairstyles, and more states and local governments are considering similar measures.

Cutting-Edge HR

Fighting labor shortage with charter buses. With the unemployment rate hitting historic lows, many employers are struggling to find workers. Package delivery giant FedEx is fighting the problem by turning to chartering buses to bring people in from areas with available workers. The Wall Street Journal featured FedExs program in an article that explains how the company buses workers to its Memphis, Tennessee, hub from areas hours away in Mississippi. The workers earn starting wages of $13.26 an hour, better wages than are available in their home area, where manufacturing jobs have been lost. The busing program runs year-round and was nearing its first anniversary when the article was published.

Federal Watch

Bill gives paid parental leave to 2 million federal workers. A bill including a provision to grant federal workers up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave has passed as part of a larger defense bill backed by President Donald Trump. The bill passed the Senate on December 17 and had previously passed the House. Its expected to provide paid parental leave for more than 2 million federal workers and was backed by Ivanka Trump, the presidents daughter and a key adviser. The parental leave part of the bill was supported by many Democrats and opposed by many Republicans. It was one of the legislative compromises reached during the runup to the impeachment fight.