West Virginia News & Analysis

  • 3 ways to improve succession planning in your organization

    For many employers, risk management includes succession planning. One goal is to avoid or reduce business interruptions and maintain momentum toward achieving your objectives. Another goal is to avoid the unnecessary loss of knowledge and experience occurring when valuable personnel depart suddenly and unexpectedly. Planning for the next generation of leaders puts you a step ahead. Yet too many organizations focus only on the C-suite leaders and ignore the greater wealth of information and experience lost every year because of exits by the rank and file. Here are three things you can do to improve your approach.

  • Discrimination claim by employee bypassed for promotion heads to trial

    The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia employers) recently held a trial court erred in dismissing a Facebook employee's claim he was turned down for a promotion based on his race. The case demonstrates why promotion decisions should be made according to clear, written guidelines that help ensure a fair and consistent evaluation, free of any racial bias or discrimination.

  • What TN employers need to know about new COVID-19 liability law

    As Tennessee employers have phased into (and out of and back into) various stages of reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, the primary concern for most has been keeping on-site workers as safe as possible and their businesses afloat. A concurrent worry has been what to do if an employee or customer catches the virus. Could the business be liable? As described below, a new state law may help reduce the potential exposure for employers.

  • Charlotte company pays for FCCRA misstep

    The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which became effective April 1, covers private-sector employers with under 500 employees and provides emergency paid sick leave and expanded Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) rights for certain workers because of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the law's best intentions, employers have found applying its requirements isn't always easy. A transportation company in Charlotte recently became the subject of a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) investigation focusing on whether it had failed to pay emergency sick leave to an employee who was told to quarantine because of coronavirus concerns.

  • EEOC right-to-sue notices return, other activity continues in North Carolina

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) temporarily stopped issuing right-to-sue notices on charges that had been filed. The pause was recently lifted, and the notices are coming out again. The pause didn't apply to resolutions of EEOC litigation, and we've recently seen some new settlements of cases filed by the agency in North Carolina. They shed light on the types of cases the agency is pursuing and the resolutions they are achieving.

  • Despite recent court decisions, questions remain for religious employers

    The U.S. Supreme Court issued two decisions recently that were welcome news for religious organizations and other employers that rely on religious convictions as they conduct their business. One decision bolstered the "ministerial exception," a doctrine stemming from the First Amendment that prevents government interference in religious organizations' ability to hire and fire employees. The other decision says certain private employers with religious or moral objections to birth control can exclude contraception coverage in their employer-sponsored health plans even though the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates such coverage for most employers.

  • Incivility and harassment at work? Employer policies can help

    Employers concerned about racist, sexist, and other unacceptable outbursts in the workplace cheered a decision from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in July that makes it easier to discipline or fire employees for offensive speech. Under the previous standard, employees disciplined for profane outbursts often could look to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) for protection since Section 7 of the Act prohibits employer policies that may impede employee efforts to join a union or otherwise band together to improve the terms and conditions of employment. The previous standard was tolerant of some degree of heated speech uttered in the exercise of Section 7 rights as long as it wasn't violent or otherwise too extreme.

  • Testing, testing, 1-2-3: ADA still has final say on return-to-work testing for employers

    As COVID-19 cases rebound in certain states, employers are grappling with how to safely usher employees back to work. Undoubtedly, some degree of testing is necessary to make sure employees reintegrated into the workforce don't pose a safety risk to themselves or others. While employers would do well to take every precaution available during this time, it's equally important to remember that some types of screening, even when required with the best intentions, are still unlawful under current employment laws.

  • NLRB alters standard on abusive conduct, profane language at work

    The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently modified its standard for dealing with abusive conduct and profane language at work. For years, the NLRB had permitted employees to make offensive, harassing, and racist statements so long as they were uttered while discussing wages, hours, or other terms and conditions of employment. In other words, the vulgar statements were "protected" as Section 7 activity under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Read on to learn about the new standard.

  • DOL releases 'simpler, easier to use' FMLA forms

    The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has published revised "optional- use" Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms. The agency claims the new forms are simpler and easier for employers, employees, and healthcare providers to use. For example, the revised forms include more questions users can answer by checking a response box.