Paid Parental Leave: Boston Starts Another Party

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In a recent trail blazing move, Boston’s Mayor Martin J. Walsh signed an ordinance establishing paid parental leave for city employees. This ordinance distinguishes Boston — known for some other revolution-inducing tactics — from the United States, most individual states, and nearly every other city nationwide. In fact, in the preamble to the new ordinance, the city council of Boston highlights the fact that the United States is one of only three countries that lacks a law requiring employers to fund parental pay. Only a handful of cities, Seattle among them, have such leave laws and only three states — New Jersey, California, and Rhode Island — currently offer paid family leave. Boston’s new ordinance aligns the city, however, with approximately 178 countries worldwide that offer some form of paid parental leave. Continue reading this entry

Employers Beware: If You Moved an H-1B Worker Without Advising USCIS, You Have Until August 19, 2015 to Make Amends

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A recent binding decision issued by the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) has complicated even further the confusing rules governing employer obligations in the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program.

Part of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the AAO conducts administrative review of negative agency decisions on certain types of immigration benefits, including denials and revocations of nonimmigrant visa petitions.

The impact of AAO decisions is usually limited because most of its rulings are not binding on future cases and do not change USCIS policy. But a small number of AAO rulings are designated as precedent decisions that become binding. A recent AAO decision affecting H-1B employers is such a decision. Continue reading this entry

Internal Investigations — Assessing Witness Credibility

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As experienced investigators know, an investigation into allegations of harassment, discrimination or other misconduct may lead to a so-called “he said/she said” scenario, possibly leaving the investigator in a quandary as to the investigation’s outcome. This situation may indeed lead to a determination that the allegations are unsubstantiated. However, an investigator should not shy away from making credibility determinations when possible, even when it is one person’s word against another. Continue reading this entry

Do You Know Who Your Employees Are?

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Employers are beginning to learn that they may have far more employees than they think. A driver for the ride sharing company Uber was considered an “employee” by the California Labor Commissioner’s Office earlier this month. And just last August a national franchisor was considered a joint employer of its franchisees’ employees by the Office of the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). These two distinct acts demonstrate a growing trend by regulatory bodies across the country to take a closer look at what actually makes someone an “employee,” and so far anyway, it appears government bodies are leaning heavily in the direction of finding laborers to be employees of companies, even when all parties involved made express agreements to the contrary. Continue reading this entry

Colorado Supreme Court Plays Debbie Downer for Medical Pot Users

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The wait is finally over. Employers in Colorado – and in other states with similar lifestyle laws – can breathe a sigh of relief following a recent ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court. In Coats v. Dish Network, a quadriplegic employee who tested positive for marijuana during a random drug test challenged his discharge under his employer’s zero tolerance policy. The employee claimed that because he used medical marijuana, pursuant to Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Amendment, outside of work, his use was “lawful” under Colorado’s “lawful activities statute,” and thus protected from discipline. Continue reading this entry