Employment & Labor Law

Mishandling Wage Garnishments is Risky and Costly

Federal and state laws provide protection to creditors and employees, but impose significant expense and risk upon employers even for minor or unintentional errors. Don’t assume most garnishments are small and present little risk; some garnishments can be remarkably large.

In the past few years, I have seen default judgments starting at $500 against Michigan employers for mishandling a garnishment – one was for $596,000! These judgments resulted from simple oversight – failing to file and serve the completed garnishee disclosure form within 14 days.

Denying Employment Based on Background Screening Report

When you use information in a background screening report to deny (or possibly deny) employment, you must follow Adverse Action Procedures (AAP) outlined within federal law in the Fair Credit Reporting Act sections §603(k)(1)(B)(ii) and FCRA §615. The AAP is in place so applicants who may be or will be denied employment because of details in the report have an opportunity to review the report and address any errors or discrepancies in the information.

Employer Tips for Effective Record Keeping

Knowing how to effectively create, use, and maintain employment-related documents is one of the most important skills for a manager or human resources professional to learn. Mastering this skill means that you will be able to better manage employee attendance and performance, respond to a federal or state agency investigation or audit, and defend against potential litigation.

Here are our “top five” tips for effective record keeping for employers:

Layoffs vs. Permanent Separations

The term “layoff” is often misunderstood by employers. Other than a brief reference in the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act that a “layoff” exceeding six months is covered by the Act, the term and the concept have no independent legal significance. It is not a process or theory that is otherwise formally recognized by law. Layoffs exist only as a matter of contract or employment policy.

COBRA Notice

Each employer who normally employed at least 20 full-time or full-time-equivalent employees during the prior calendar year must offer continued health insurance coverage, as mandated by the Consolidated Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), following the occurrence of a “qualifying event”, if the qualifying event would otherwise lead to a loss of health insurance coverage.

DRIVING You Crazy!

Your CDL drivers are under growing government scrutiny these days. Now more than ever the feds are keeping tabs on them, and your company, to ensure that safe drivers and equipment are on the road. The bottom line is that safer roads benefit everyone in many ways.

But don’t forget your drivers who do not hold a CDL. After all, you have sales reps, technicians, even AR/AP team members who use a company or personal vehicle for business every day. Their driving records must meet the standards of your insurance carrier.

Navigating the Bermuda Triangle of Employee Leave

For many employers, dealing with employee absenteeism is the legal equivalent of navigating the Bermuda Triangle. That is because when an employee is unable or unwilling to work due to a physical or mental condition, his employer must address and comply with three major employment laws – the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and workers' compensation laws – each of which serve a different purpose.

Two Questions Can Root Out a Potential Bad Hire

If you’ve ever hired a dud, you might be the problem. A 2013 Gallup report showed a trend the respected polling organization has measured for years: most employees are “not engaged.” In the most recent report, it was 63%. The “actively disengaged” (those who would sabotage their organizations) were counted at 24%.

Most interviewers do a poor job posing questions that root out problem employees. Next time you’re interviewing, try asking candidates the following: