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The newest right-to-work state is also the latest to ban companies from accessing password-protected social media accounts.

On Friday, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed House Bill 5523, prohibiting employers and educational institutions from asking applicants, employees and students for passwords and other account information used to access private internet and email accounts, including social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Here’s the skinny.

*Do I need a disclaimer? Do I?

What a year for The Employer Handbook in 2012! I’m most pleased that, in our second year of existence, readership more than doubled. Although, sadly, the one 2011 reader I had from Papua New Guinea never returned in 2012. I hope she is ok. Yeah, she’s ok.

So, what did my readers enjoy most in 2012? Well, apparently, y’all like Polka music. Why else would this be the most-clicked item on The Employer Handbook? What a strange cultured bunch!

Cue music.

Last week, a unanimous Iowa Supreme Court held (here) that it was ok for a male boss to fire a female employee — a model employee — out of concern that he would eventually succumb and do things with her that could jeopardize his marriage.

That has to be gender discrimination!

hoofhearted.jpgThe Employer Handbook generally likes to end the year on a classy, high note. Consequently….

The Smoking Gun reports here that, earlier this month, the Social Security Administration issued this 5-page formal reprimand to an employee for his “awful and unpleasant” flatulence.

{As opposed to my ambrosial flatulence. So lovely.}

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Thus far, you’ve managed to keep your equal-employment-opportunity nose clean. Good for you. In fact, with the economy the way it is, combined with the dwindling resources available to our federal agencies — including the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — your odds of facing a federal investigation based on a complaint of discrimination or harassment are fairly slim.

But…

On Tuesday, the EEOC announced its Strategic Enforcement Plan. And within that plan, you’ll find six areas of EEOC focus over the next four years:

Mark Toth and ManpowerGroups’s The Employment Blawg is hosting this month’s Employment Law Blog Carnival: Special Holiday Edition, a collection of 18 blog posts from some of the best employment lawyers on the interwebz. Got questions? They have answers. So be sure to check that out. That’s my gift (regifted, I suppose) to you.

Now the pay-it-forward part.

Daniel Schwartz at the Connecticut Employment Law Blog has a series of posts (here, here, and here) on the Newtown shooting tragedy. If any of my readers would like to help out with the relief efforts in CT, Dan has several links in his most recent Newtown post.

You have an employee who hurts herself on the job and becomes disabled. Although she recovers to the point where she can perform the essential functions of her position without the need for accommodation, she requests a transfer to another one of your facilities so that she has better access to ongoing medical treatment.

Does the law require you to grant that transfer?

In this recent case (Sanchez v. Vilsack), the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Rehabilitation Act, which prohibits discrimination in federal employment, and courts interpret like the Americans with Disabilities Act, may require this.

Like most employers, you likely have a workforce comprised of both non-exempt and exempt employees. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, non-exempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek must be paid OT. Employers don’t need to pay OT to exempt employees.

Let’s assume that, each year, you provide your workforce with a bank of paid time off. Let’s further assume that you implement a policy that mandates that any additional leave be taken in unpaid full-day increments, event if the employee only needs a few hours off.

Is that policy legal? Or does it violate the FLSA? The answer follows after the jump.

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Today we have a guest blogger at The Employer Handbook. It’s one of my fave employment lawyers from Twitter, Chuck Lawson.

Chuck is a member of the Labor and Employment group at Grant Konvalinka & Harrison, P.C., where he specializes in all phases of the employer-employee relationship, including wage and hour, FMLA, ADA, unemployment compensation, and discrimination/harassment law.

After the jump, Chuck is going to school you on some FMLA pitfalls that can trip up even the best employers — and how to avoid them (the pitfalls, that is).

(Want to guest blog at The Employer Handbook? Holla at ya boy).

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“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”