According to multiple news reports, on Friday, shortly after the Henry Pratt Company communicated to a 15-year employee that the company was ending his employment, he began shooting. All told, he killed five employees (in a five-minute span). After police arrived, the shooter exchanged gunfire. Six officers were injured. The employee died.
Last month, the Massachusetts Supreme Court held (here) that a local employer may have a duty to accommodate an employee’s use of medicinal marijuana. You can read more about that decision at Jon Hyman’s Ohio Employer’s Law Blog.
Wait, what? If marijuana is still considered an illegal drug under federal law — it is — what duty could an employer possibly have to accommodate an employee’s use of marijuana, even for medical purposes?
Maybe, it’s not so clear. Continue reading
In 2014, President Obama signed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order. Folks like me on the management-side refer to this Order as the Blacklisting rules. In general terms (I’ll get a little more specific below), the Blacklisting rules require prospective federal contractors and subcontractors to disclose anything that may appear on a laundry list of labor-and-employment-law faux pas.
If you read on, I’ll tell you who’s covered by the Blacklisting rules (hint: lots of government-contractor employers), what they say, and when they take effect. I’ll also include some tips about how you can proactively prepare for these Blacklisting rules now.
Yesterday’s tragic shooting in Virginia, in which two journalists were killed by a former co-worker and third individual was badly injured, was blindsiding. In the hours that passed, we learned more about the shooter’s turbulent work history. However, the only real hints at total disaster came in near real time, as the shooter let the world into the depths of his depravity through a bizarre manifesto and social media postings made shortly after the murders. All told, it’s hard to imagine how this tragedy could have been prevented.
A little less than five years ago, I wrote here about a horrific workplace shooting in Pennsylvania that left two employees dead and another severely injured. When I Googled to find more information about the aftermath of that 2010 shooting, I found this article about a jury award entered this past Spring, finding that the security company hired to protect employees at the facility negligent. Still, like yesterday’s shooting, no one could have accurately forecasted the Pennsylvania tragedy. Although, apparently, repeated clashes between the killer and her co-workers prior to the shooting suggested that matters could escalate beyond mere words.
Ultimately, it’s exceedingly difficult to predict workplace violence, and there is no solution to stopping it altogether, especially when outside forces can impact employee safety. However, there are several prophylactic steps that employers can take to reduce the risk. Please refer back to my 2010 post for some suggestions (and resources) on addressing the root of the problem before it spirals out of control into workplace violence.
Many of us, including me, have a loved one or friend who has suffered through mental illness. With proper treatment, counseling and support, the symptoms may be controllable. However, sometimes medication and treatment aren’t enough.
Mental illness, which generally qualifies as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, can disrupt the workplace. And, it can create a big problem where the employee is a threat to himself or others. Continue reading
Last week, the National Labor Relations Board issued this memorandum in which it has instructed regional offices to encourage employees to file complaints with the United States Department of Labor if the the regional NLRB office “believes that an employer may have violated a substantive or anti-retaliation provision of [OSHA] or the FLSA.”
Remember that the National Labor Relations Act covers more than just unionized employers and workplace. For example, many of the social media cases involving the NLRB that you may have read about actually involve non-union workplaces. So, if you haven’t gotten the message already, this NLRB initiative is another wake-up call to get your house in order.
Otherwise, you may have multiple federal agencies up in your business.