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February Legal Roundup

Gavel with computer in backgroundThere haven’t been too many major case decisions in employment law this month, but we have seen some interesting regulatory developments. Here are some capsule summaries of all that good stuff.

The “Facebook firing” case has been settled out of court, with the employer agreeing to “revise its overly-broad rules to ensure that they do not improperly restrict employees from discussing their wages, hours and working conditions with co-workers and others while not at work, and that they would not discipline or discharge employees for engaging in such discussions.” The HR blog TLNT has a typically excellent analysis of how this development might affect your company.

New regulations under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) took effect last month. They strengthen the protections given to employees, applicants, trainees and former employees, and extend the degrees of family relation that are already protected by the act.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported on a new trend of companies using a job applicant’s current employment status to discriminate against them. Given the unemployment rate facing the nation, using such a standard to refuse to consider candidates seems not only cruel but very short-sighted; companies employing this practice are surely overlooking some strong candidates.

And finally, a Minnesota district court ruled that employees using Family Medical Leave Act leave must give proper notice of the reason for the leave and follow their employer’s call-in policies. The case summary reads like something out of the annals of “the dog ate my homework” in terms of leave excuses, but it can also be a helpful reminder to make sure all your employees know about your FMLA and other leave policies.

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