We are excited to share the next installment of our video series, Conducting Workplace Investigations | Step #5: Interview Best Practices. This series, 10 Steps Every Company Should Take When Conducting Workplace Investigations, is intended to guide HR leaders faced with investigating a complaint between coworkers, such as harassment or inappropriate conduct, through the investigation process.

Each video in this series offers practical tips on everything from creating the investigation plan; interviewing relevant parties; and dealing with the aftermath of the investigation, including potential disciplinary actions taken against an employee.

In this video, Bass, Berry & Sims labor and employment attorney Tim Garrett outlines best practices to keep in mind when interviewing employees during a workplace investigation. These practices include guidance how best to take notes during the interview and how to explain the interview process to participating employees. Companies can use the points that Tim covers in this video to get all of the relevant details in order to get to the truth of the matter being investigated.

Several attorneys in our Labor & Employment Practice Group are featured in this video series and offer great recommendations for navigating this tricky process.

View previous videos in the series:

Step 1: Intake the Complaint

Step 2: Interview the Complainant

Step 3: Plan the Process

Step 4: Perfect the Plan

To guarantee you don’t miss any videos in the series, be sure to subscribe to this blog or follow us on Twitter.

Managing an employee who is struggling with alcoholism or substance use disorder can be challenging for employers. While both conditions could be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), there are differences in how each condition is treated under the law.

Understanding these differences is essential for any HR professional in implementing a plan after discovering that an employee’s work performance or ability to work is being affected by alcoholism or substance use.

Continue Reading Are Employees with Alcoholism and Substance Use Disorder Protected under the ADAAA?

In light of U-Haul’s recent announcement it will no longer hire nicotine users in many states, I recently discussed the laws governing this company policy. Many states, such as Tennessee, implemented laws decades ago that protect smokers.

However, as I stated in the article linked below, Tennessee’s “statute is silent as to whether this protects someone from not being hired.” My take is that “employers will likely be watching closely how refusing to hire smokers pans out since there are many other lifestyle choices that affect health.”

Continue Reading No-Nicotine Hiring Policies

We are excited to share the next installment of our video series, Conducting Workplace Investigations | Step #4: Perfect the Plan. This series, 10 Steps Every Company Should Take When Conducting Workplace Investigations, is intended to guide HR leaders faced with investigating a complaint between coworkers, such as harassment or inappropriate conduct, through the investigation process.

Each video in this series offers practical tips on everything from creating the investigation plan; interviewing relevant parties; and dealing with the aftermath of the investigation, including potential disciplinary actions taken against an employee.

In this video, Bass, Berry & Sims labor and employment attorney Laura Mallory outlines specific measures to take while crafting the investigation plan, including suspension and the separation of parties. Laura also explains how documents can be used during an investigation and how certain recordings could be critical in determining the truth around a workplace conflict.

Several attorneys in our Labor & Employment Practice Group are featured in this video series and offer great recommendations for navigating this tricky process.

View previous videos in the series:

Step 1: Intake the Complaint

Step 2: Interview the Complainant

Step 3: Plan the Process

To guarantee you don’t miss any videos in the series, be sure to subscribe to this blog or follow us on Twitter.

 

Join us for a complimentary seminar where we will review a broad range of topics pertaining to accommodation issues under the ADA and provide guidance for employers managing these issues.

7:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Registration and Breakfast
8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Program

Our panels will cover a broad range of topics, including:

  • How to identify (and help supervisors identify) when an employer’s obligations under the ADA may come into play
  • Engaging in the interactive discussion with employees regarding their accommodation requests
  • Requesting medical information in response to such requests
  • Whether an employee who has asserted the presence of a disability may still be disciplined
  • Addressing mental health issues under the ADA

HRCI and Tennessee CLE credit (2 hours)

We are excited to share the next installment of our video series, Conducting Workplace Investigations | Step #3: Plan the Process. This series, 10 Steps Every Company Should Take When Conducting Workplace Investigations, is intended to guide HR leaders faced with investigating a complaint between coworkers, such as harassment or inappropriate conduct, through the investigation process.

Each video in this series offers practical tips on everything from creating the investigation plan; interviewing relevant parties; and dealing with the aftermath of the investigation, including potential disciplinary actions taken against an employee.

In this video, Bass, Berry & Sims labor and employment attorney Bob Horton explains why a plan is so critical to the process and details the elements that make up a successful strategy. When conducting an investigation, it is always wise to proceed as though it will be scrutinized in the future, perhaps during litigation. For this reason, Bob explains, it is essential that a plan is in place and there is ample documentation for each step.

Several attorneys in our Labor & Employment Practice Group are featured
in this video series and offer great recommendations for navigating this tricky
process.

View previous videos in the series:

Step 1: Intake the Complaint

Step 2: Interview the Complainant

To guarantee you don’t miss any videos in the series, be sure to subscribe to this blog or follow us on Twitter.

I recently discussed the potential for age discrimination in the workplace when companies focus too much on recruitment of young employees. The article argues that by focusing solely on young talent, organizations miss out on the “perspective” and “expertise” that baby boomers can offer customers and fellow employees.

“It often manifests itself in what I call lazy language—when somebody says that they want to cultivate a ‘youthful environment’ when what they really mean is a ‘vibrant environment,’” I wrote in the article. Firms that try to recruit new workers solely on social-media sites that cater to younger job seekers can risk accusations of age discrimination.

The full article, “How to Keep Baby Boomer Workers Happy,” was published by HR Executive on November 4, 2019, and is available online.

Note: This post originally appeared on the Bass, Berry & Sims GovCon Trade blog. Subscribe to that blog for insight on the demanding and ever-changing regulatory environment of contracting with federal, state and local governments, and international trade issues when conducting a global business.

On September 27, 2019, Barclays PLC agreed to pay $6.3 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to settle charges that Barclays violated the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The Barclays settlement fits a pattern of recent U.S. government enforcement against companies, particularly in the financial services sector, relating to FCPA violations stemming from hiring or providing internships to relatives and friends of government officials.  Penalties have been significant – for example, Credit Suisse Group AG paid a $47 million penalty in 2018 as part of a Justice Department FCPA investigation into their hiring practices in Asia.  We previously wrote about this issue in an August 2015 article about a settlement related to the hiring practices of Bank of New York Mellon.

The Barclays matter is a useful reminder of three things:

  1. What constitutes the giving of a thing of value to a government official is broadly interpreted and goes beyond simply giving money or a gift or other tangible thing directly to an official.
  2. The SEC can – and will – enforce the FCPA when there are deemed to be violations of the books and records provisions of the law, even if no charge of bribery is brought in the matter.
  3. The U.S. government continues to pursue industry-wide enforcement under the (apparently accurate) belief that what one company does in a specific industry is likely something that many companies in that industry also do.

Continue Reading on BassBerryGovConTrade.com

We are excited to share the next installment of our video series, Conducting Workplace Investigations | Step #2: Interview the Complainant. This series, 10 Steps Every Company Should Take When Conducting Workplace Investigations, is intended to guide HR leaders faced with investigating a complaint between coworkers, such as harassment or inappropriate conduct, through the investigation process.

Each video in this series offers practical tips on everything from creating the investigation plan; interviewing relevant parties; and dealing with the aftermath of the investigation, including potential disciplinary actions taken against an employee.

In this video, Bass, Berry & Sims labor and employment attorney Tim Garrett discusses the process of interviewing someone who brings a complaint against a coworker to the company. It is critical in this phase to ensure that that person feels comfortable sharing what they can about the situation in question. The interviewer needs to be able to obtain key information during the conversation in order to establish a timeline and details of the concerns. Tim also provides tips for handling a complainant’s request to remain anonymous.

Several attorneys in our Labor & Employment Practice Group are featured
in this video series and offer great recommendations for navigating this tricky
process.

View the first video in the series: Step 1: Intake the Complaint

To guarantee you don’t miss any videos in the series, be sure to subscribe to this blog or follow us on Twitter.

 

On October 23, 2019, the Department of Labor (DOL) published a proposed rule that, if finalized in its current form, would make it easier for retirement plan administrators to use electronic media to furnish information to participants and beneficiaries. The proposed rule would create a new, optional safe harbor that permits plan administrators to furnish required disclosures through electronic delivery to participants and beneficiaries with valid email addresses or smartphone numbers, unless the participant or beneficiary affirmatively opts out of electronic delivery.

The proposed rule was developed in response to Executive Order 13847, issued by the White House in August 2018, which instructed the DOL to review whether actions could be taken to improve the effectiveness of retirement plan disclosures required under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and reduce costs to employers. Note that employers may not rely on the proposed rule until it is published in final form.

Continue Reading DOL Proposed Rule on Electronic Disclosures Could Help Alleviate Costs and Burdens on Employers and ERISA Plan Administrators