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Guest Blogger – Patty Wise

Patty Wise of Niehaus, Wise & Kolas LTD is the expert speaker at our workshop on August 31, 2017.  Patty will provide practical information regarding compliance with employment law, and avoiding potential litigation.

Call Your Lawyer!

If we’re going to decide not to hire a job applicant because of her background report (provided by a third-party firm), do we have to tell her that?  Can we just say we chose another applicant?

Do I need to see the actual document(s) presented by an employee completing the I-9 upon hire?  Is a photocopy acceptable?  How about an expired version of the document?

We don’t have a specific section in our handbook regarding harassment on the basis of race. 

Do you have some suggested language?

May an employee take FMLA leave for his stepdaughter’s hospital stay?    We want to change our FMLA “leave year” from a calendar year to a rolling period measured forward.  May we do that effective at the end of this month?

Often, the first inclination for employers is to consult with an attorney regarding these questions, and similar issues.  And that is fine, of course, but might not be necessary.  Many times answers can be obtained from free resources available from various government agencies. Even if these free resources don’t provide all the answers clients can be better prepared to effectively utilize legal counsel after using these resources.

For the background check question above, the FTC provides tips for businesses on legally using background information.  And, the EEOC provides detailed information about criminal background checks and guidance on the topic.  Given recent interest in re-entry and employment of convicted offenders, and the proliferation of “Ban-the-Box” laws, it may be advisable to review your background check process with legal counsel.  But many questions can be addressed in these resources.

https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/background-checks-what-employers-need-know

https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/arrest_conviction.cfm

As to the I-9 process, substantial information is included in a booklet produced by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

https://theimmigrationbulletin.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/handbook-for-employers.pdf

The EEOC provides a significant number of resources for employers, from its many publications and Guidance documents, to employer-specific training and general seminars.  For this particular question, the following resources would be most useful- https://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/race-color.html

https://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/qanda_race_color.html

Join Patty Wise on 8/31/17 at her workshop Top 10 Mistakes Employers Make:  Avoiding Legal Issues in Employment

Register at www.C4NPR.org.