Archive for January, 2021

Can You Refuse to Employ Nicotine Users?

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Last year, U-Haul made headlines with their controversial decision to entirely stop hiring nicotine-users. While organizations in travel and healthcare facilities have been maintaining nicotine-free workplaces for years, U-Haul did not cite an inability to provide smoke breaks but rather made the decision based on healthcare costs and a desire to emphasize a healthier lifestyle for their workers. This left many employers wondering if they could or should enact a similar policy. While nicotine users are not a protected group under federal law, some states have enacted legislation to protect smokers, barring employers from firing or refusing to fire due…

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Drug Screening in 2021: Should You?

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Under federal law, marijuana use remains illegal, but states have rapidly legalized both medical and recreational use of the drug in recent years. As of January 2021, the majority of the United States has legalized or decriminalized the use of marijuana at the state level. This fast-paced legalization has made policies surrounding employment drug screenings a bit more challenging to navigate. Employers are left asking if they should do drug screenings if it’s fair and cost-effective, and if so how to proceed without excluding potential candidates who use the substance responsibly. Many local and state governments have begun enacting legislation…

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Can You Require Your Employees to Return to Work?

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In short, yes. Provided your local area is not under a shelter-in-place order, employers can legally require employees to return to in-person work in most situations. That said, the EEOC advises caution to employers hoping to have all employees return sooner rather than later. While federal guidelines may allow employers to require in-person work, particularly if your employees are considered essential workers, the ADA and other protective legislation at the local, state, and federal levels still apply. Before requiring employees to return to work it is important to understand all legislation that applies to ensure your organization remains compliant. Know…

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Should You Reimburse for Office Expenses?

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Last year, businesses across the country were forced to quickly move to remote work, doing their best to stop the spread of COVID-19. Employees who had never worked remotely found themselves in need of a home workspace, equipment, supplies, etc.: the necessities to successfully work from home. With more employees than ever working remotely, employers are asking if they should reimburse employees for remote working expenses. Federal law dictates that employers must reimburse employees for anything that puts them below minimum wage. This federal law provides a low bar for employers; state and local laws often stipulate stricter reimbursement requirements….

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