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New Employee Rights Posting (legislation delayed until 1/31/2012)



Hang this poster by January 31, 2012(updated)

As of November 14, 2011(now 1/31/2012, most private sector employers are required to post a notice advising employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. The 11-by-17-inch notice should be posted in a conspicuous place, where other notifications of workplace rights and employer rules and policies are posted.

The posters are available below for download and printing. Copies also are available from any of the agency’s regional offices. In addition, employers should publish the notice on an internal or external website if other personnel policies or workplace notices are posted there.

For further information about the posting, including a detailed discussion of which employers are covered by the NLRA, and what to do if a substantial share of the workplace speaks a language other than English, please see our Frequently Asked Questions.

Poster Downloads

Can you fire an employee while they are out on a workers' comp claim?


Can you fire someone while they are out on a Workers’ Comp claim?  Yes….but be careful and cross all your t’s and dot all your i’s before you do!

You can terminate a workers’ comp claimant as long as they are not protected by any other laws.  So before moving forward with the termination you must determine the following:

                Is the claimant protected under the Family and Medical Leave Act?

                Is the claimant covered under the ADA laws?

                Is the claimant being terminated for any other discriminatory reason?

Now, once you’ve covered all those points you still need to assess the consequences of the termination.

Negative Consequences can include the possibility that a Workers’ comp Commissioner might be more sympathetic toward an unemployed claimant and/or the length a claimant is out of work may exceed the norm due to the fact that they don’t have a job to return to.

Conversely, the positive side is you may be able to terminate a poor-performer/problem employee.

construction risk advisorsRemember, the most important thing is documentation, documentation, documentation!  If you are terminating any employee, claimant or otherwise, make sure you have written records of poor performance evaluations and conversations, documents of attendance abuse, etc.  And we highly recommend you contact your lawyer prior to issuing that termination!

Discrimination Lawsuits are on the Rise


And settlements are reaching record highs.

workplace discriminationThe downturn of the economy affected business in more ways than decreased revenue.  As lay-offs and terminations became the norm, employers didn’t always review or comply with HR laws.  As a result more and more former employees filed discrimination suits.

Seyfath Shaw, a Chicago based law firm, stated that discrimination lawsuits were in the headlines more than any other type of workplace challenge for a company during 2010.  Prior to 2010, wage and hour settlements were breaking records. While discrimination lawsuits took first place in 2010, don’t fool yourself, wage and hour were right behind!

The top 10 private plaintiff employment discrimination class-action suits paid or entered in 2010 totaled $346.4 million!  The largest was the $175 million settlement in Velez vs. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.

The baby boomer generation is the largest part of the workforce to be affected by this downturn of employment, and they have become more aware of the laws and how employers should be dealing with lay-offs and terminations.  The employees, former employees, have become educated and so should employers!

Whether construction, manufacturing, distributors or offices, employers need to educate themselves on the ADA, ADEA and Harassment laws to avoid costly lawsuits!

Workers Comp Claim: Is it Fraud or Malingering?


If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a hundred times --- “he wasn’t hurt that bad – he should be back at work” or “he must not really have been hurt at work”!  Many employers feel a substantial number of claims are fraudulent, but statistics show that this isn’t the case.  The problem is malingering after the injury occurs; it is much more prevalent, but also can be controlled.

backinjury resized 600Malingering can occur for many reasons.   First and foremost is that if the treating physician or Occupational Health Clinic doesn’t have a copy of the construction workers’ job description, then they can only go by what the injured worker tells them.  The injured worker can embellish their job as much as they want because there is nothing concrete to back it up. So, one way to combat malingering is to have job descriptions that you can easily provide to the Dr. or other medical provider.  Another issue is that not all providers understand the importance of returning someone to work, to their regular routine, so it’s beneficial for you to have an established relationship with a local Occupational Health clinic that understands the work your construction firm does and understands you want your injured workers back on the jobsite as soon as possible!

 But there are reasons that the injured worker may be malingering that have nothing to do with the injury itself.  Is it possible that the injured worker was having issues with a co-worker, construction foreman, supervisor, or another subcontractor prior to the incident, and is now looking for ways to avoid returning to work?  

If you suspect there is a reason the injured worker is malingering, you should be telling the claim adjuster!  The adjusters at the insurance carrier do have to work within the confines of the State statutes, but they are experienced enough to know a “malingerer” when they see one and appreciate any insight you may be able to give .

So the next time there is a delay in getting your injured worker back to work, don’t jump to the idea that the whole claim was fraudulent, discuss your concerns with the claim adjuster, give them some insight into the employee and hopefully another “malingerer” will be returned to work!

Upcoming Changes to Employment Law


Just when you thought you had mastered them all, a number of new employment laws are on the table. If voted through you’ll have even more challenges when it comes to tracking various types of leave.

So here are highlights of the possible coming attractions!

confused112408FMLA Enhancement Act

If passed, this bill could expand the current FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) to include leave for attending children’s activities.

Another change could be to give victions of domestic violence FMLA protected leave

Family Leave Insurance Act

Employers could be required to provide 8 weeks of paid leave to employees to care for a sick family member or new child.

 Healthy Families Act

Would require certain employers, who employ 15 or more employees for each working day during 20 or more workweeks a year, to provide a minimum paid sick leave of: (1) seven days annually for those who work at least 30 hours per week; and (2) a prorated annual amount for those who work less than 30 but at least 20 hours a week, or less than 1,500 but at least 1,000 hours per year.

Whether one of these is passed or all of them are, you’ll need to be reviewing your current leave policies, updating employee manuals and re-educating your supervisors and managers.  It looks like the Federal government is going to continue to keep the Human Resource Professionals very, very busy!

Is your employee handbook up do date?  Need a second set of HR eyes to make sure your T's are crossed and your I's are dotted?  Construction Risk Advisors has a full time HR consultant on staff for any and all compliance issues a Connecticut Contractor could face. 

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