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Can a Handbook Policy Bind an Employee to Arbitration? 6th Circuit Says No.

We spend a lot of time debating the respective merits of fine points of the law. The reality, however, is that judges are people too. Despite their training, robes, and gavels, the decision of many cases comes down to one key fundamental question: did one side treat the other side fairly? Courts...

Everything You Wanted To Know About Your Employee Handbook (That You Didn't Bother To Read)

In most states, your company handbook isn't a contract. They don't have to follow their own procedures. However, some employers are starting to make employees sign them and add things like an agreement to arbitrate all claims against the employer or a waiver of jury trial. You will want...

Is Your Arbitration Agreement Worth the Paper It's Printed On?

Courts have blessed written agreements between employer and employee to submit federal discrimination claims to arbitration. Here is an example. But, there's legal and then there's doing right. Below, how one employer got it wrong. Very wrong. Plus, what you can do to make sure that your...

What Are the Consequences of Ignoring a Written Handbook Policy?

What's the point of having a written handbook policy if you aren't going to follow it? Better yet, what are the consequences of not following that handbook policy? (Hint: they're bad). This recent federal-court age-discrimination decision underscores the importance of companies...

The So-Called "Privacy" of Employee Emails

Humblebrag alert. Reporters call me all the time. It's a wonder that I can get any work done. Why, just last week, I was speaking to a reporter about an action recently initiated by current and former employees of the FDA, alleging that the agency unlawfully monitored their private emails...

Of new dogs and new employees: communicating value is key

Last Thursday, my family and I drove to Battle Creek, Michigan, to pick up our new puppy. I cannot give the breeder ( Jon Peck, Midnight Run Vizslas ) higher marks. He spent two hours with us explaining the ins and outs of what we could expect with our new dog. He provided pointers on the peculiarities...

Top Six Illegal Policies In Your Employee Handbook

Your employee handbook contains lots of policies and procedures you're supposed to read and follow. But many handbooks contain policies the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) considers illegal. NLRB is usually thought of as the agency that regulates all things union: elections, collective bargaining...

“State of the Union” on Substance Abuse and the Workplace

Where are we these days with respect to mind-altering substances and the workplace? Here’s the latest, with the “substances” discussed in alphabetical order. This blog post is guaranteed accurate™ for at least the next five minutes. ALCOHOL. Alcohol is legal, which means...

Clear Directives or Clear as Mud?: NLRB’S General Counsel Issues Report on Employer Rules and Policies

by Jana P. Grimm For the last five years, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been aggressively reviewing and issuing decisions regarding employer rules and policies and whether such rules and policies violate Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (Act). What once started as a relatively...