addict-1032371_1280Editor’s Note:  At the time of publishing, there was a typographical error in the title of “Wedding.” We apologize for any confusion.

Amendment 2 has passed – it’s no longer a pipedream (no more puns, we promise). So now what for employers? Will it gut employers’ drug-free workplace policies? Will employers be required to grant accommodations to prescription card carrying users (e.g. provide a location for such employees to light up during the work day?). Will employees be able to successfully sue employers who terminate them for failing a drug test due to a positive test for medical marijuana use? There are sure to be other questions and issues arise, some of which may take court cases to fully answer, but let’s take a look at what we know:

  • A Constitutional Amendment takes effect the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January. That would be an effective date of January 3, 2017;
  • The Florida Department of Health will then have six months to pass implementing regulations;
  • The Department must begin issuing patient and caregiver identification cards, and registering MMTC’s (Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers) a/k/a/ “dispensaries”, within nine months from that effective date.

While the infrastructure and implementing regulations are ramping up for the new law and the industry it will spawn, employers may be well served to use the time now to survey their approach to the law. Consider these facts:

  • The Amendment specifically states that it shall not require accommodation in a place of employment.
  • It specifically states that it does not purport to give immunity under federal law.

Why are these facts important?

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social media iconsApple Blue Ivy Moonbeam, a Generation X HR Director who considers herself super savvy when it came to all things Interweb, drafted a social media policy to include in FacePlace, Inc.’s employee handbook. FacePlace is a non-union workplace with over 300 employees, most of whom work from various “virtual” offices away from FacePlace’s home office. Convinced she created the best social media policy ever, Apple submitted the policy to the NLRB for review.

Which of the following policies do you think the NLRB found lawful?

A. You should never share confidential information with a team member unless the person has a need to know the information to perform their job.

B. Offensive, demeaning, abusive or inappropriate remarks are as out of place online as they are offline, even if they are unintentional.

C. Employees should avoid harming the image and integrity of the company and any harassment, bullying, discrimination, or retaliation that would not be permissible in the workplace is not permissible between team workers online, even if it is done after hours, from your home network.

D. The NLRB found all three unlawful.

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National_Labor_Relations_Board_logo_-_colorContinuing in our series of Employment Law IQ, what would you do?

Scenario:  Valerie recently graduated from FGCU and got her first job, a position as HR Director for Hire You Too, a local, non-union staffing agency. Though Hire You Too has been in business for a number of years, Valerie is the company’s first dedicated HR employee. Eager to establish herself as an important member of the Hire You Too team, the first thing Valerie does is review Hire You Too’s Employee Handbook. While most of the Handbook looks good, Valerie wants to revise the Acknowledgement, because she remembers from her “Labor 101 Class” that the NLRB has cracked down on at will employment disclaimers.

Which of the following statements should Valerie avoid for the Acknowledgement?

A. I further agree that the at will employment relationship cannot be amended, modified, or altered in any way.

B. The relationship between you and Hire You Too is employment at will. This means that your employment can be terminated at any time for any reason, with or without cause, by you or Hire You Too.

C. Employment with Hire You Too is employment at will. Only the CEO of Hire You Too has the authority to alter the at will employment relationship, and then only in writing.

D. Valerie can choose any one of the three, since Hire You Too is a non-union workplace and does not have to worry about the NLRA.

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Employee handbooks…every employer should have one, but does yours include policies that are unlawful? Test your employment law IQ and let us know what would you do.

Scenario: Dickie V., the HR Director for Bracketology Secrets, Inc., has asked Bracketology’s employment law counsel, Billy B. Ball, to review Bracketology’s Employee Handbook, which was last revised in 2007. Since then, Bracketology has grown to25 employees, all located at one central location. When Dickie V. receives Ball’s written analysis of Bracketology’s Employee Handbook, he is shocked to see so many suggested revisions.

Which of the following policies do you think Billy B. Ball left unrevised?

A.  Bracketology Secrets, Inc. compensates its employees on a merit-based system. To avoid creating hostility or other issues in the workplace, Bracketology employees are not permitted to discuss their individual compensation packages with other Bracketology employees.

B.  Employee personnel files are property of Bracketology Secrets, Inc., and will not be released to any employee or third party without a subpoena or similar court order.

C.  Bracketology Secrets, Inc. desires to keep all of its employees, customers, vendors, and the general public safe on its premises. As such, any employee who brings a weapon to Bracketology premises, whether on their person, in a bag, or in a vehicle, may be subject to immediate termination.

D.  All three policies are acceptable as written.

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In our last blog post on improving your workplace documentation practices, we discussed best practices for effective documentation. This post addresses when to prepare documentation of a workplace event, observation or communication.

To be effective, documentation needs to be accurate, objective, specific, and clear. But, it also needs to be TIMELY! In this fast

In our last blog post on improving your workplace documentation practices, we discussed the type of workplace events and communications that should be documented by employers. This post provides practical tips on how to document.

Although sufficient workplace documentation is crucial, poor workplace documentation can actually hurt an employer and weaken your attorney’s ability

In our last blog post, we challenged employers to resolve to improve their workplace documentation practices in 2013. This post is the first in a promised series of practical tips for achieving your resolution.

How many times have you heard the phrase: “If it’s not in writing, it didn’t happen.”? That saying has special

In our last blog post, we challenged employers to resolve to improve their workplace documentation practices in 2013. This post is the first in a promised series of practical tips for achieving your resolution.

How many times have you heard the phrase: “If it’s not in writing, it didn’t happen.”? That saying has special

Our #1 recommended resolution for employer clients in 2013? Improve your workplace documentation practices. Why? Because we like to win cases for clients, and most employment lawsuits are often won or lost based on the presence, quality, and accuracy of an employer’s documentation.

Experts tell us that understanding the benefits of your New Year’s resolution

A guy may prefer barbecue-type holidays, such as Memorial Day or the Fourth of July, over Valentine’s Day. As employers, you probably should, too, even if it is for different reasons.

A CareerBuilder survey published in 2011 found approximately 40% of workers have dated at least one person with whom they have worked, and 18% reported dating at least two people with whom they have worked. Clearly, workplace romance is pervasive. With it can come a host of unwanted side-effects, including loss of productivity, ethical dilemmas, depressed morale, and sexual harassment claims.

Sexual harassment claims can arise in a variety of situations, including when a workplace romance goes south.  They can also arise from what one employee might find to be a light-hearted joke, card or funny e-mail, sent to an employee who does not see the humor and might be completely offended.  A sexual harassment claim can even arise when a thoughtful boss gives a Valentine’s Day gift to an employee for a job well done, and the message is misinterpreted.

Since Valentine’s Day is upon us, take this opportunity to carefully review your policies addressing sexual harassment and workplace romances. As you do, consider the following:

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