Recently, the West Virginia Legislature passed HB 4531, a mine health and safety bill aimed in part at curbing substance abuse by miners and promoting safety in the workplace. The substance abuse prevention section of the law, codified at W. Va. Code §22A-1A-1 et seq., requires employers to implement a substance abuse screening policy that requires both pre-employment and random drug testing beginning January 1, 2013. The statute applies to all employers who “employ certified persons who work in mines, regardless of whether the employer is an operator, contractor, a subcontractor or otherwise.” The Office of Miner’s Health, Safety and Training (“OMHST”) is charged with overseeing the new statute’s implementation and is given authority to make additional rules and regulations to enforce its provisions.
I saw The Avengers this week – brilliant, by the way, but nothing less ever comes from the great mind of Joss Whedon – and it got me to thinking about how people work together. What are the advantages and disadvantages to workplace friendships? Individually, each Avenger is effective in his or her own right. Brought together under the assumption that being told you’re a team makes you a team, the results were disastrous. It was only when casual friendships began to develop that this assembly of superheroes became a team – became The Avengers.
It is hard to believe that it has been almost 20 years since the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was originally enacted in 1993. It would be easy to think that after 20 years, all of the kinks would be worked out and that it would be a piece of cake to administer, but unfortunately that has not turned out to be the case. Issues surrounding administration of the FMLA continue to be one of the biggest challenges HR departments face today.
One day after the two-year anniversary of the Upper Big Branch mine explosion, the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) released changes to its regulations pertaining to examinations of coal mines. Under the new regulations, operators must record the actions taken to correct certain violations that mine examiners discover during preshift, supplemental, on-shift, and weekly examinations. Previously, mine operators had to look for the violations during their examinations but did not necessarily have to correct them at that time.
Recently, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals addressed the question of whether, under Pre-ADAAA jurisprudence, an employee is not substantially limited in the major life activity of working if he or she can work a 40-hour workweek, but is not able to work overtime because of a physical or mental impairment.