As health care costs continue to rise, many employers are considering creative solutions for keeping costs low without drastically changing the benefits offered to active employees. Active employees who have spouses on Medicare or who are themselves eligible for Medicare may have become more attractive in the cost-benefit analysis done by employers. Some employers report rate jumps of an average of 25% per year in the past four years for Medicare eligible spouses of active employees. But, don’t be fooled. Employers must resist the temptation to treat Medicare eligible active employees and/or their spouses differently than non-Medicare eligible active employees and spouses.
In Inskeep v. Western Reserve Transit Authority, Matthew Inskeep, an employee at Western Reserve Transit Authority (WRTA), brought a claim against his employer for sexual orientation harassment and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The trial court dismissed the employee’s claim finding that sexual orientation is not covered by the Ohio Civil Rights Act and negligent infliction of emotional distress is not a separate tort recognized in Ohio in the employment context. Inskeep appealed.
At what point does the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (“PHRA”) become inapplicable with regard to the employees of Pennsylvania companies that meet the requirement of employing four or more persons within the Commonwealth? In Blackman v. Lincoln Nat’l Corp., the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania answered precisely such a question.
Technically, your bad attitude employees may not be your duds. For example, in my last column, I discussed some of the characteristics that make your superstar employees hard to handle. But whether your bad attitude employee is a star or a dud makes no difference to your workplace in the long run. Employees with bad attitudes are downers – sucking the morale out of their co-workers and giving you an ulcer. So, how do you rid your workplace of the bad attitude yet still minimizing the legal risks involved? It takes time and documentation.
To wax nostalgic for a moment, recall the halcyon times when “Happy Days” was a sitcom favorite. Fonzie, Richie, Joanie, Ralph, Potsie and the crew congregated at Arnold’s Drive-In, drank milkshakes and listened to the jukebox. But alas, all good things must come to an end – or at least reach a point of ridiculousness that for all intents and purposes, constitutes its end. For Happy Days, that moment was the episode in which the Fonz, donning his leather jacket and swim trunks, jumps a shark tank with water skis. Although the show carried on for several more years, that episode marked the end of Happy Days as a generation knew it.
It would be foolhardy, indeed, to try to navigate the waters of social media’s impact on the workplace alone. The Employment Essentials Team has put together for our readers a free toolkit to help you spot the legal issues which can arise when you or your employees use social media. Don’t be fooled. Social media can affect the workplace from hiring through discharge, and even during off-duty hours.