Employment Law News: Gender Pay Gap, Transgender Discrimination, and Telecommuting

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With everchanging political and legislative landscapes, it's important for employers to know and understand the trends that have the potential to impact their business. At ERC, we like to keep informed on legislation and rulings from around the country that may influence how you approach your handbooks, strategies, and even company culture.

Below, Tara Motheral, HR Advisor at ERC, discusses three recent cases, including what happened in each case and what the key takeaway is for each case that may impact your business:


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5 Potential Benefits of Telecommuting

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benefits of telecommuting 5 Potential Benefits of Telecommuting

It’s Monday morning. You hear the beeping noise from your alarm clock. You get up, ready for the work week ahead.  While still in your pajamas, you head to your morning pot of coffee, make some breakfast and shuffle over to the kitchen table or maybe your home office. You sit down and open up your computer and start opening emails from the weekend, or maybe a report that’s due in the next couple of days. This is what more and more employees in America are becoming accustomed to: Telecommunicating.

Since 2005, telecommunicating has grown by nearly 80%. But what are the benefits of telecommuting for both the employee and the employer? And what do you do if your employer doesn’t allow telecommunicating at the workplace quite yet? Here are the facts and some helpful tips about telecommunicating in today’s modern workforce.
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The Perks of a Being a Flexible Workplace

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Across the country, as well as right here in Northeast Ohio, flexible work arrangements are continuing to grow in popularity. According to a national survey administered in 2013, nearly one-third of employees indicated that they “do most of their work from a remote location.”

The Perks of Being a Flexible Workplace

Locally, the 2013-2014 ERC Policies & Benefits Survey reports an almost identical percentage for exempt employees that are telecommuting as part of their regular work schedule. Both studies indicate double digit growth in the percentage of remote workers over the past several years and with ever evolving technologies that will help keep remote workers connected to their colleagues at the office, this isn’t a trend that is likely to reverse itself any time soon.
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A Complete Guide to Workplace Flexibility

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Flexibility has grown to be more commonplace in the workplace in recent years; however, managing flexibility remains a challenge, as evidenced by the 2013 decisions by Yahoo and Best Buy to overhaul their flexibility programs.

To help your organization with similar challenges, we've developed a short guide to instituting and managing flexibility in the workplace.

Step 1: Create a business case for workplace flexibility.

Many HR professionals have to "sell" the concept of flexible work to their leadership team. In doing so, we recommend gathering reliable benchmark data related to how common flexible work options are in your industry and size, and among your competitors.
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Data Points to Growth in Flexible Work Arrangements

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With Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer’s recent decision to eliminate employee’s work-from-home option, has come a firestorm of commentaries and rumors about what her very public decision at a prominent employer means for the future of flexible workplace practices at workplaces across the nation.

Image Source: Adam Tinworth

Locally, in 2013 the Plain Dealer ran an article citing ERC data and giving an inside look at how some of Northeast Ohio’s top workplaces structure highly functional work-from-home options for their employees. Now that the dust has settled following the big Yahoo announcement earlier this month, it appears that Mayer’s decision was largely based on internal issues specific to the tech giant.
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Telecommuting: Should You Allow It?

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Telecommuting

Yahoo's ban on telecommuting and work-from-home arrangements has sparked an interesting debate in the workplace. Should your organization follow suit?

The issue of whether or not to allow telecommuting or work-from-home options in the workplace is hardly a new problem. In fact, organizations have been questioning whether or not to offer it and the pros and cons of such arrangements for the past few years as this flexible work practice has become more common.

Before you change your policy, here are some important considerations.

1. Telecommuting can be attractive and beneficial as a flexible work option.

Offering telecommuting or work-from-home options can help attract talent, especially employees in segments of the workforce that traditionally need or want more flexible arrangements (i.e. women, disabled workers, Millenials, etc.). Allowing telecommuting to be used as an option for the following can be advantageous.
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Findings from 9 Recent Court Cases to Help You Stay Compliant

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Do you need to adjust performance expectations under FMLA? Can regular attendance be considered an essential function of a job? Is telecommuting a reasonable accommodation? Is it okay to terminate an employee after they request FMLA? Several recent court cases provide answers to some of your most common questions about administering various employment laws.

 

You may be required to adjust performance expectations under FMLA.

A decision made in 2012 by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Pagel v. TIN, Inc. finds that while employers do not need to adjust performance standards for the time an employee is actually on the job under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), FMLA can require that performance standards are adjusted to avoid penalizing an employee for being absent during their leave.
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