Vol. 3 No. 1 Spring 1997 Braun Consulting News Page 3.
"In House" Arbitration? Your Program
Must Be Good!

Calif. Ct App: Hotel's dispute resolution procedure set forth in employee handbook does not evince agreement to arbitrate, even though employee agreed to resolve employment disputes according to handbook's procedures, where dispute resolution procedure is not an arbitration unless there is third party decision maker, final and binding a decision, and mechanism to assureminimum level of impartiality with respect to rendering of that decision, but Hotel's procedure has Hotel as sole decision maker with no provision for impartiality inasmuch as review committee consists entirely of Hotel employees selected by Hotel, Hotel's general manager determines committee's jurisdiction and breaks tie votes, Hotel personnel department controls relevancy of evidence and who may testify, and rules discourage employees from retaining counsel and from challenging Hotel's policy. (12 IER Cases 225)

Call Braun if you need a grievance program
that works

In Arbitration: Sexual Harassment

A Male employee was discharged with just cause for sexual harassment, even though he and female employee had engaged in mutual obscenities and improper conduct, where she decided to stop those exchanges, warned him to cease his sexual comments and conduct, and told him that she considered his behavior sexual harassment, but he ignored her warnings and those of male outside vendor employee (D. Prayzich, Hughes Family Markets Inc. and UFCW). (107 LA 331) Note: The same result is likely if the male warned the female to stop.

Family Medical Leave Act Reminder

Don't overlook your notice requirements under the FMLA. You must designate days taken as FMLA leave and give employees written notice that you are doing so. Explain that:
  • The leave will be counted against the employees annual FMLA leave entitlement.
  • The employee must furnish medical certification of a serious health condition. Specify the consequences for failing to do so.
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(Family Medical Leave Act Reminder Continued:)
  • The employee has the right to substitute paid leave, whether you require substitution of paid leave, and any conditions related to such substitution.
  • The employee must present a fitness for duty certification before being allowed to return to work.
  • The employee must make premium payments to maintain their health benefits. List the consequences of failing to make such payments.
  • The employee has the right to be restored to the same or equivalent job upon return from leave.
  • If the employee's status is 'key', there is the possibility that restoration may be denied following FMLA leave. Explain the conditions for such denial.
  • The employee has potential liability for company paid health care premiums during the employee's unpaid FMLA leave if the employee fails to return to work.
Your failure to comply with these requirements could result in the time already missed not counting toward the employee.s 12 week FMLA leave. Timothy C. Lynch, Laborwatch, September 1996, Berens-Tate Consulting Group, 10050 Regency Circle, Ste. 403, Omaha, NE 68114.

Quick Tips:

Cost Cutters: Ask every new hire to come up with three cost cutting ideas. New workers, especially those from other companies/industries, bring new perspectives to your work. Old ideas from their former companies may be new to you.

Interviewing Insights: When you interview job applicants ask: "What's the most rewarding workday/greatest challenge you've had this year? Why?". Their answers can give you helpful insight into what really motivates prospective employees.

Keep Promises: No matter how minor, make it a personal policy to keep your word. People will respect your reliability.

Updates Build Teamwork: Too many people don.t know how their hard work fits into the 'big picture'. Have informal meetings, with various departments, to report on work in your respective area. Take this chance to share ideas and develop a sense of togetherness.

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Table Of Contents

Repetitive Stress Injuries - A Common Sense Approach

The key to preventing RSI's is to allow workers to make decisions involving their own comfort and tolerance for motion, whether lifting boxes or entering data on a computer. Computer users should be shown how to adjust the settings (font size, type, background colors, etc.) on a word processing program to make the text easier to read, thereby reducing eye strain. Workers should be encouraged to take small mini-breaks and be given options on how to design a work space unique to them. This may be as elaborate as providing ergonomically-designed equipment, such as chairs, keyboards, wrist rests, back belts, etc. or as simply as introducing workers to the knobs on the bottoms of their chairs. Also inform your employees that monitors can be lowered to desk level or elevated.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a common RSI and the number one disability currently being reported to workers' comp insurers, has increased 467 percent in the past five years. Its symptoms include:
  • Numbness of fingers, especially at night while not a work.
  • Decreased feeling in the thumb, index finger, and middle finger.
  • Clumsiness in moving and handling objects.
  • Pain in the hand that can travel up to the shoulder.
Carpel Tunnel is caused by constant, repetitive flexing of the tendons located in the wrists between the carpal bones, which leads to swelling in the protective sheath around the tendons, thus producing intense pressure and pain in the joint.

Questions or Concerns

The Contents of this News Letter are intended for general information and should not be construed as legal advise or opinion.


The Contents of this News Letter are intended for general information
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