After a couple of action-packed months in the employment law sphere, it was kinda nice to have a relatively quiet October. After all, fall is a great time to slow down, take stock of the year, prepare for the holidays and ponder the Supreme Court’s caseload.
At the beginning of the month, a new term kicked off for the Supreme Court of the United States (it’s abbreviated SCOTUS, which is incredibly fun to say). We’ll see what the next year brings in terms of rulings and opinions.
It’s not too early to begin looking forward to 2013, so the IRS has released its guidelines on contributions to retirement accounts. (Short answer: everyone can contribute $500 more.)
States are also looking forward to 2014, when the Affordable Care Act is scheduled to become the law of the land, by determining what they define as “essential” health benefits.
A U.S. District Court recently ruled that a vacation can be covered by the Family Medical Leave Act as long as the employee is traveling with a family member whose primary caretaker they are and that they administer care as necessary during the vacation. This view isn’t exactly universal among the courts, but it’s something to be aware of.
Now, on to the head-shaking cases of the month, and the lessons they teach us:
- If you’re going to forge documents to corroborate your story that you applied for leave at a specific time, at least do some research to make sure people’s names haven’t changed in the meantime.
- Have your sexual harassment policy in as many languages as your employees speak, especially if their designated translator is the one doing the harassing.
- And finally, just because a menacing phrase is in all caps on an email doesn’t mean it’s an actual threat. (Also, font size might be a factor. No, we’re not kidding.)
So that was October. Now, if we can just get through the elections, there’ll be plenty to be grateful for this month.