Gavel with computer in background

Gavel with computer in backgroundIt’s been a fairly busy month for employment law. Here are some capsule summaries of recent legal developments.

Virginia Supreme Court allows workers’ compensation claim, citing “horseplay doctrine” – As reported by Workforce Management, the court determined that “joking actions of co-workers are a risk of employment because humans are playful and from time to time engage in pranks.” If your clients include places where horseplay is a prominent part of the company culture, this ruling could affect your bottom line one day.

U.S. Supreme Court rules that retaliation claims extend to victim’s “zone of interest” – Firing a relative, spouse, fiance, partner or other “close associate” of a worker who has filed a claim against an employer is considered just as bad as firing the worker himself or herself. The Court was unanimous on this one.

9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules on voluntary leavings when a business is dissolving – Basically, if a business owner announces that the business (of 50 employees or more) will be closing in less than 60 days’ time, that business owner has violated the WARN Act, and thus can’t claim that employees left voluntarily when they stopped coming in.

Tomorrow is the deadline for posting 2010 OSHA Form 300 – For businesses required to keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (Form 300), today is the deadline to post your records for 2010. Forms, instructions and a list of exempt industries are all available on the OSHA Recordkeeping site. Staffing, sadly, is not among the exempt industries.

And finally, IRS details three criteria for determining if a worker is an employee or a contractor – It might help to point out to your clients that they won’t have to worry about such distinctions when they hire contingent workers through you.

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