Colorado High Court Ok’s Firing of Worker For State-Authorized Use of Medical Marijuana – Thomas A. Robinson talks about Colorado’s recent Supreme Court decision in Coats v. Dish Network which upheld the employer’s firing of an employee for using marijuana. The employee is a quadripalegic who had been approved by the state for medical marijuana. Upon being discharged, the employee filed a wrongful termination suit, but the court found that “Employees who engage in an activity such as medical marijuana use that is permitted by state law but unlawful under federal law are accordingly not protected by the statute.”
Related: Workers Can Be Fired For Off-Duty Marijuana Use, Colorado Court Says

Harassment “Must-haves” – Employment Law Attorney Robin Shea offers two excellent posts on “must haves” for your organization’s harassment effort. In the first post she identifies and discusses the following “must-have” critical components:

  1. An effective no-harassment policy
  2. Regular, high-quality harassment training
  3. Prompt, thorough, and fair investigations of harassment allegations
  4. Appropriate action based on whether the allegation is substantiated
  5. No retaliation

In a follow-on post she focuses on harassment investigations.

HR 101: Are You Classifying Your Independent Contractors Correctly? – Kevin Mason, TLNT: “What is the difference between an independent contractor and a W-2 employee, you ask? How employees are classified will affect how much a business pays in taxes, the amount of withholdings from employee’s paychecks and which tax documents need to be filed. Classifying employees correctly is a critical issue that business owners need to understand.
Incorrect classification can lead to large fines and penalties for failing to file the proper tax returns and paying employment taxes.”
Related: California court says an Uber driver deserves to be paid like a full-time employee

How to Cure Bad Bosses – At Switch & Shift, Shawn Murphy discusses the characteristics of bad bosses and suggests concrete steps that bad bosses can take to become better ones.

Are your HR programs too out of date to engage employees? – Dana Manciagli, Louisville Business First: “Over the past two decades, the workplace has changed drastically. We’re an information economy. Implementation of flexible work arrangements continues to rise (nearly 80 percent between 2005 and 2012 alone). Casual dress is de rigueur. Millennials have arrived with their talents, mobile phones, apps, devices and a desire for meaningful work.
Yet many companies haven’t adjusted benefits to reflect these shifts. In fact, according to a new report by Quantum Workplace and Limeade, there’s a huge disconnect between what employees want and what employers provide when it comes to benefits, perks and programs.”

How To Help Someone who Suffers a Loss In the Workplace – Michelle Apple, L.C.S.W. and Russ Pitts, TakeThis, Inc.: “Whether sudden or expected, tragic or peaceful, dealing with the loss of a friend or colleague is never easy. It is entirely normal to feel sad or even depressed after suffering a loss, and for some people a personal loss may make dealing with their existing mental health issues even more complicated.
Friends, family, and co-workers are the major supporters for those who experience a loss. They are the first line of defense. But many people worry they do not understand how to handle such situations, or how to offer help. There is also a great fear of saying or doing the wrong thing, or making someone’s suffering worse.
Here is a quick guide to helping someone positively cope with their grief>”

When Your Return to Work Process is Reminiscent of Herding Cats – Rene Gates, Blogging4Jobs: “Programs aimed at returning employees to work are oftentimes scattered in multiple departments and isolated by the type of employee absence. One department manages workers’ compensation, another manages disability claims, and your HR team manages FMLA absences, or it’s outsourced to a third party. Efforts to coordinate and integrate all of the data are oftentimes met with resistance because of these departmental “territories.” Unfortunately, those interested in collaboration often feel like they’re trying to herd a bunch of stray cats.”

‘I forgive you.’ – In a stunning testimony to their faith and courage, relatives of people slain at the historic African American church in Charleston, S.C. appeared at the arraignment of the killer and went on record to express their forgiveness. This is reminiscent of the Sikh reaction in the aftermath of a massacre at an Oak Creek, Wisconsin temple three years ago and the Amish forgiveness extended to the family of the man who killed their daughters in a Lancaster County schoolhouse. In fact at least one surviving Sikh family member will be traveling to Charleston to offer comfort and support.

Hospitals: More Self-Inflicted Injuries in Kids – Amy Norton, WebMD: “A growing number of U.S. kids are landing in the ER because of self-inflicted injuries, a new study finds. Between 2009 and 2012, self-injuries accounted for a rising percentage of children’s emergency room trips — increasing from 1.1 percent to 1.6 percent of all visits.
Most of the time, researchers found, the injuries were not life-threatening, and included acts such as cutting, piercing and burning. But, while the total numbers remained relatively low, experts said the increase in self-injuries is concerning.

A note from our Partner Walden University
Headed to Las Vegas for SHRM 2015? Discover Walden and advance your career! Visit booth #1706 to play the Spin To Win game and learn about Walden University’s HR programs. Be sure to stop by the booth to meet faculty and learn how their online programs can help you reach your goals.

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