Hundreds of HR professionals gathered in Las Vegas on April 3-5 for the HR Specialist's 15th annual Labor & Employment Law Advanced Practices (LEAP) Symposium. (Find details about LEAP 2020 at www.LEAP-2020.com.) Here are some of the bits of employment-law wisdom from the 30 speakers:
Hiring The legal risk of high-tech screening
"A lot of algorithms that screen out applicants were created by white, young men, so they can sometimes favor applicants who are young and white. That's why it's best to have humans review decisions, too, not just artificial intelligence."--Carrie Hoffman, Foley Lardner, Dallas
Lawsuits Settle a lawsuit or fight it?
"Never think that your attorney's suggestion to mediate or settle a case means they're not doing their job. That's probably the best big-picture financial decision for your company."--John Doran, Sherman & Howard, Phoenix
Marijuana For many, testing policies go to pot
"With the confusing patchwork of federal and state laws on the marijuana issue, a lot of employers are just giving up. They're throwing up their hands and not drug testing anymore. It's a real challenge for employers."--Dan Kaplan, Foley Lardner, Madison, WI
Arbitration Why Google changed its policy
"At Google, when we did away with forced arbitration, it lifted the veil to allow employees to feel safe and to get a fair shot at having a full investigation."--Nami Russom, HR Business Partner, Google People Operations, Mountain View, CA
Terminations Firings shouldn't be a surprise
"You don't want people being surprised by terminations. If they are, they may think it's because of the FMLA leave they took or the safety complaint they made. That's why you should give people plenty of opportunities to improve, and then document those efforts." --Dick Brann, Baker Botts, Dallas
Immigration Don't get burned by ICE
"ICE [U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement] wants employers to fear them the same way that employers fear the IRS. And the way ICE is doing that is with a huge increase in I-9 audits the past few years." --John Fay, LawLogix, Phoenix
Policies Say no to 'no pay talk' rules
"You can't make blanket policies saying employees aren't allowed to discuss their pay. That's something I still get a lot of questions about. Employers want to make rules like 'You're not going to get your bonus unless you agree not to talk about it.' You can't do that." --Jennifer Trulock, Baker Botts, Dallas
How much is too much?