News & Analysis

Cumulative injuries lead to substantial award for dump truck driver

An employee need not be totally disabled to receive substantial workers' compensation benefits in Arkansas. Even conflicting medical testimony can result in a significant award of benefits for a permanent partial impairment.

Pain in the back was a reach beyond Walmart employee's grasp

Arkansas employers frequently see employees trying to overstate their workers' compensation claims to cover injuries that weren't suffered on the job. The following case shows that, as frustrating as this may be, sometimes they overreach and the employer wins.

Employers may rely on physician's restrictions in 8th Circuit

Employers are often faced with a conflict between the restrictions a physician has prescribed for an employee and the worker's contention that he should be allowed to ignore the limits. A recent decision by the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals (which governs federal cases filed in Arkansas) establishes that you can rely on the physician's prescribed restrictions in determining whether an employee can perform his essential job functions.

Asking about retirement plans? Proceed with caution

Q We have an employee over 60 who stated she is retiring this year, but she hasn't submitted a letter of resignation. We want to determine her plans. What is the best way to ask her about this?

Workplace Trends

Survey finds lack of understanding of when workers will retire. U.S. employers are rethinking their approach to managing the retirement patterns of their workforces, according to a study from Willis Towers Watson. The 2018 Longer Working Careers Survey found that 83% of employers have a significant number of employees at or nearing retirement, but just 53% expressed having a good understanding of when their employees will retire. Additionally, while 81% say managing the timing of their employees' retirements is an important business issue, just 25% do that effectively. The survey found that 80% of respondents view older employees as crucial to their success.

#MeToo mustn't ignore that men can be on receiving end of harassment

We are all too familiar with the #MeToo movement and the countless stories that are a reminder of the continuing prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace. The movement has done much to bring to light the pervasiveness of previously unreported claims during the decades since Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed. Media reports are dominated by stories of women with claims of sexual harassment, a hostile work environment, and even retaliation after they've spoken out. But let's not forget that men can also be the victims of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Why you should establish a bereavement leave policy

In the past few months, I've spent every week, if not every day, updating or creating employee handbooks for businesses of all sizes. During that time, I've often found myself answering questions about bereavement leave. Most often, employers ask whether Arizona law requires them to offer paid bereavement leave. It doesn't, but when I answer their questions, I find myself articulating the benefits of offering bereavement leave. Those benefits become apparent when you're dealing with a grieving employee and able to handle the situation with empathy and compassion. On the other hand, not responding properly to an employee's grief can be detrimental to your business.

How to protect your workplace from political disruption

In today's tense political environment, our divisiveness over politics doesn't end when employees walk through the office door. You've probably seen a coworker turn a hot-button political issue into a heated, unproductive argument. You might have even been part of an online exchange that turned from a reasonable debate to ALL CAPS yelling with just a few clicks of the keyboard. Political discussions in the workplace don't just kick off a few office squabbles; they also result in reduced productivity, a decrease in work quality, difficulty getting work done, a more negative view of coworkers, more stress, and increased workplace hostility.

Cabbie case makes tight turn on specific facts

Whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor implicates a wide variety of employment issues, and making the right call is key to avoiding liability. Arizona law only complicates the matter because different tests apply in different contexts. To further complicate the risk-management decision making, courts and regulators will decide every disputed case on the basis of its own specific facts. A recent Arizona case involving a taxicab driver shows just how tightly the independent-contractor-versus-employee decision can turn on case-specific facts.

Wellness programs are about more than health insurance costs

When attorneys talk or write about wellness programs, it's almost always from a highly legal perspective. We could talk all day about the convoluted and overlapping requirements of the various laws that apply to such programs. But this month, we want to take a different approach and look at wellness programs from more of a business perspective.