New Mexico News & Analysis

  • Understanding the basics of federal E-Verify program

    Employers often debate whether to use E-Verify—a free, mostly voluntary Web-based tool that allows them to verify the employment authorization of new hires. Just as Apple created a technological solution to the legal problem of rampant online music sharing by developing iTunes, E-Verify is often seen as a silver bullet to combat widespread document fraud enabling the employment of undocumented workers. But should employers use it?

  • Employee's arrest may not always lead to termination

    Suppose an employee has been arrested but not convicted and isn't likely to be released anytime soon. Is it better to put him in unpaid "leave" status or fire him? Unfortunately, there is no hard-and-fast rule. In some cases, discharging an employee for an arrest is illegal. In other situations, it may be legal but ill-advised. Then at other times, it may be legal and advisable to terminate. It will depend on a number of factors, including where the employee is working, the severity of the crime, and your state laws.

  • Parental leave policies: what to know and what to consider

    As American tech companies continue to offer generous parental leave policies, the pressure increases on employers in other industries to consider and implement policies that allow employees time to bond with a new child. Although current federal law doesn't require employers to offer paid parental leave, the trend is edging that way. Ivanka Trump and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez both recently tweeted about paid parental leave being a priority. Given the rise in popularity of such leave and the political interest in the issue, employers must be ready to adopt appropriate parental leave policies.

  • Minimum wage: keeping up with the high cost of living

    As of January 1, 2020, Montana's minimum wage is increasing from $8.50 to $8.65 per hour. The increase applies to all Montana employers except farmers and ranchers who pay employees a fixed rate of compensation.

  • Recent changes for NM employers: ban the box, medical pot, minimum wage, and more

    As we look back on 2019, there have been quite a few laws passed affecting New Mexico employers. There are also changes, effective January 1, 2020, to the New Mexico Minimum Wage Act.

  • Handling office romance in #MeToo era: Know your options

    As Valentine's Day nears, love is in the air—and oftentimes in the workplace. Although workplace romance is common, it can make HR professionals fret about all the what-ifs. What if a relationship is between a supervisor and a direct report? What if rumors of favoritism poison the workplace environment? What if one or both participants is married to someone else? What if a couple's public displays of affection make coworkers uncomfortable? What if a relationship goes sour and the breakup affects morale? And perhaps the most important question to consider: What if a relationship is one-sided and is more accurately described as sexual harassment instead of consensual?

  • Something lacking in your workplace? Boosting employees' soft skills can help

    Anyone involved in recruiting and hiring knows the importance of assessing a candidate's skills. Does the candidate have the right training, experience, and credentials to do the job? But anyone in charge of hiring (or maybe even rehabilitating already-employed workers who aren't quite measuring up) knows that merely evaluating a candidate's hard skills isn't enough. More and more, employers are finding "soft skills" are essential in the workplace.

  • Proposed Title IX rule changes provide clarity, support, due process rights

    More than a year ago, in November 2018, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) released its proposal for improving schools' responses to sexual harassment and sexual assaults. A proposed Title IX regulation—Title IX is the civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in education programs or activities that receive federal funding—has been in the works over the past year with input from students, sexual assault advocates, school administrators, and other stakeholders and strong support from DOE Secretary Betsy DeVos. The rule, which still isn't final, takes important, and controversial, steps toward defining sexual harassment under Title IX and clarifying how it should be reported and investigated, while ensuring due process protections are in place for all students.

  • Q - A: E-Verify use more limited than many emplyers realize

    Q We have been using traditional I-9s to verify work authorization status of employees but are thinking of using E-Verify. What should we know about any limits of E-Verify use?

  • Q - A: Handling suspicious sick leave requests while keeping your cool

    Q An employee left work because she claimed a supervisor was causing her blood pressure to rise. Do we have to honor her sick leave request for the day?