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Weekend Roundup: $1.3M FMLA Mistake, Okla. Oks Medical Marijuana Use, Don’t Dismiss HR

A Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court awarded $1.3 million in damages to an information technology manager who worked for a public utility company. The employee sued his employer after being fired for taking a trip to Mexico while he was on medical leave. This week, Oklahoma’s home Unity Bill protecting medical marijuana use goes into effect on August 30. The bill provides clarity for the regulation of medical marijuana for employers and employees. In other news, some companies are electing to stop viewing human resources as an administrative department and give them a seat on the board. Through this growing trend, companies can empower their workers to explore new roles, thus allowing growth for the company and personnel. Click the headlines below to get all the details in today’s Weekend Roundup.

Employer Makes $1.3 Million FMLA Mistake by Firing Worker After Mexico Trip

A recent decision from the highest court in Massachusetts emphasizes the risk to employers of taking employment actions based on outrage rather than reason—particularly when it comes to decisions about leaves of absence.

In this case, an employee sued his former employer after he was fired for taking a vacation to Mexico while he was on a medical leave of absence, and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld a $1.3 million damage award. A jury had found the company liable for retaliatory termination in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and a state law discrimination statute.

Unity Bill will protect medical marijuana patients

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act, also known as the Unity Bill, goes into effect on August 30.

“From the State Chamber’s perspective, this bill accomplishes two important items. One, it respects the will of the voters following the legalization of medical marijuana in Oklahoma. Two, it provides much-needed clarity for employers and business owners. The State Chamber of Oklahoma worked all session with lawmakers to help accomplish these key items,” said Fred Morgan, president and CEO of the State Chamber of Oklahoma.

‘People Enablement’ Is the Human-Resources Trend You Can’t Ignore

It seems unfortunate that human resources, one of the most vital functions of an organization, frequently suffers from a bad reputation. Employees usually know little about what their HR contacts do beyond payroll and contracts, while C-Suite execs tend to leave them on the sidelines of visionary decision-making.

But if there’s truth behind the common call to “grow your people, grow your business”, shouldn’t HR be the most important department in a company? It’s time to stop viewing HR reps as purely administrative and give them a seat at the board by adopting the principle of “people enablement.” At its essence, people enablement is a more holistic approach towards individual development, and it encompasses the technology, processes and content empowering employees and teams to develop and improve faster.

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