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Tom Lovlien retires from Boise Cascade

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Boise, Idaho-based Boise Cascade has announced that Tom Lovlien, president of the company’s Wood Products division, has retired, effective June 30, 2014. 

Under his leadership, Wood Products has become one of the largest producers of plywood, engineered wood products and industrial pine lumber in the United States with 19 manufacturing facilities, over 3,500 employees and $1.1 billion in sales in 2013. Over the last five years,  Lovlien has led Boise Cascade’s purchases of the Kinzua sawmill in Pilot Rock, Oregon; the Arden sawmill in Arden, Washington; the Filler King beam plant in Homedale, Idaho; and the Chester, South Carolina and Moncure, North Carolina plywood plants.

“On behalf of the company and the board of directors, I want to wish Tom well in his retirement and thank him for his very significant contributions during his career," said Boise Cascade CEO Tom Carlile. "I particularly want to thank him for leading the recent acquisitions during the economic downturn that have positioned us to take advantage of the improving housing market. In his 35 years with Wood Products, Tom has been integral to our success and his passion for the wood products business has become a part of our culture."

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Pregnancy can produce variety of ADA, FMLA claims

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Pregnancy is a game changer for women, a time when they must ponder whether to keep climbing the job ladder as before or scale back on work obligations. And it can lead to a host of pregnancy-related conditions covered not only by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), but also now the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)—thanks to the ADA Amendments Act’s (ADAAA) expansion of what is considered to be an ADA disability.

 

FMLA

In fact, women do “not need to have any complications to be protected by the FMLA,” notes Megan Norris, an attorney at Miller Canfield in Detroit, since pregnancy itself is defined by the law to be, rather than a joyous event, a “serious health condition.”

“She can take time off for prenatal appointments, for morning sickness, for any pregnancy-related conditions, including the need for bed rest due to concerns about premature birth, as well as for the disability that usually begins in the weeks just before birth and extends at least six weeks after birth. All of this is covered by the FMLA,” she remarked. “New mothers also can take time off for care of the newborn child. However, because the total FMLA leave allotment is only 12 weeks, any time taken off for the pregnancy prior to birth will cut into the time allowed after the birth.”

Employers shouldn’t go overboard with accommodating pregnant employees, though. A frequent mistake employers make with pregnant employees is forcing them to go on leave, even when the workers can perform their jobs, noted Anne Larson, an attorney with Ogletree Deakins in Chicago.

Sometimes employers mistakenly require a pregnant employee to remain on leave until the baby’s birth, even after she has recovered from the pregnancy-related condition that initially affected her ability to work, Larson added.

Baby bonding is available under the FMLA as well, but unlike leave for a serious health condition, baby bonding leave does not have to be provided intermittently, observed Joan Casciari, an attorney at Seyfarth Shaw in Chicago, in an interview with SHRM Online. Nevertheless, it may be, and sometimes such leave “actually benefits the employer,” she added.

“Among the mistakes I see are employers who forget that leave can be taken intermittently during the pregnancy and assign attendance points to employees who are too ill to come to work or who come to work late,” Casciari said. “I also have seen employers who are unwilling to consider light duty for pregnant employees even where it is available. While an employer generally does not have to allow light duty for pregnant employees where light duty is reserved for work-related conditions, where temporary light-duty jobs are available, they should be considered.”

 

ADA

So what if the pregnant woman runs through all of her FMLA leave before she has recovered from pregnancy-related conditions? What if she hasn’t worked for a year or the requisite 1,250 hours within a year? What if she doesn’t work at a location with 50 or more employees? She still might be entitled to leave as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA if she has pregnancy-related impairments that rise to the level of a disability.

“Prior to the ADAAA, pregnancy-related conditions may not have qualified as covered disabilities,” Larson said. Now a wide range of pregnancy-related physical impairments may qualify as covered disabilities, since the bar for ADA disabilities has been lowered. Such ADA-qualifying disabilities might include high blood pressure, severe morning sickness, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, post-partum depression and uterine fibroids causing risk of premature labor.

In April 2013, the EEOC settled a case involving pregnancy-related disability with an employer that failed to engage in the interactive process with an employee to accommodate her severe nausea and vomiting by moving her office closer to a restroom, Casciari pointed out.

“Another tricky issue is what to do when the applicant is pregnant and will obviously need a leave of absence shortly after being hired,” she said. “There is no easy answer to this issue, but clients are often blindsided by this set of facts. Or they discover the pregnancy after onboarding and training the new employee.”

Pregnancy without any complications is not covered by the ADA, the EEOC notes in its Technical Assistance Manual to Title I of the ADA, so the answer may vary from new employee to new employee. (Title I is the part of the law that applies to private-sector employers.)

Allen Smith, J.D., is the manager of workplace law content for SHRM. Follow him @SHRMlegaleditor.

© 2013, Society for Human Resource Management. 

Have HR-related questions and concerns? Get access to essential forms, policies and guides, plus a live call center, at ToolkitHR.com, powered by HCN and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).   

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Kohler unveils Touchless toilet technology

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Kohler Co. has introduced the new Kohler Touchless toilet technology, which allows users to flush the toilet without making contact by using a sensor instead of the traditional flush lever.

"In a recent study of 800 U.S. consumers, we found that 51% of people surveyed are paranoid about germs in the bathroom. When looking at that same sample group but focusing on moms with children, that number jumps up to 65 percent," said Brian Hedlund, marketing manager of Kohler toilets and bidets.

"The Touchless flush is a great solution to this growing demand for increased hygiene in the bathroom. Homeowners are of course worried about the hygiene and health of their family members, and the toilet trip lever is an obvious area of hygienic concern. Touchless takes that concern out of the equation, utilizing new technology to provide a touchless way to control the flush."

Here’s how it works: Holding a hand over the tank lid directly above the sensor actuates the flush. The new Touchless technology is available in the Kohler Cimarron toilet and as a retro-fit kit that will work with almost any single-flush toilet with a canister or flapper type flush.

The Touchless flush uses emerging sensing technology, which projects an electromagnetic field that is both extremely accurate and reliable. This type of sensor detects the user in the projected field and initiates the flush.

It runs on four AA alkaline batteries which last on average six to 12 months, depending on use. 

 

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