Federal Vaccine Mandate Apply to Tribal Employers

Federal Vaccine Mandate for Employers Weeks ago President Biden asserted that his administration will require employers with more than 100 employees, health care workers and employers engaged in federal contracts to require their workers to be vaccinated or be tested for COVID on a weekly basis.   As to federal contractors that promise was met via a guidance issued by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force.  A regulation, that likely will provide more details, is [...]

Investigations Training

My two day investigations training is scheduled for April 22 and 23 by Zoom.  There are available spots if you and your team want to attend.  The training costs $495 for each participant.  NNAHRA kindly approves this training as credit hours toward recertification. Please write or call if you want to attend:  richard@richardmcgeelaw.com or 612-812-9673. Thank you.

Investigations Training

There is interest in my two-day Investigations Training.  I have tentatively scheduled the training for April 22 and 23, 2021 (apologize for the short notice).  Part of the motivation for the requests for those dates is for THRP recertification.  NNAHRA has been very kind in allowing my training sessions to count toward THRP recertification. If you are interested in registering for the Zoom training, the Investigations training is $495 per person. Please reach out at [...]

Posters, Policies & Forms

The first question presented is whether tribal employers should hang posters? Please do not think about posters of sports stars or good looking celebrities, but instead think about the exciting posters summarizing employee rights relating to worker’s compensation, minimum wage and union organizing. Some laws require that employers hang posters in workplace common areas to inform employees of their rights and the employer’s responsibilities. Whether tribal employers should hang the federal posters depends on whether [...]

Performance Reviews?

Should employers suspend performance evaluations in 2020 because of COVID? Answer:  No.  That is my answer but others disagree. In a recent Wall Street Journal article titled Pandemic Produces a Kinder, Gentler Performance Review, the question presented was whether performance evaluations should be suspended because both employers and employees have had a difficult year.    The article discussed a pandemic-driven management style called empathetic leadership.  Empathetic leadership involves recognizing and evaluating the whole person and [...]

Can Employers Mandate Vaccines?

Can tribal employers compel employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19? My email inbox has received this question numerous times in the last week and therefore I thought it was a good time to address the question.  Answer:  Yes with some likely exceptions.   Tribal employers start from the premise that the tribe defines the terms and conditions of employment as an exercise of the tribe’s inherent sovereignty.  Accordingly, if the tribe mandates vaccines for its [...]

HR Professional Virtues

As human resources professionals there is a significant range of skills, talents, attributes and virtues needed to navigate the myriad workplace challenges.  On the subject of virtues required for human resources professionals, the following article appeared in the Employment & Labor Insider blog written by lawyer Robin Shea.   HR Virtue No. 1: They have "spider sense." By the time the lawyers get called in, the harm is often done already and all we can do is grab [...]

Do Your Managers Know at Least 101 Things?

101 Things Everyone Should Know About Tribal Employment After discrimination and harassment, our most popular training session is 101 Things Everyone Should Know About Tribal Employment and the materials for that session are now a published book, a power point presentation, a 50 plus question quiz and a summary of the 128 takeaways from the class.  The book's front cover is below.  A huge thank you to our friend Tal Moore who made meaningful suggestions [...]

NNAHRA Plus Fall Training

NNAHRA I have the privilege of working with the dedicated NNAHRA team this week in preparation for the NNAHRA Conference starting September 28.  Part of that preparation has included working with the lawyers who will bring you the annual legal update.  The update (in my view) is important this year and will discuss a range of important issues including COVID best practices, confidentiality, jurisdiction (recent Supreme Court decision), changes to the FLSA, modified FMLA forms, [...]

101 Things Everyone Needs to Know About Tribal Employment

101 Things is my most popular training sessions.  The written materials are now updated with significantly more detail and analysis.  I wanted to make sure that the session provided the 101 things promised by the title.  After counting, the session provides 128 things, but I like the 101 Things title and will be sticking with that.  Below is a summary of the 128 things your administrators, directors, managers and supervisors should know about working for [...]

NNAHRA Conference

The NNAHRA Conference is a little more than a month away and I look forward to being both a speaker and a participant at a fantastic virtual conference.  The conference agenda includes a really smart mix of COVID related practical sessions while at the same time the conference will deliver practical solutions to the other short term and long term issues confronted by human resources. I look forward to the legal update, the keynote speeches, [...]


Whether the Family & Medical Leave Act applies to tribes is an open question with an argument that it applies and an argument it does not apply.  Many tribal employers provide job protected leave which is similar to or the same as the FMLA.  The federal Department of Labor enforces the FMLA and its work includes the publication of forms frequently used by employers to comply with the FMLA.  Those forms just changed and I [...]

Drafting Tribal Employment Laws & Handbooks was recently published and is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Xlibris and wherever you purchase books.

Drafting Tribal Employment Laws & Handbooks is a practical guide to drafting comprehensive tribal employment laws and the policies included in tribal government, casino and enterprise handbooks. The book explains why this is important and illustrates how to get these documents created and accepted. The book will help tribal leaders, administrators, lawyers, directors and managers either create these laws and policies or improve the laws and policies presently on the books. Drafting Tribal Employment Laws & [...]

Gratitude & Opportunities

A thank you, a book, investigations, hearings and more articles. First and foremost, I continue to be exceedingly grateful to my colleagues at tribal governments and enterprises for the opportunity to serve during this difficult time.  Even though we are not meeting face to face, we are meeting by phone and videoconference.  That may not be the perfect option but it is the best solution…and it is working.  We are discussing the return of employees, [...]

Employer Liability Issues During COVID

Outside of Indian Country, an early May 2020 count revealed dozens of COVID-19 employment related lawsuits in federal courts.  Eight lawsuits alleged violations related to leaves of absence, six were for discrimination and harassment, five for wage and hour claims, three for workplace safety, three for constitutional and civil rights and two for labor issues.  As tribal employers return employees to the workplace, here is a brief overview of potential issues which may generate litigation. [...]

Tribal Employer Reopen Policies

Tribal employers are confronted with the difficult decision of inviting employees back to the tribal workplace to provide the needed services to their tribal members and communities and reopen the businesses which fund those governmental programs.  When a tribal employer reopens those governmental operations (essential government functions and enterprises) are there policies which should be created or modified to address these unique times?  The answer is yes and here are some draft policies for your [...]

Three Questions Returning Employees

In this edition three questions are addressed which are relevant to employees returning to work for tribal governments, casinos and other entities.  I have benefitted from consulting with NNAHRA President Judy Wright in thinking about these questions. Can a tribal employer discipline an employee for refusal to work generated by fears about contracting COVID-19 at work? Can a tribal employer terminate an employee who refuses to return to work because of lack of childcare? If [...]

Tribal Employment News-EEOC Modifies Guidance

EEOC Re-Issues Confusing Guidance   As tribal governments, casinos and other entities are reopening, there are many questions in how best to protect returning employees.  Even though the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lacks jurisdiction in most instances over tribal employers, the rules it is articulating in this difficult time can influence a tribal employer’s thinking in defining tribal rules.  EEOC modified its guidance to address those employees who have medical conditions that make them [...]

Will your handbook disclaimer be enough?

In a recent state court decision the court evaluated whether the employer's employee handbook created an implied contract, and if it did, could the implied contract be enforced?  Contracts can be explicit or can be implied.  Explicit contracts, for example, are paper contracts which when signed by the parties to the contract are enforceable.  In other words, paper contracts if broken can be the subject of a lawsuit and the court can force the breaching party [...]

Two Parts: (1) Furlough versus Lay-Off (2) More FMLA FAQs

The first portion of this edition of Tribal Employment News addresses the distinction between furlough, lay-off and reduction-in-force.  The second portion includes the federal Department of Labor’s expanded FAQs on the modified version of the FMLA.  FAQs 40 through 62 were added over the weekend. Furlough versus Lay-Off versus Reduction-in-Force Generally speaking a furlough is a non-disciplinary suspension from work without pay for a specific length of time.  Employers are also using the term temporary lay-off [...]