Legal

What Is Your Profession Doing to Combat Harassment? Mine Appears to be Doing a Lot

Are you part of the harassment solution or part of the harassment problem?

The policy-making body of the American Bar Association has adopted a formal resolution that urges legal employers to prohibit, prevent, and promptly redress sexual harassment and retaliation claims. Moreover, to make sure that law-firm leaders are paying close enough attention, Resolution 302  also urges that firms adopt measures to ensure that the heads of law firms are informed of the financial…

Happy 25th FMLA … and Happy #SuperSickMonday

Congress and the White House must do more to protect the sanctity of the family by looking at reasonable expansions to the FMLA to offer greater protections to workers who need time off from work.

Last night, my Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl. Today, the FMLA turns 25. Over the past 25 years, it is estimated that employees have used the Family Medical and Leave Act over 200 million times to take job-protected, unpaid time off work to address their own serious medical condition or care for a family member. And yet, in those…

ADA Doesn’t Guarantee More Leave Beyond FMLA

The 7th Circuit Court held that the company did not violate the ADA by denying an employee additional time off after he exhausted his FMLA leave.

For seven years, Raymond Severson worked as a fabricator of retail display fixtures, a physically demanding job, for Heartland Woodcraft Inc. At the end of a 12-week leave under the FMLA to deal with back pain Severson underwent surgery, which required that he take an additional two to three months off from his job to recover. Heartland denied Severson’s request…

A Fowl Plea for Emotional Support: ‘Can I Bring My Peacock to Work?’

The ADA makes no reasonable accommodation allowance for 'emotional support animals' of any species and of any size. Period.

United Airlines has blocked a customer from bringing her “emotional support peacock” on a recent flight. Truth be told, whether it was a large peacock, or a small parakeet, or a dog, or any other animal labeled “emotional support,” the airline acted well within its rights, whether dealing with a customer or an employee. The ADA makes no reasonable accommodation…

Is Employee Copying of Documents Protected Activity or Unlawful Stealing?

The first instinct is to assume that the employee is engaged in something nefarious and fire the rascal. But wait ... .

It’s a situation that plays out all too often. An employee emails a slew of documents to a personal email address, or drags them into a personal Dropbox, or copies them to a stick drive. Your first instinct is to assume that the employee is engaged in something nefarious, fire the employee, and even sue for misappropriation of trade secrets/confidential…

Vintage Concepts Can Help Guard Against Workplace Scandals

Virtuous management is an old-school solution to modern office issues.

“It’s vintage.” This is how I find myself describing many of my possessions lately. And while I admit that I’ve used the term as a crutch to describe stuff that is really just ripe for the garbage heap, there is also much inherent value in vintage items. Just because something has been around for a while doesn’t mean it has…

The Wile E. Coyote Method of Noncompete Litigation

Sometimes you win an injunction. Sometimes the court drops a big boulder on your head.

Wile E. Coyote. Forever chasing the Roadrunner. Always ending up falling off a cliff or crushed under a giant boulder. Noncompete litigation. Sometimes you win an injunction. Sometimes the court drops a big boulder on your head. Suppose after leaving your company, an ex-employee begins soliciting his former co-workers to join him at his new venture. That employee had signed…

Legal Lessons Courtesy of a Year’s Worth of Bad Bosses

It’s scary to think that in this day and age bosses don’t know that you can’t fire someone who needs cancer surgery, or make repeated race-based comments and slurs. 

Who was the “worst” employer of 2017?  I ask this question tongue-in-cheek (sort of). Last year, I tracked the stories of 23 employers, the behavior of which was less than exemplary. From the list of 23 potential nominees, I was able to whittle it down to these four finalists. As much as I would like to say that these stories…

The 2nd Nominee for the Worst Employer of 2018 Is … the Arresting School Board

Judge for yourself whether this is worthy of consideration at year’s end.

There are lots of correct ways to respond to employee complaints. Handcuffing and arresting the employee is most definitely NOT one of them. Yet, this is exactly what the Vermilion, Louisiana, school board did when a teacher, Deyshia Hargrave, tried to raise concerns at a board meeting about a proposed raise for her boss, Superintendent Jerome Puyau. Thus, I have…

Harassment by Emojis

Love them or hate them, emojis are here to stay, which may present challenges to HR departments trying to prevent sexual harassment.

Appearing in text messages, emails, on T-shirts and even their own movie, emojis — cartoon representations of emotions and common objects — are a ubiquitous presence in people’s lives and daily communications with one another.  Seventy-one percent of Americans use visual expressions such as emojis, stickers or GIFs when texting or using mobile messaging apps, according to a 2017 survey…