Legal

New Year’s Resolutions, NLRB-Style

The agency's Peter Robb wants regional board officials to consult his office on all cases involving precedent established on workers’ rights in the last eight years.

Have you started thinking about your New Year’s resolutions for 2018? The NLRB’s newly minted general counsel Peter Robb  has, and employers will be very happy. According to NLRB General Counsel Memo 18-02 , issued Dec. 1, Robb will be examining all NLRB precedents changed during President Barack Obama’s administration. The memo specifically directs regional board officials to consult Robb’s office on all…

Our Harassment Laws Are Not the Reason for Our Sex Harassment Problem

The real issue is employers that have, for far too long, tuned a blind eye to these issues.

Last week, the New York Times ran an Op-Ed titled, Boss Grab Your Breasts? That’s Not (Legally) Harassment. It argues that our lax sexual harassment laws, and the courts that apply them, are responsible for our current workplace harassment problems. In a case that went to federal court in the early 1990s, a woman presented evidence that her supervisor tried to kiss…

Breast-Feeding Cop Wins Pregnancy Discrimination Case

Employers must accommodate breast-feeding mothers in the same manner they would employees with a similar ability or inability to work. 

After returning from a 12-week maternity leave, Stephanie Hicks, a police officer, overheard her supervisor commenting to her captain about finding ways to “get her out of here,” apparently because her leave was longer than her supervisor had wanted her to take. After only eight days back on the job, Hicks was transferred from narcotics to the patrol division, where…

Timing is Everything When Defending a Retaliation Claim

If you are going to terminate an employee on the heels of any protected activity, you best have all of your ducks in a row.

Miriam Valle worked as a ticket agent for Frank Martz Coach Company, until it fired her on Jan. 27, 2016. Two weeks prior, she had advised her immediate supervisor, Edward Steltz, that she needed to apply for FMLA leave for breast cancer surgery. Martz approved the leave to begin on Jan. 19, and was scheduled to return to work on…

No Appetite for Fluctuating Workweek OT Calculation

An authorized method of calculating wages under federal law may not be available under certain states’ laws regarding the same subject. 

In 2014, a group of managers at General Nutrition Centers Inc. retail stores in Connecticut who received sales commissions in addition to a base salary filed a lawsuit alleging that GNC’s use of the fluctuating workweek method of calculating their overtime pay shorted them on overtime pay and was a violation of state wage laws and regulations. Under the fluctuating…

Workplace Immigration Enforcement Should Not Trump Employers’ Rights

Employers should understand that they have legal rights when ICE agents call.

Since running for president, Donald Trump has made a vow to crack down on illegal immigration. Now that he is in office, he has made good on that promise. What has made some businesses nervous are Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s increasing efforts to aggressively investigate those companies that may have employed undocumented immigrants, knowingly or unwittingly. When agents enter a…

Apple Employee Gaffe Illustrates Risk Posed by YouTube Videos in Protection of Trade Secrets

However unfortunate, this story is an excellent illustration of the steps that companies are compelled to take to keep their trade secrets, well, secret.

An Apple employee lost his job this week after his daughter, Brooke Amelia Peterson, posted a YouTube video of her dad’s brand new, unreleased iPhone X. ReCode has the details: Peterson posted a five-minute video of a September day in Silicon Valley, which mostly included shopping for makeup and clothing. Harmless, and not unlike other YouTube videos posted by teenagers. But then, in…

The Next Nominee for Worst Employer of 2017 is … the Chili’s Cake Boss

If you enable a workplace culture that permits this level of harassment (especially of teenage employees), you might be the worst employer of 2017.

As we wind down the year toward voting to name our first “Worst Employer of the Year,” I thought I had all bases covered. Then I read this story on Buzzfeed: This Teen Says Her Chili’s Manager Sexually Harassed Her, and Her Coworkers Threw a Party to Shame Her As the story goes, Emily Houser (age 18) claimed that John Davidson…

Jeff Sessions Reverses Civil Rights Law’s Transgender Protection

Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared that the federal civil rights law does not protect transgender people from workplace discrimination.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated on Oct. 5 that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 will not protect transgender people from being discriminated against in the workplace. This move reverses an Obama administration policy issued three years ago. Sessions’ memo said that the anti-discrimination law does not apply to people who are transgender or are discriminated against based upon their…