Legal

Is LGBT Discrimination Finally Coming to a Head?

This issue is certain to heat up over the coming months, as we are set for what may be a final showdown in both the courts and at the EEOC.

Two stories this week caught my attention: EEOC Sues Malcolm S. Gerald & Associates for Sexual Orientation Discrimination; and Is the EEOC going “wishy-washy” on LGBT rights at work? The former is a press release from the EEOC, touting a recently filed case in which the EEOC alleges sexual orientation discrimination under Title VII. The latter is a discussion of…

What It’s Like to Be Sued By Your Employee

If you’ve never been sued as an employer, congratulations. You are likely just lucky, and not just good at employer-ing.

When you litigate, you’re losing. This is an odd statement for a litigator to make. But it’s true. When you litigate, the only people that “win” are the lawyers. It’s for this reason that I believe that every claim or potential claim should settle. The two key considerations are when and for how much. Understanding this fundamental truth, the only way…

The Next Nominee for Worst Employer of 2017 Is … the Pumping Preventer

If you tell a lactating employee to 'wrap those boobs up' so that she can get back to work, you might be the worst employer of 2017.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a six-figure verdict in favor of a Stephanie Hicks, a former narcotics task force investigator for the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, police department. She sued, and won, after her former employer refused to permit her to pump her breast milk after returning from maternity leave. Refused might be an over-exaggeration. But not by much. The…

Social Media Disclosure Is So 2008

Do you want to be viewed as Big Brother? Or, do you want practices that engender honesty and openness?

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — George Santayana It’s been eight long years since Bozeman, Montana, set the internet on fire by requiring that job applicants for municipal positions turn over passwords to their personal social media accounts as part of the application process. In the wake of that story, states rushed to introduce…

Defining the Line Between Lawful (but Awful) Bullying and Unlawful Harassment

The best course of action to avoid whether boorish office behavior crosses the line from lawful bullying to unlawful harassment is simple: don’t employ assholes.

Consider the following allegations of sexual harassment levied by Pamela Daniels, a secretary in the Pike County (Ohio) Prosecutor’s Office, against her boss, County Prosecutor Charles Robert Junk. And then let’s answer the age-old question — lawful (but awful) bullying or unlawful harassment? (1) he permitted male diversion officers (excluding Jason Savage) to work hours other than 8:30 a.m. to…

Letter to Employees During EEOC Probe May Violate Discrimination Laws

If you feel that you need to inform your employees of a pending investigation, your words may open you to further liability.

Suppose an employee files an EEOC charge of discrimination against you. And, further suppose that during the investigation, you receive a request from the agency for the name and contact information for all similarly situated employees. You correctly assume that the EEOC may use the information to contact your employees for investigatory interviews. Do you: Allow the EEOC process to…

Apparently Labor Rights of Strikers Top Non-harassment Rights of Workers

It's hands off when the comments are made by striking workers and are directed at a group of replacements crossing said picket line.

There exists only one workplace environment in which a white employee can keep his job after yelling the following at a group of African-American employees. “Hey, did you bring enough KFC for everyone?” “Go back to Africa, you bunch of f***ing losers.” “Hey anybody smell that? I smell fried chicken and watermelon.” A gold star for you if you answered…

Would You Let Your Employer Microchip You?

Microchips are for pets, not employees. Let’s keep it that way.

Our family dog, Loula, is microchipped. Our vet offered it to us as a service when Loula first joined our family. It provides some peace of mind in the sad event that Loula goes missing and ends up in a shelter or vet office. They would be able to read the rice-grain-sized RFID chip embedded in her leg, discover that…

Employee Wrongfully Terminated for Online Rant

While an employee’s social media post might be offensive to a manager or the employer that does not mean it is unprotected.

Hernan Perez was a server for Pier Sixty LLC, a catering company, for 13 years. During a tense union organizing drive and following what Perez viewed as disrespectful treatment, Perez posted a message on his personal Facebook page calling his supervisor a “NASTY MOTHER F—ER” and “a LOSER,” saying “f— his mother and his entire f—ing family,” and then concluding…

Is Joint Employment the Issue That Unites Our Divided Government?

It's an issue that could build a peace bridge over the streets and through the halls of Washington, D.C.

I cannot recall a time when our government has been more divided across ideological and party lines. (I don’t count the early 1860s, because that’s not a time a can remember.) Thankfully, an issue has come along to build a peace bridge over the streets and through the halls of Washington, D.C. This issue — joint employment, via the Save Local…