Legal

The Line Blurs: Discrimination and Stereotyping

Employers are best advised to maintain a zero-tolerance policy regarding discrimination based on gender stereotyping or sexual orientation.

In Christiansen v. Omnicom Group Inc., the Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit reaffirmed its decisions holding that Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination does not reach discrimination or harassment based on sexual orientation. The 2nd Circuit, however, reversed the decision of the trial court granting the employer’s motion to dismiss with regard to Christiansen’s claim for gender stereotyping….

Treat Harassment by Non-employees no Differently Than Harassment by Employees

An employer’s obligations to an employee harassed by a non-employee are exactly the same as if the alleged perpetrator was an employee

Consider the following lawsuit the EEOC filed against a California senior-care provider: The civil rights agency found that Rashon Sturdivant, an experienced care provider, faced daily harassment, including racially offensive remarks about “brown sugar” and “black butts,” requests to perform sexual acts, and lewd comments about her body. The client also masturbated in front of her and groped her when she performed…

Court: Religious Accommodation Request Isn’t Protected Activity

Still, employers should not view this lone district court case as a mandate empowering them to deny accommodation requests free from risk.

A Minnesota federal court has ruled that an employee’s request for a religious accommodation did not qualify as protected activity to support the employee’s retaliation claim. EEOC v. North Memorial Health Care (D. Minn. 7/6/17) involves a hospital that withdrew a conditional job offer to a nurse after she disclosed that she was a Seventh-day Adventist and could not work Friday nights because…

Medical Pot, Disability Bias and the Massachusetts Supreme Court

What does the Barbuto case mean from a practical standpoint? It exhibits the first crack in the hard line against employees’ use of medical marijuana.

In what is believed to be the first decision of its kind, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has allowed an employee to pursue a disability discrimination claim based on the use of medical marijuana. Christine Barbuto suffered from Crohn’s disease and legally used medically prescribed marijuana in the evening to manage her symptoms. She disclosed her marijuana use to Advantage…

A Reminder That Any Employee Can Sue You at Any Time

Rule of thumb: Before you terminate, make sure that you are imposing similar punishment for similar misconduct to all employees.

Today’s lesson may seem obvious, but it is one worth repeating: any employee, no matter the on-the-job misconduct, can sue you. Filing a lawsuit is one thing, succeeding on that lawsuit is an entirely different animal. Case in point: Robinson v. Klosterman Baking Co.(S.D. Ohio 7/5/17). Michael Robinson was not what one would call one of Klosterman Baking’s exemplary employees. Klosterman…

Disabilities Offer a Challenge for Job Seekers and the Workplace

All employees deserve access to tools to succeed at work.

After spending 75 days in the hospital, 12 of which were in a coma, and then several months after that in a wheelchair, Meredith Morgan faced another daunting challenge — finding a job. “I know how hard it can be to find a job for just about anyone, but it’s extremely hard to find one with a disability,” said Morgan….

One State Looks to put Enforcement Muscle Behind Workplace Concealed Carry Law

Instead of complaining about it and threatening non-compliance, now is the time to invest in implementing an Active Shooter/Emergency Action Plan.

It’s been six months since Ohio made it illegal for employers to prohibit employees (or anyone else for that matter) from storing a firearm in their vehicles on the employer’s property. This law, however, lacks any specific statutory teeth (sort of). If Ohio legislators get their way, this omission will soon change. Am. Sub. H.B. 49 proposes to add the following…

More on Why Holding Lawyers Liable for Retaliation to a Client’s Employee is a Bad Ruling

As the 9th Circuit's Arias v. Raimondo ruling showed, it’s dangerous for courts to hold an employer’s lawyer liable for retaliation against the employees of the lawyer’s client.

Yesterday’s post discussing Arias v. Raimondo as the worst employment-law decision of 2017 was way more controversial than I imagined. To me, it’s a no-brainer. It’s dangerous for courts to hold an employer’s lawyer liable for retaliation against the employees of the lawyer’s client. It will chill an attorney’s ability to give proper advice to one’s client, because anything that remotely could result in an…

9th Circuit’s Arias v. Raimondo Ruling May Be the Year’s Worst Employment Law Decision

Add the 9th Circuit to my California tourist stops in July, because this decision is flat-out bonkers.

I’ll be vacationing in California with my family the first two weeks of July. After reading the 9th Circuit Court’s decision in Arias v. Raimondo — holding an employer’s attorney liable for FLSA retaliation against his client’s employee because the employee sued his client for unpaid overtime — I’m thinking of adding the 9th Circuit to my list of tourist stops in San…

A Contrary (and Common Sense) Appellate View on Rude Employees and the NLRA

If an employer has a good faith belief that an employee’s conduct violates a policy, the NLRB cannot overturn the employer’s good faith decision.

It’s been six weeks since I reported on NLRB v. Pier Sixty, in which the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals held that the National Labor Relations Act protected the profanity-laced Facebook rant of a disgruntled employee. I have hoped that Pier Sixty is an aberration. Thankfully, last week the 1st Circuit came along with a well reasoned contrarian view in…