Court: It’s OK for an Employee to Curse Out His Boss on Facebook

Have no fear, employers, for despite the NLRB’s victory, the 2nd Circuit did find this to be a close case.

It’s been two years since the NLRB determined that section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act protected an employee’s profanity laced Facebook rant simply because he ended it with a pro union message. I held out hope that the court of appeals would see the folly in the decision and send a clear message to employees and employers that…

Trump’s ‘Buy American, Hire American’ a Disturbing Slap at Title VII

Title VII still prohibits national origin discrimination. And, no, this Executive Order does nothing to change Title VII’s impact.

Last week, President Trump signed his “Buy American, Hire American“ Executive Order. The EO encourages American businesses to buy American-made products and hire American workers. Come again? Does that say hire American workers? Doesn’t Title VII prohibit national origin discrimination? Yes, Title VII still prohibits national origin discrimination. And, no, this Executive Order does nothing to change Title VII’s impact….

LGBT Discrimination Coverage Under Title VII Hits the 6th Circuit

The decision in R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes is one of the key cases to watch in 2017-18.

The 6th Circuit is considering whether Title VII’s definition of “sex discrimination.” EEOC v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes alleges that the funeral home fired its funeral director because she is transgender and transitioning from male to female. The Eastern District of Michigan concluded that Title VII does not expressly cover LGBT discrimination, and limited the sex discrimination claim to a…

H-1B Visas Get the Ink but Key Workplace H-4 EAD Visa at Risk, Too

We know now that the Trump administration is trying to decide whether to retain the H-4 EAD rule or issue a modified rule, which is a matter beyond the Indian community.

Unnoticed by politicians or pundits, buried by headlines about travel bans and undocumented workers, is the possibility that well over 100,000 individuals gainfully employed in the United States may be about to lose their legally acquired work authorization. They are the holders of the little-known H-4 visas, which they receive as dependent spouses of foreigners who are entitled to work…

Costco Accountable for not Ending Abuse

Employers have a duty to protect their employees from the harassment of customers.

Dawn Suppo worked at Costco’s Glenview, Illinois, location between 2009 and 2012. Between August 2010 and September 2011, a customer, Thad Thompson, harassed Suppo by regularly stalking her around the store, remarking on her looks, asking her about the men in her life and touched her at least twice without her permission. Suppo claims that she was vocal about her…

6th Circuit Avoids Key Legal Issue but Still Absolves UAW of Racial Harassment

Just because a working environment is not unlawfully hostile does not mean that you should ignore it if it comes to your attention.

Samuel Gompers, founder of the American Federation of Labor, wrote that “herever trade unions are most firmly organized, there are the rights of the people most respected.” But Gompers wasn’t quite right if Tanganeka Phillips’s claims are true; she alleges that one of the largest unions in North America discriminated against her on the basis of race. When a judicial…

Promotion After Protected Activity Dooms Employee’s Retaliation Claim

Retaliation and discrimination cases hinge on a 'more likely' standard.

What does unlawful retaliation not look like? Burton v. Board of Regents of Univ. of Wisc. Sys. (7th Cir. 3/17/17) offers a good example. Sabina Burton, a tenured track professor at the University of Wisconsin, claimed that she suffered retaliation after complaining about witnessing sexual harassment within her department. As a result, she claimed that her colleagues withdrew support for a…

A Lesson on Workplace Posters From of All Places, ‘Homeland’

What posters are you required to post? There are a bunch.

If you’re on the Showtime TV feature “Homeland” and operating a covert, CIA backed, sock-puppet misinformation operation, where do you hang your workplace posters? In your interrogation room, of course. State and federal laws require that all employers have posters conspicuously placed in the workplace. What posters are you required to post? There are a bunch, although your mileage will…

Historic Ruling Bans Workplace LGBT Discrimination

Among the more interesting aspects of this case was the court’s discussions of the role of judges in interpreting statutes.

If you spend any time reading or watching the news today, you will inevitably encounter much about the 7th Circuit’s historic (and correct, in my opinion) decision in Hivley v. Ivy Tech Community College . You can read the background of this case here. The court expressly held that “a person who alleges that she experienced employment discrimination on the basis of…

Court OKs FLSA Emotional Distress Damages

Employers face increased potential liability for retaliation claims under the FLSA, even on relatively small claims.

The plaintiff, Pineda, brought claims against his former employer, JTCH Apartments, for unpaid overtime and retaliation. Pineda had worked as a handyman for JTCH Apartments performing maintenance around the apartment building where he lived. JTCH compensated Pineda in part by providing him with a discount on his rent. Pineda filed a complaint for unpaid overtime, and three days later JTCH…