Eric B. Meyer

Eric B. Meyer is a partner in the Labor and Employment Group of the Philadelphia-based law firm of Dilworth Paxson LLP . He dedicates his practice to litigating and assisting employers on labor and employment issues affecting the workplace, including collective bargaining, discrimination, employee handbook policies, enforcement of restrictive covenants, and trade secret protection. Eric also serves as a volunteer mediator for the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Contact him at emeyer@dilworthlaw.com .

Articles by Eric B. Meyer

Legal Issues

Must I Accommodate a Graveyard Shift Worker With Insomnia?

Photo by istockphoto.com.

By Eric B. Meyer

Let’s assume that you run a factory in which employees are scheduled on one of two shifts: (1) 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM; or (2) 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM.

One of your employees comes to you with a doctor’s note which states that working the graveyard shift will cause the employee to suffer migraine headaches and insomnia.

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that employers accommodate employees with disabilities if doing so will allow the employee to perform the essential functions of her job without creating undue hardship for the employer. One way in which an employer can reasonably accommodate an employee is through schedule adjustment or shift change. Read more…

Recruiting and Staffing

Worst Job Interview Ever? Maybe These Interview Blunders Can Top it

123RF Stock Photo

By Eric B. Meyer

I heard this story once about a law-school graduate who was looking for his first job out of school. He applied to several local Philadelphia-area law firms, and ultimately received an interview from one of them.

The job interview was with two seasoned partners.

According to this recent Career Builder survey, when it comes to a job interview, the first few minutes may be the most crucial. Nearly half (49 percent) of employers know within the first five minutes of an interview whether a candidate is a good or bad fit for the position, and 87 percent know within the first 15 minutes.

This interview started off well. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Appeals Court: A Vegas Trip Can Be Considered “Care” Under the FMLA

blackjack-in-las-vegas

By Eric B. Meyer

Back in 2012, I blogged here about an employee who took her mother to Las Vegas on a vacation.

The two ladies spent time playing slots, shopping on The Strip, people-watching, and dining at restaurants. The mother had terminal cancer, but had no specific plans to seek medical treatment in Las Vegas and was never hospitalized or treated by a physician.

When the employee returned to work, she soon became a former employee, immediately terminated for what her employer determined to be unauthorized absences.

The employee then sued for violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Is It Discrimination If You Get Fired For Grabbing a Co-Worker’s Bottom?

© Web Buttons Inc - Fotolia.com

By Eric B. Meyer

My ears are burning…”

No, not you, Bill Clinton.

And not you either, Homer Simpson.

I’m talking about this guy who worked as an EMT (emergency medical technician) in Pittsburgh. He was accused of grabbing his co-worker by the buttocks and placing his fingers very close to her private area. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

No Workplace Policy Can Prevent People Doing Something Really Stupid

no_stupid_people_Stupid_people_things_and_stuff-s314x477-47643-580

By Eric B. Meyer

On Martin Luther King Day, I performed community service with a few of my co-workers and my 4-year-old son. We went to a local center and spent a few hours making peanut butter sandwiches to feed the homeless.

Actually, we spent a half-hour or so making sandwiches. Most of us spent the remainder of the time continuing to make sandwiches, while my son ate peanut butter.

Win-win.

But imagine, if instead of performing community service, my co-workers and I decided to host an “MLK Black Party,” where we dressed in basketball jerseys, flashing gang signs and drank from watermelon cups. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

How a Single Kiss CAN Cause a Harassment Lawsuit

no-harassment

By Eric B. Meyer

I give a lot of “respect in the workplace” training. And I generally tell the audience that, while a single offensive comment or act in the workplace is one incident too many, one instance generally does not create a winning lawsuit.

That’s because a plaintiff must show that he/she was subjected to either severe (really, really bad) or pervasive (a lot of bad) behavior to establish a hostile work environment.

Now, there are some exceptions. New Jersey is one of the few states that has held that a single discriminatory comment can create an actionable hostile work environment claim.

But what if, instead of a slur, we have an assault; one which the plaintiff claims was not only unwelcome, but particularly disturbing? Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

EEOC Sues Employer Who Tried to Push Scientology on Workers

Tom Cruise scientology

By Eric B. Meyer

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know much about Scientology.

Why, my Scientology acumen could fill a thimble. Basically, I know that Tom Cruise is a Scientologist and Katie Holmes was a Scientologist; but, not any more.

Yeah, so anyway, last week, I read with interest, this EEOC press release, in which the federal agency announced that it had settled with a Florida employer that had allegedly tried to force Scientology on its employees. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

What Do You Do When an Employee Blasts a Racist, Insensitive Message?

justinesacco

By Eric B. Meyer

So, your public relations executive just tweeted a racist joke that went viral.

Well, it doesn’t end well for the PR exec. Just so we’re clear.

A PR Executive from IAC, which owns such online publications as The Daily Beast, Match.com, About.com, and several others, lost her job over the weekend for tweeting: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!

The PR Executive, Justine Sacco, tweeted the offensive message just before boarding her flight to South Africa. Apparently, she didn’t fly on a plane with in-flight wifi. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Bill Banning Credit Checks on Job Applicants Reintroduced in Senate

credit-report

By Eric B. Meyer

Second verse, same as the first.

Back in March, I reported here that a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, known as the Equal Employment for All Act, would amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to prohibit the use of consumer credit checks against prospective and current employees for the purposes of making adverse employment decisions.

This week, it was the Senate’s turn to get in on the act — the Equal Employment for All Act, that is. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Telling An Employee They Need to Lose Weight is NOT Discrimination

© Amy Walters - Fotolia.com

By Eric B. Meyer

Let’s talk (alleged) big butts and discrimination.

In Luster-Malone v. Cook County, Ms. Luster-Malone, a hospital employee, alleged that her supervisor told her, “‘your big fat ass needs to concentrate on losing weight,” or something to that effect.” Ms. Luster-Malone — as the story usually goes with these blog posts — was later fired.

The hospital claimed that it fired Ms. Luster-Malone for insubordination and for improperly claiming overtime benefits. Ms Luster-Malone claimed that these reasons were pre-textual and, indeed, her obesity motivated the termination. Read more…