HR News & Trends

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Fired for Sex Jokes, Man Claims Disability Act Violations Instead

ADA-Sign

By Eric B. Meyer

As I resist every urge to cheapen this post further by resorting to silly puns and other double entendre, allow me to set the stage of this case for you:

The plaintiff was an auto technician in the vehicle install bay at a large electronics store. According to the court’s opinion (in Sharp v. Best Buy Co., Inc.), he was familiar with the store’s zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment. Through his doctor, the plaintiff, who had narcolepsy and cataplexy, requested no shift work. With one scheduling exception, the store accommodated him.

About a year later, one of the plaintiff’s female co-workers accused him of sexual harassment. The allegations revolved around comments from the plaintiff regarding the victim and the act of fellatio. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Push to Require “Predictable Scheduling” Is Gaining Momentum

Schedule

By John E. Thompson

In February, we reported on U.S. Wage and Hour Division Administrator David Weil‘s comments that the agency is considering whether the federal Fair Labor Standards Act somehow entitles employees to “predictable scheduling.”

His remarks related to whether there is an enforceable right to a stable work schedule and to advance notice of that schedule.

Perhaps not surprisingly, it turns out that his remarks were a harbinger of apparently coordinated efforts to press for legally mandated scheduling requirements. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

A New Protected Classification? Congressional Action is in the Pipeline

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By Gregory D. Hanscom

Unless you were completely ignoring the news over the past couple of weeks, it was difficult to miss the debate spurred by the religious freedom bills that were passed in both Indiana and Arkansas.

This nationwide debate refocused attention on what many people believe to be pervasive discrimination against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. As this debate was ongoing, many people (lawyers and non-lawyers alike) were surprised to learn that sexual orientation and gender identity are not protected classifications under federal and many state anti-discrimination statutes.

Congress now appears poised to address this issue head-on. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Talent Management

Ethical Sourcing: If It’s Good For Coffee, It’s Good For Talent, Too

Starbucks_barista

I read in the newspaper yesterday morning that Starbucks has achieved an incredible milestone for the ethical sourcing of virtually all its coffee – 99 percent!

This means that more than 400 million pounds of coffee served globally meets really tough economic, environmental and social standards for growers from whom they buy their coffee.

According to Starbucks’ website, they take a “comprehensive approach to ethical sourcing, using responsible purchasing practices; farmer support; economic, social and environmental standards; industry collaboration and community development programs.” And it’s all verified by third parties like C.A.F.E. (Coffee and Farmer Equity) Practices, Fair Trade and Certification Global Services. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Recruiting and Staffing

Can Jobcase Really Give LinkedIn a Run For Its Money?

jobcase-logo

In a world of 100,000 (more or less) job boards, there’s one for practically every occupation, industry, and personal interest.

The few big players — Indeed, CareerBuilder, SnagAJob, SimplyHired among them — count their monthly visitors in the millions and their dollars in the double-digit millions. The majority of commercial career sites, though, gross less than a million annually and have far fewer visitors in a year.

When they’re not worrying about what Indeed will do to their business, they’re worrying about what LinkedIn will do. Or about each other.

It makes you wonder why anyone, let alone a former Wall Street fund manager, would want to jump into the business. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Is Telecommuting a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA?

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By Eric B. Meyer

If you’re in a rush, I’ll hit you with the punchline and save you the trouble of reading a 1,000 plus word blog post:

Telecommuting may be a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, except where regular attendance is an essential function of the job.

For those of you with a few minutes to spare, today’s post springs from a case, a saga really, involving the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Ford Motor Company. And since I have a few good employer takeaways at the end — hey, don’t skip all the way through! — today’s post is worth the time. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

EEOC: Bathroom Restriction on Transgender Employee Was Discrimination

discrimination

By Eric B. Meyer

Exactly one month ago, I addressed what many consider to be the elephant in the room when it comes to transgender employees: Bathroom use.

On Wednesday, EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum fired off a series of tweets (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) to lawyers representing employers and employees. Below (and here) is the one she sent to my side of the bar: Read more…

HR News & Trends

Hiring is Getting Harder: Time-to-Fill Average at Highest Level in 15 Years

hiring

The national time-to-fill average rose in February to the highest level in 15 years.

Sponsored by the career sites publisher Dice Holdings, the Dice-DFH Vacancy Duration Measure says it took an average of 26.8 working days to fill jobs in February. In January, according to the report, the average (as revised) was 25.7 working days.

“We are continuing to see signs of a tightening labor market,” said Michael Durney, president and CEO of Dice Holdings. “ Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

When an Employee Tosses Banana Peels and Claims Discrimination

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By Eric B. Meyer

Where do I find these cases I write about, you ask? I ain’t telling.

But seriously, this case (Ennis v. Del. Transit. Corp.) isn’t so much about the particular facts …

  • White employee tosses banana peels at work.
  • Black employees complain of racism. Read more…
HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Labor Dept. Says Again: No More Opinions For Employers on the FLSA

Labor Department DOL

By John E. Thompson

From the federal Fair Labor Standards Act‘s inception in 1938, employers sought, and officials of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division provided, official written explanations of how that law works in particular situations.

These “opinion letters” served as an important means by which the public could develop a clearer understanding of what FLSA compliance entailed.

The then-over-70-year practice of issuing opinions ended in March 2010. Now, in a presentation to the American Bar Association, current Wage and Hour Administrator David Weil has said that the Division will not resume the issuance of opinion letters. Read more…