Legal Issues

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Court Gives EEOC’s Attack on Basic Severance Agreements a Big Setback

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By Eric B. Meyer

Earlier this year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a federal lawsuit against CVS in which it claimed that drug store chain “conditioned the receipt of severance benefits for certain employees on an overly broad severance agreement set forth in five pages of small print.”

Specifically, the EEOC took issue with several common provisions that you guys probably use in your severance agreements:

  • A general release;
  • A non-disparagement obligation; Read more…
Legal Issues

“Subtle Bias” – What Employers Should Know Before It Becomes a Lawsuit

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By Eric B. Meyer

I recently read this CareerBuilder poll, which found that the majority of workers don’t aspire to leadership roles. Here are the numbers:

  • One in five (5) workers (20 percent) feel his or her organization has a glass ceiling —  an unseen barrier preventing women and minorities from reaching higher job levels.
  • However, when looking only at workers who aspire to management and senior management positions, the percentage increases to 24 percent and is even higher among females (33 percent), Hispanics (34 percent), African Americans (50 percent) and workers with disabilities (59 percent). Read more…
HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

How Swift Response to Racial Slurs Defused a Discrimination Claim

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By Eric B. Meyer

You have an employee handbook, an anti-harassment policy, training, the whole nine yards.

But sometimes, notwithstanding your best efforts to create a positive, respectful workplace, you receive a complaint from an employee who claims to be the victim of harassment based on [insert protected class here].

All the measures you’ve already installed mean nothing unless you respond to the that complaint appropriately. Read more…

Legal Issues, Talent Management

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: What You Should Know About Ban the Box

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Cue the Western music….

A lot of employers are nervous about a new villain riding into town called “Ban the Box.” It refers a movement that has been successfully convincing legislators to force employers to remove the box on job applications that asks applicants the question “Have you been convicted of crime?

There has been a real showdown between advocates and opponents of Ban the Box, oftentimes with employers caught in the middle.

So what are the pros and cons of Ban the Box, and how do organizations avoid having things turn ugly? Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Senate Grills Former Recess Appointment Renominated to NLRB

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By Michael J. Lotito

A day after the U.S. Senate returned from its summer recess, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing to discuss the nomination of former recess appointee Sharon Block to be a member of the National Labor Relations Board.

President Obama announced his intent to re-nominate Block to the NLRB in July. Block previously served as a member of the Board from January 2012 – when the President seated her and two other members via recess appointment – until the summer of 2013, when her nomination was withdrawn as part of a Senate deal to allow votes on the five current NLRB members. Read more…

HR Management, Legal Issues

EEOC Is Now Taking on Fitness-For-Duty Medical Releases

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By Eric B. Meyer

Congratulations!

Your fitness-for-duty employee medical examinations are job-related or consistent with business necessity. So, they pass muster with under the Americans with Disabilities Act. But, what about the medical information you request from employees in connection with the exam?

Oh yeah, there’s that too…

So, might you be violating not only the ADA, but also the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act? Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Court: ADA Requires Accommodating Employees With Angry Outbursts

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By Eric B. Meyer

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that employers provide reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities when doing so will allow them to perform the essential functions of their job.

In Assaturian v. Hertz Corp., the plaintiff had a series of ailments, which the defendant admitted were ADA disabilities. But, one of the symptoms of these disabilities were angry outbursts, which were directed at subordinates.

(The parties agreed that the plaintiff had anger issues, but disagreed about whether the plaintiff had made the defendant aware of either this disabilities or the symptoms of those disabilities). Read more…

HR Insights, Legal Issues

Advice to Remember: An Attorney’s Take on How to Use Email on the Job

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By Howard Mavity

Electronic communications are a mixed blessing.

Business is more efficient and new ways of commerce continue to open. However, ubiquitous electronic communications have eroded our personal time and presented near-addicting distractions.

From a legal standpoint, electronic communications, and especially email, not only creates damaging evidence but may even contribute to legal claims. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Yes, Employees Can Curse Their Boss on Facebook and Get Away With It

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By Eric B. Meyer

Can an employee curse out their boss on Facebook and get away with it?

It’s easier than you think. Indeed, a recent decision from the National Labor Relations Board bears this out.

As we’ve discussed before, the National Labor Relations Act, gives covered employees (that would include not just those in unionized workplaces, but many, many folks in non-union jobs too) the right to discuss the terms and conditions of their jobs (stuff like pay, benefits, crappy bosses, etc.) together. Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

For the First Time, EEOC Directly Challenges a Workplace Wellness Program

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By Russell D. Chapman

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed its first lawsuit directly challenging the operation of a wellness program.

In EEOC v. Orion Energy Systems, the EEOC alleged that the employer imposed a wellness program on its employees in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

According to the complaint filed Aug. 20, 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the EEOC claims that the defendant, Orion Energy Systems, administered a wellness program in which employees were asked to complete a health risk assessment, which included questions regarding medical history and blood work. Read more…