Legal Issues

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Can Crosses on Holiday Invitations Create a Hostile Work Environment?

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By Eric B. Meyer

Remember yesterday, when I was talking about religious accommodations, I said, “Treat all religions equally.”

That same rule applies to casting out the evil devil of religious discrimination generally.

Rich v. Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service, Inc. involves an Jewish employee who claimed, among other things, that her Christian co-workers created a religiously hostile work environment for her. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

A Lesson on Religious Accommodation From Monday Night Football

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By Eric B. Meyer

After scoring a touchdown against the New England Patriots on Monday night, Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah dropped to his knees and prayed.

As Kevin Draper at Deadspin.com reports, a tweet from Abdullah’s brother further confirmed that the player’s post-TD celebration was a Muslim prayer.

Except the referees responded with a 15-yard penalty on the Chiefs for excessive celebration, for which the NFL later accepted blame.

Oops. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

EEOC Files Its First Ever Transgender Discrimination Lawsuits

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By Eric B. Meyer

Bending iPhone6‘s? Derek Jeter’s last home game in Yankee pinstripes? Attorney General Eric Holder to resign?

Bah!

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was the one stealing the headlines yesterday — err, doing something that I decided to be most blogworthy. Read more…

Legal Issues

When Misconduct at Home Turns Into Discipline at Work

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By Jennifer B. Sandberg

Domestic violence is wrong.

So are many other actions such as driving while intoxicated, check fraud, soliciting for sex, speeding, public drunkenness, abuse of prescription drugs, sex with a minor, vandalism, tax evasion, bigamy, etc. 

Of course, we have laws against such actions in order to maintain the type of society that we deem to be acceptable and those criminal laws regulate the interactions among the members of society.

Enforcement of our laws requires that the applicable criminal justice system “prove” that wrongful conduct occurred before an individual is punished. The level of proof required is high as the punishment can result in jail or serious limitations on personal freedom. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Congress Critical of EEOC’s Policy Towards Background Checks

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Congress is showing signs of life in the constant fight for employers to conduct reasonable background checks.

Representative Tim Walberg, R, Mich., chairman of the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, held the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s feet to the fire in a hearing on Sept. 17, 2014. The hearing focused on three recently introduced bills aimed to increase the accountability and transparency of the EEOC and to offer employers limited protections in the use of criminal history. Read more…

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…