Legal Issues

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

EEOC Warns That a Duty to Accommodate May Extend After Childbirth

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By Eric B. Meyer

Seems one employer may not have received the memo. Now, the EEOC is taking aim.

Over the summer, the EEOC issued new guidance on accommodating pregnant employees. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act doesn’t require reasonable accommodation for pregnant employees. That is, unless you accommodate other employees who are not considered to have a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In that case, you need to do the same for pregnant employees.

Got it? If not, Jeff Nowak has a good discussion here, focusing on light duty accommodations for pregnant employees. Read more…

HR Management, Legal Issues

4 Things You Did Today that Put Your Organization at Risk

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Employment practice lawsuits have shot up in the last decade, remaining the top dispute companies have to battle.

They’re costly, they’re tough to defend, and they can do a lot of damage to an organization’s reputation. It’s clear that HR leaders need to pay attention to the high risks that untended employee relations can create.

Without proper training and leadership from a capable human resource department, actions and decisions from management can put the entire organization at risk. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

The Importance of Having – and Following – Clear Employment Policies

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By Eric B. Meyer

Remember that Americans with Disabilities Act case involving Walgreens and the $1.39 bag of chips?

In that one, the store appeared to really step in it by firing a diabetic who ate a bag of chips from the store without paying for it. The employee claimed that she needed the chips for her diabetes. The store defended its actions by arguing that the employee violated its no-grazing policy.

Some $180,000 later, that case was settled.

I don’t know how much the chicken poppers sell for at Wal-Mart. And the recent case involving the company’s no-grazing policy didn’t settle either. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Supreme Court Will Hear Workplace Religious Discrimination Case

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By Eric B. Meyer

Have you noticed a theme here with my blog posts this week?

Yes, It’s been all about religious discrimination.

And yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it is going to decide EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., a case involving an employee who wore a headscarf (or “hijab“) to work for religious reasons, but was told to remove because it conflicted with Abercrombie’s clothing policy. Read more…

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…