Legal Issues

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

It May Not Be Good to Ask Entry Level Workers to Sign Non-Competes

Jimmy-Johns-Circle-Sign

By Eric B. Meyer

My Facebook and Twitter feeds were blowing up yesterday with links to articles at NYTimes.com, The Huffington Post, and Jezebel about how the Jimmy John’s sandwich chain supposedly makes its sandwich makers and delivery drivers sign non-competition agreements.

These agreements purport to preclude employees from working for certain nearby competitors for two years after their employment with Jimmy John’s ends.

I’m not going to comment specifically on Jimmy John’s and its purported practice other than to say that I work in Philadelphia and it would be sacrilege to let a “sub sandwich” pass between these lips. But, I do have a few general pointers from employers about restrictive covenants. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Is It Discrimination If You Get Fired For Bringing a Gun to Work?

No guns firearms sign

By Eric B. Meyer

Getting fired for bringing a gun to work probably isn’t discrimination. But hey, what do you have to lose by filing the lawsuit anyway, right?

So, I was reading this opinion (Dipigney v. AutoZoners, LLC) from a New Hampshire federal court about an employee who claimed that his firing was discrimination.

Except, the thing is, a customer noticed that the employee was carrying a gun at work — his work being an auto parts store. So, the company investigates. The employee admits to HR that he had a gun at work.

The company has a policy against carrying firearms at work. So, the employee gets fired. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Appeals Court Foils the Age Discrimination Claims of “Superman”

Superman Man of Steel superhero

By Eric B. Meyer

General Zod is not impressed.

Carlyn Johnson was diligent and hard-working. As a security guard, he had a reputation of never refusing an extra shift. Indeed, his  dependability earned him the nickname, “Superman.”

Notwithstanding Mr. Johnson’s willingness to work, a field service manager expressed concern about Johnson’s ability to work long hours. This field service manager told both Johnson and Johnson’s wife that Johnson was “too old” to be working and it was “time to hang up [Johnson's] Superman cape and retire.” Read more…

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

Pray1

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…