Legal Issues

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Here’s Why You Should Never Put “Health Reasons” on a Termination Form

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By Eric B. Meyer

Happy Monday, everyone.

Glad to see I didn’t break some of your content filters on Friday with my filthy NLRB post. But, hey, just another day in the interesting life of an employment lawyer/HR professional, right?

Today, I bring you a very simple lesson, courtesy of the Philadelphia-based Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, from right here in my backyard. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

NLRB: Employee’s Vicious, Foul Facebook Post Not Grounds For Firing

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By Eric B. Meyer

By now, all of us have read the articles, which claim that the law permits your employees to complain about work on social media — and keep their jobs.

Well, that’s not exactly true. The National Labor Relations Act, which applies to most private-sector workplaces — both union and non-union — protects employees who engage in protected concerted activity. Protected concerted activity is where employees discuss working conditions with one another.

But, an employee who gripes alone is not protected. Also, vulgar and obscene comments are not protected.

Until now. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

An Ex-Employee Takes the Password to the LinkedIn Page — Now What?

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By Eric B. Meyer

Your company has set up a private LinkedIn Group.

Your company, which controls who may become a member of the Group, has seen the number of Group members swell to nearly 700. Way to go! Because it’s a private group, the names of all of the group members are not generally available to the public.

Now, let’s say that the employee whom you have appointed to manage the LinkedIn Group — the one who knows all the passwords — up and leaves. And, of course, he doesn’t return the passwords. What can you do? Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Obama Vetoes Resolution Disapproving NLRB “Quickie” Election Rule

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By Ilyse Wolens Schuman and Michael J. Lotito

As predicted, President Obama has vetoed S.J. Res. 8, a joint resolution of disapproval seeking to prevent enforcement of the National Labor Relations Board‘s so-called “quickie” or “ambush” election rule.

Under the Congressional Review Act, members of the House and Senate can vote in favor of nullifying federal agency rules by a simple majority vote. Both chambers readily approved this resolution in March. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Class Action Claim For Running Background Check Gets Tossed in Court

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Finally, a voice of reason.

Employers got some good news from a judge in the Northern District of California last week, when the court granted Paramount Picture’s motion to dismiss a class action claim for alleged Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) violations. The case was one of the many class actions that have been flooding the federal courts, disputing the validity of the disclosure form used for running a background check.

This wave of litigation has erupted over the past 12 months, putting employers on the defensive against FCRA claims seeking millions in statutory and punitive damages. The judge’s decision to dismiss the case against Paramount is a welcome development, and may be a turning point for employers facing FCRA class actions of this type. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Can an Employer Be Blamed For Employee Who Is Unfit to Work?

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By Eric B. Meyer

One week ago today, a Germanwings plane carrying 150 people crashed and killed everyone on board.

Since then, there is mounting evidence that the co-pilot, who was in great physical shape, was also suffering from mental illness which caused him to deliberately steer Flight 9525 into the French Alps.

Why didn’t Germanwings taken preventative steps? Apparently, the co-pilot hid his mental illness from his employer. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Congress Considering Bills Providing Paid Leave, Flexible Schedules

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By Ilyse Wolens Schuman

This month, a handful of bills were introduced that seek to create a national right to paid leave, and entitle employees to request flexible work terms and conditions.

The first measure, the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, known as the FAMILY Act, (H.R. 1439, S. 786), was introduced in the U.S. Senate by New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and in the House by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-CT. This legislation would establish a national, gender-neutral paid family and medical leave insurance program. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Silicon Valley Gender Bias Trial Brings Spotlight to Gender Discrimination

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By Eric B. Meyer

I intended to begin the week with a post about a company’s legal obligation to predict — yes, predict — an employee’s mental fitness for duty.

Then, I started on a brief tangent on Ellen Pao, the former partner of a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, who just lost a highly-publicized gender discrimination claim against said former employer.

And a few hundred words later, that brief tangent became its own blog post — this one. (If you want a wild lawsuit brought by an airline captain who claimed that his former employer was negligent by failing to predict that he’d have a manic in-flight episode, come back tomorrow). Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

House Committee Grills NLRB Leaders on “Quickie” Union Election Rule

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By Michael J. Lotito

This week, National Labor Relations Board Chairman Mark Pearce and General Counsel Richard Griffin, Jr. came under fire from a sharply divided group of House members during a budget subcommittee hearing.

Members pressed Griffin and Pearce on the recent string of NLRB policies that will have a significant impact on labor policy and the ability of employers to manage their businesses.

In their opening statements, Pearce and Griffin reiterated that the NLRB has had to do more with less in recent years, and that the work they do is critical to ensuring that labor groups and employers treat each other appropriately. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Supreme Court Clarifies Rules Against Pregnancy Discrimination, Sort Of

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By Eric B. Meyer

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court kinda, sorta clarified pregnancy accommodation rules at work.

I’ll do my best to sort it out for you.

Let’s assume that you have a pregnant employee who tells you that she has a lifting restriction. In the past, you have accommodated employees with disabilities who had similar lifting restrictions. You’ve also done the same for folks who got injured on the job and others who lost their U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) certifications.

If you don’t provide the same accommodation to the pregnant employee, have you violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)? Read more…