Legal Issues

Benefits, Legal Issues

EEOC to Offer Employers Guidance on Wellness Programs

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By Eric B. Meyer

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is obsessed with wellness programs.

Or, as the EEOC likes to describe them “‘so-called’ wellness programs.” And not in a “yay, so-called wellness programs are super” kinda way.

No, in recent months, the EEOC has initiated litigation against companies (example, example, example) claiming that they violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Non-Disclosure Act (GINA) by both requiring medical examination and penalizing employees who decline to participate. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Troubling Questions After Record $185 Million Discrimination Award

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By Ashley Manfull

Last week, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California ruled that a former female manager of AutoZone can keep a record-breaking $185 million punitive damages award on her claims of pregnancy-related harassment, discrimination, and retaliation in Juarez v. AutoZone Stores, Inc.

In 2008, Ms. Juarez filed her complaint against AutoZone, alleging the company had a culture of discriminating against and refusing to promote female employees to management positions. Ms. Juarez was promoted to parts sales manager in 2004 after she complained about lack of promotion opportunities and threatened to sue the company. Read more…

HR Management, Legal Issues

FMLA Interference: It’s Telling an Employee “Don’t Die at the Desk”

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By Eric B. Meyer

Telling an employee returning from open-heart surgery, “Don’t die at the desk” is bad. Very bad.

Also, threatening to drag that employee outside and throw him in a ditch isn’t good either.

Yeah, that may fracture a law or two. I’m thinking the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Heck, even the Taliban would frown on that. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

NLRB: Employees’ Profane Facebook Comments Aren’t Protected Activity

Should HR and management have to monitor employees for e-mail profanity? (Illustration by Dreamstime)

By Suellen Oswald

After years of National Labor Relations Board decisions protecting employees’ profanity-laced tirades and outright threats against management in social media stream-of-consciousness posts, the Board recently said “no.”

In Richmond District Neighborhood Center, the NLRB upheld the administrative law judge’s decision that two employees’ Facebook plan for insubordination veered into the land of “unprotected” activity under the National Labor Relations Act.

At the close of the school year, employees of a teen center anonymously submitted the pros and cons of working at the center. The cons included mistreatment by management, lack of appreciation, failure to act on employee suggestions, and lack of clarity on policies controlling employee expenditures. Read more…

HR Management, Legal Issues

Another Reminder Why You Need a Good Workplace BYOD Policy

Photo illustration by istockphoto.com

By Eric B. Meyer

Is it against the law to remotely wipe an employee’s Candy Crush high score?

Replace Candy Crush high score with email contacts on a personal iPhone used for work (yes, a Bring Your Own Device situation), and you have the issue that a federal court in Texas recently tackled.

This case (Rajaee v. Design Tech Homes and Design Tech Homes of Texas) presents a set of facts not unlike those which could easily arise in your workplace. Read more…

Legal Issues, Webinars

How to Avoid Workplace Lawsuits

Attend Thursday’s webinar to receive a special $100 off registration discount code to our 2015 High Performance Workforce Summit!

This webinar will analyze why workplace disputes became employment litigation and can become an occupational safety hazard.  With the various laws and organizations regulating the workplace (EEOC, FMLA, etc.), it’s quite helpful to have a guiding hand to avoid having a workplace dispute become a full-blown employment litigation. Please join this panel of legal counsel and Plaintiff Attorney Milton Williams, Defense Attorney Daniel A. Kaplan, and Retired Judge Richard D. Eade, along with the host, attorney Mark Neuberger, as they cover the following:

  • The steps you need to take to avoid litigation;

  • If litigation is unavoidable, how to ensure a successful outcome;

  • Overview of current laws/regulations that can entail litigation;

  • And so much more!

This is one of those cases where its “better to have and not need, than to need and not have”. Information is a powerful tool and it pays to be on top of the most relevant facts and cases. Register today and ensure your spot in this upcoming webinar.

Date/Time of Webinar: November 20, 2014 at 2 pm Eastern/11 am Pacific

Registration Link: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/sgis444s1741&eom

Sponsor: PosterTracker

Can’t attend the live event?  No problem! Register and receive access to the slides and recording to view at a more convenient time!

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

President Will Withdraw Controversial NLRB Nominee

obama jobless

By Michael J, Lotito

Perhaps sensing former recess appointee Sharon Block‘s confirmation to the National Labor Relations Board would be an uphill battle, President Obama has reportedly announced that he is withdrawing her nomination.

According to a report by Edward-Isaac Dovere of Politico, the President will instead name Lauren McFerran, chief labor counsel for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (known as HELP), as his choice to be the fifth NLRB member.

Many U.S. Senators have been of the mindset that Block should not be “rewarded” with a Board position after the U.S. Supreme Court deemed hers and current Board General Counsel Richard Griffin’s recess appointments unconstitutional in Noel Canning v. NLRB. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Can You Fire an Employee For Having a “Nazi Shrine” on Facebook?

Facebook Logo

By Eric B. Meyer

Last week, I read this story in USA Today from Cam Smith, in which he reports that the North Delta Minor Hockey Association fired one of its junior hockey coaches after it learned that he had posted pictures of Nazi items and propaganda — described as a “Nazi shrine” — on his Facebook page.

The Hockey Association defended the termination in a statement in which it characterized the post as containing “extreme and objectionable material believed to be incompatible with an important purpose of our minor hockey association — to promote and encourage good citizenship.”

Now, let’s assume that this went down in the U.S. Could the former employee argue religious discrimination (with a straight face)? Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

When Sexting and Flirting isn’t Sexual Harassment At All

Sexual harassment

By Eric B. Meyer

To prove sexual harassment, a plaintiff must have been subjected to pervasive or severe behavior based on the plaintiff’s sex. Further, not only would an objective person have to find the behavior offensive, but the plaintiff must be offended as well.

Usually, when a plaintiff claims sexual harassment, a court takes for granted that conduct at issue offended the plaintiff.

But, I just read about a case that bucked the trend. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Accommodating a Disability Doesn’t Require You Displace Someone Else

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By Eric B. Meyer

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that companies provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee with a disability, if doing so will allow the employee to perform the essential functions of the job.

The ADA contemplates a number of different types of reasonable accommodations.

One such accommodation is a transfer into an open position for which the disabled employee is qualified. But what happens when there is no vacancy. Must an employer bump another non-disabled employee to accommodate the one with the disability? Read more…