Legal Issues

Benefits, Legal Issues

EEOC Unveils Its Proposed New Rules For Wellness Programs

From the HR blog on TLNT: workplace wellness

By Eric B. Meyer

More eagerly anticipated that the premiere of Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission yesterday released its proposed new rules on wellness programs.

If you want to have an employee wellness program that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act, here are five (5) things the EEOC wants you to do:  Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Fired for Sex Jokes, Man Claims Disability Act Violations Instead

ADA-Sign

By Eric B. Meyer

As I resist every urge to cheapen this post further by resorting to silly puns and other double entendre, allow me to set the stage of this case for you:

The plaintiff was an auto technician in the vehicle install bay at a large electronics store. According to the court’s opinion (in Sharp v. Best Buy Co., Inc.), he was familiar with the store’s zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment. Through his doctor, the plaintiff, who had narcolepsy and cataplexy, requested no shift work. With one scheduling exception, the store accommodated him.

About a year later, one of the plaintiff’s female co-workers accused him of sexual harassment. The allegations revolved around comments from the plaintiff regarding the victim and the act of fellatio. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Push to Require “Predictable Scheduling” Is Gaining Momentum

Schedule

By John E. Thompson

In February, we reported on U.S. Wage and Hour Division Administrator David Weil‘s comments that the agency is considering whether the federal Fair Labor Standards Act somehow entitles employees to “predictable scheduling.”

His remarks related to whether there is an enforceable right to a stable work schedule and to advance notice of that schedule.

Perhaps not surprisingly, it turns out that his remarks were a harbinger of apparently coordinated efforts to press for legally mandated scheduling requirements. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

A New Protected Classification? Congressional Action is in the Pipeline

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By Gregory D. Hanscom

Unless you were completely ignoring the news over the past couple of weeks, it was difficult to miss the debate spurred by the religious freedom bills that were passed in both Indiana and Arkansas.

This nationwide debate refocused attention on what many people believe to be pervasive discrimination against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. As this debate was ongoing, many people (lawyers and non-lawyers alike) were surprised to learn that sexual orientation and gender identity are not protected classifications under federal and many state anti-discrimination statutes.

Congress now appears poised to address this issue head-on. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Is Telecommuting a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA?

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By Eric B. Meyer

If you’re in a rush, I’ll hit you with the punchline and save you the trouble of reading a 1,000 plus word blog post:

Telecommuting may be a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, except where regular attendance is an essential function of the job.

For those of you with a few minutes to spare, today’s post springs from a case, a saga really, involving the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Ford Motor Company. And since I have a few good employer takeaways at the end — hey, don’t skip all the way through! — today’s post is worth the time. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

EEOC: Bathroom Restriction on Transgender Employee Was Discrimination

discrimination

By Eric B. Meyer

Exactly one month ago, I addressed what many consider to be the elephant in the room when it comes to transgender employees: Bathroom use.

On Wednesday, EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum fired off a series of tweets (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) to lawyers representing employers and employees. Below (and here) is the one she sent to my side of the bar: Read more…

HR Basics, Legal Issues

HR Basics: When Do You Have to Pay Your Employees For Travel Time?

123RF Stock Photo

By Eric B. Meyer

Let’s start this post off with a disclaimer:

I’m going to address travel time under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Many of you folks live in crazy states, like New York, that have more lenient state versions of the FLSA.

I’m not giving any advice about state laws or local laws. Heck, I’m not giving any legal advice at all. The blog’s general disclaimer applies with equal force to this post. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

When an Employee Tosses Banana Peels and Claims Discrimination

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By Eric B. Meyer

Where do I find these cases I write about, you ask? I ain’t telling.

But seriously, this case (Ennis v. Del. Transit. Corp.) isn’t so much about the particular facts …

  • White employee tosses banana peels at work.
  • Black employees complain of racism. Read more…
HR Management, Legal Issues

Here Are Some of the Various Ways You Can Get Sued by Employees

123RF Stock Photos

Don’t give co-workers erotic books

A recent Law 360 headline described a corporate senior counsel explained providing an erotic book with “playful and provocative” drawings to a fellow manager as an “innocent gift.”

He had even written an inscription which read, “a taste of Dharma Bum to remind that the Dharma breathes in and out and is nothing special,” referring, in part, to the Buddhist philosophy of life and the novel by beat writer Jack Kerouac. There are many other allegations and facts associated with the underlying discrimination claim, and I have no idea as to whether unlawful conduct actually occurred. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Labor Dept. Says Again: No More Opinions For Employers on the FLSA

Labor Department DOL

By John E. Thompson

From the federal Fair Labor Standards Act‘s inception in 1938, employers sought, and officials of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division provided, official written explanations of how that law works in particular situations.

These “opinion letters” served as an important means by which the public could develop a clearer understanding of what FLSA compliance entailed.

The then-over-70-year practice of issuing opinions ended in March 2010. Now, in a presentation to the American Bar Association, current Wage and Hour Administrator David Weil has said that the Division will not resume the issuance of opinion letters. Read more…