Legal Issues

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…

HR Management, Legal Issues

4 Things We Learned From a Recent Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

discrimination

A small business located in New Castle PA, Ezeflow USA, Inc, recently settled a disability discrimination lawsuit for $65,000 before it went to trial.

On top of the $65,000 settlement and legal fees, the company has agreed to invest further time and money into revising its policies and provide training to its employees. This amount of time and money spent would have a serious impact on just about any small business.

For some, this might put them out of business entirely. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

English-Only Work Rules May Discriminate – and Violate Labor Law, Too

english-only-zone

By Eric B. Meyer

A few years ago, I posed this question: Is a workplace “English-only” rule legal?

Yadda, yadda, yadda, sometimes.

That is, in this Compliance Manual, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission confirms that employers may adopt English-only rules under certain circumstances, insofar as it is adopted for non-discriminatory reasons (e.g., safety, business necessity) and not to discriminate on the basis of national origin. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Can You Get Into an Employee’s Messages on a Company-Issued iPad?

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By Eric B. Meyer

Does a company invade an employee’s privacy by accessing personal texts on a work-issued iPad?

This “invasion of privacy” question is the lynchpin of a new lawsuit from two former employees of one of the largest beer companies in the world. The complaint (Nascimento v. Anheuser Busch), which began in state court, has been removed to federal court in New Jersey.

David Gialanella, reporting for the New Jersey Law Journal, summarizes the facts of the case: Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Can Just Cashing a Paycheck Waive an Employee’s FLSA Overtime Claim?

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By Eric B. Meyer

I’ve gotta hand it to the company in this recent federal appellate court opinion in Beaufort v. ActionLink, LLC. The company almost — soooooo close — avoided several claims for unpaid overtime.

Let me set the stage for you. Back in 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor began investigating a complaint that a marketing company had misclassified some employees and failed to pay overtime. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Congress Has Spoken, Mr. President: No “Quickie” Union Elections

obama jobless

By Lori Armstrong Halber

In the words of House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline, R-MN, “Today, Congress voted to stop an unelected board of bureaucrats from trampling on the rights of America’s workers and job creators.”

The House of Representatives voted Thursday to join the Senate and send a resolution to President Obama blocking the National Labor Relations Board’s Ambush Election Rule, implemented on Dec. 12, 2014 and scheduled to take effect next month, on April 14, 2015. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

39 Reasons Why Your Employee Handbook May Violate the Law

Employee Handbook

By Eric B. Meyer

The National Labor Relations Board issued a report this week from General Counsel Richard Griffin, Jr. replete with examples of how your employee handbook is overly broad and violates the National Labor Relations Act.

The purpose of the report is to educate employers, with recent case developments, on what can and cannot be included in an employee handbook.

What can’t be included is anything that could chill your employees from discussing the terms and conditions of employment with one another. That’s because the Act give employees, union or not, the right to do that. Read more…