A few weeks ago, the public comment period for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) proposed guidance on unlawful workplace harassment closed, drawing mixed responses from commentators. The purpose of the proposed guidance, which was issued this past January, is to educate practitioners, employers and employees on the agency’s position toward the different types of harassment that Title VII prohibits. (more…)

How the court got there and what to do about it

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits covered employers from discriminating against an employee because of her race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Until this month, no federal court of appeals had ruled that discrimination based on an employee’s sex included treating the employee differently because of her sexual orientation. The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit changed that on April 4. (more…)

Think twice the next time you decide to forego the Oxford comma.  For the non-grammar nerds in the room, the Oxford comma, otherwise known as the serial comma, is the comma used just before the coordinating conjunction (“and” or “or”) when three or more terms are listed.  It is viewed by many as optional.  Enter the First Circuit’s recent ruling regarding Maine’s overtime law. (more…)

Employers are often hesitant to take disciplinary or other actions with an employee who has recently requested or has taken leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). While the law does not prohibit such action, employers should maintain a heightened awareness when dealing with employees who have exercised their FMLA rights. Similar to other federal employment statutes the FMLA includes retaliation provisions and often adverse employment actions (such as demotions, changes in position, suspensions, or terminations) are argued to be retaliatory when they are in close temporal proximity to an FMLA leave or requested leave.
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A National General Strike has been announced for February 17, 2017 as a “peaceful display of resistance and solidarity” to protest the Trump Administration’s policies. This “strike” poses thorny legal issues for nonunion employers that are unaccustomed to dealing with “striking employees.” Purely political protests, including walking off the job and calling out, can be protected if the purpose of the protest is to impact their interests as employees through the political process. However, it is not at all clear that the National General Strike has anything to do with employment policies, and it appears to be directed to protests of the Trump administration generally.
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D.C. joins 11 other jurisdictions (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington) in banning employers’ use of employees’ or applicants’ credit histories.
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This is a brief update to the court machinations in the DOL’s appeal of the Texas Court’s decision to issue a preliminary injunction barring the implementation of the Final Overtime Rule. That appeal is now before the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, generally known as an employer-friendly circuit.
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Employers in New York must scramble to assess the impact of the new substantial salary level increases that take effect on December 31, 2016. Below is a summary of the new salary levels for exempt administrative and executive employees. The levels are determined by size of employer and where the employer is located in New York. So, for the first time, the salary level required to be exempt from overtime will be different in different parts of the State. (more…)

EDITOR’S NOTE: THIS IS SATIRE

MEMORANDUM

To:                   Management Team

From:               Legal Department

Date:                December 15, 2016

Re:                   Company Holiday Event Post-Mortem

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Three years ago, the Company Christmas Party resulted in various criminal charges, allegations of sexual harassment, compensation of the entire Accounting Department for an all-night game of Truth-Or-Dare, a workers compensation claim for dance fighting, and the consummation of a little boy named Wendell, Jr. The Legal Department took inventory of these events in a memorandum that provided advice for future parties. (more…)

  1. “Bathroom Bills” Apply to All Public Facilities, Including Showers and Locker Rooms.
    Despite being commonly referred to as “bathroom bills,” the laws and policy statements regarding transgender individual’s bathroom access apply equally to locker rooms and showering facilities.  Bathroom bills are laws that seek to restrict access to public facilities on the basis of the sex that an individual was assigned at birth.  These regulations, whether merely proposed or actually enacted, are intended to apply to facilities other than just bathrooms.
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