The news has been fraught with allegations of sexual harassment by major players in the television and movie production industries, high tech and venture capital firms, and others. High value employees alleged to have engaged in harassment and/or promulgating an environment that supports sweeping complaints under the rug are no longer being hidden by the silence of victims (female and male) that have allegedly been subject to sexual harassment and/or sexual assault in the workplace. However, as we know, harassment can occur at any level in an organization – and not just by high value employees. (more…)
In Van Rossum v. Baltimore County, Maryland, a jury awarded a community health inspector $250,000 in compensatory damages and $530,000 in back pay after deciding that her employer, Baltimore County, violated the ADA by refusing to accommodate her and, after she exhausted FMLA leave, threatening her with discharge and pressuring her to retire if she did not return to work. In addition, the Court awarded Van Rossum $487,616.25 in reasonable attorneys’ fees plus $32,472.30 in litigation costs, which brought the total award to more than $1.3 million. (more…)
TheCloud: Good Morning! TheCloud is a leading cloud-based provider, striving to secure your apps, email and confidential data in the cloud. How may we help you today?
Mr. Techie: My name is Mr. TechieTechie, I’m the CEO and founder of Tech to Tech. I have an account with TheCloud, but I’m having trouble accessing it all of the sudden. It keeps saying the password is incorrect.
TheCloud: I see, and what is your account number?
Mr. Techie: 7264388. I had access to the account just two days ago. What changed?
TheCloud: It appears that the primary contact on the account, Mr. Disgruntled, logged in yesterday and made some changes to the account, including changing the network password.
Mr. Techie: Mr. Disgruntled hasn’t worked here in six months! How is he able to do that?
TheCloud: When the account was activated, it appears that you designated Mr. Disgruntled as the primary contact on the account, which enables him to make changes, including changes to login information. The primary contact also has access to company data, and is able to send and receive emails.
Mr. Techie: Well as I mentioned, Mr. Disgruntled was terminated more than six months ago, and he no longer is authorized on this account. Please delete Mr. Disgruntled as the primary contact and replace him with me.
TheCloud: Unfortunately, Mr. Techie, we are unable to do that. As primary contact, Mr. Disgruntled essentially owns the account and its content. Any changes that are made must be authorized by him.
Mr. Techie: I’m the CEO and founder of the company. Are you telling me that I’m locked out of my own account? And the only way I can get back in is with Mr. Disgruntled’s permission? That’s ridiculous. I own the account!
TheCloud: That’s right. And unfortunately, since you are not authorized on the account, that is all of the information I can provide you with today. Please have a pleasant weekend! Try not to think about Mr. Disgruntled destroying your data, contacting your customers and stealing your proprietary information! Buh-bye!
“Click.” Of course, a dutiful customer service representative would never let that last part slip. However, three days later, you realize that Mr. Disgruntled has indeed misrepresented to potential customers that he is still in charge of the company. He is taking orders and promising customers that their orders will arrive without delay. But they never get their orders, and a customer has now called you explaining that because her order never got there, she has lost $1,000,000 in revenue. Needless to say, she is upset, and using you as a supplier in her future business plans is the last thought on her mind. (more…)
Delaware and Oregon have joined Massachusetts and other local jurisdictions (like New York City, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (currently in litigation)) by enacting laws that prohibit employers from inquiring about the salary histories of job applicants. Most of the provisions of Oregon’s Equal Pay Act of 2017 take effect on January 1, 2019, which gives employers time to focus on compliance. Delaware’s ban, however, takes effect on December 1, 2017, so those employers operating in Delaware need to act quickly to change their recruiting and related processes.
While President Obama’s landmark overtime expansion is pending in a Texas federal court, on May 2, 2017, the Republican House passed the Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R.1180/S.801) by a vote of 229 – 197, which would change overtime pay in the private sector, as we know it. Not one Democrat voted for the bill and Senator Elizabeth Warren called the bill a “disgrace” on Twitter. In opposition to the Act, the National Partnership for Woman & Families calls the Act “harmful, smoke-and-mirrors legislation” as it believes that the Act would set up a false choice between time and money. Why is everyone so up in arms about the Act? Let’s take a look . . .
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.
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.
EDITOR’S NOTE: THIS IS SATIRE
To: Management Team
From: Legal Department
Date: December 15, 2016
Re: Company Holiday Event Post-Mortem
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…)
It’s the most common employment law claim . . . retaliation. In 2015, 44.5% of the total EEOC charges were based on retaliation, which exceeded even race-based charges of discrimination. So it is not surprising that the EEOC decided to weigh in. On August 29, 2016, the EEOC issued its final 76-page Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues, the first retaliation guidance provided by the EEOC since 1998.
In a recent decision that could have implications in many states, a federal appeals ruled that an employee could state a claim for wrongful termination under state law after being discharged for storing a gun in his car on company property.