Category Archives: Employment Discrimination Harassment & Retaliation

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Service and Support Animals: What Businesses Can and Cannot Do

We have all seen it. The unruly lap dog brought into a restaurant, yipping away, or the big dog running through a store dragging along its owner who, of course, claims it is a “service animal,” even though it clearly is not. Many individuals need and have legitimate service animals, while others need and have … Continue Reading

Employers: Prepare Now for Recession-Based Layoffs

With many economic experts predicting that the U.S. will enter a recession in the near future, employers are preparing for the possibility of significant layoffs. Before making cuts, companies – especially those with remote workers – should be aware of the potential pitfalls and legal ramifications of layoffs, and be prepared to adjust the timing … Continue Reading

It’s All Over but the Crying: Damages for Emotional Injuries Not Available Under Certain Anti-Discrimination Statutes

Healthcare facilities and other entities receiving federal financial assistance can breathe a little easier after a U.S. Supreme Court decision issued last week barring the recovery of emotional damages for certain discrimination claims.… Continue Reading

Employee Terminations: Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Firing an employee can be much like breaking up with a significant other– stressful, messy, and awkward. No one wants to be the “bad guy,” and oftentimes it feels kinder to sugarcoat the facts rather than telling an employee the real reason for termination. But those good intentions may land employers in hot water.… Continue Reading

When Can An Employer Require Fitness-For-Duty Exams?

Employers with fitness-for-duty exam requirements for employees returning from medical leaves should take note of a recent decision by a federal court in Massachusetts. In that case, the Court considered whether requiring every employee returning from an extended leave to undergo a fitness-for-duty exam violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).… Continue Reading

Sexual Harassment Complainants Guaranteed Their Day in Court – Employers Beware the Implications

Since the onset of the #MeToo movement, allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace are frequently spotlighted in the news and on social media. Still, many claims between employers and employees are resolved outside of the public eye, through mandatory arbitration. New legislation passed this month by the U.S. House and Senate, pending President Biden’s … Continue Reading

Love is in the Air – And in the Workplace!

If you thought workplace romances vanished with the COVID-19 pandemic, think again.  According to a recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), one-third of 550 U.S. workers said they are or have been romantically involved with a colleague in 2022. That represents an increase over 2020, when 27% of workers acknowledged a … Continue Reading

Objections to COVID-Testing and Asking Vax Status Up Front: Best Practices

Employers are being inundated with employee requests for exemptions, not just from mandatory vaccination policies, but also from policies requiring regular COVID-19 testing. How do employers square their duty to provide a safe workplace with the duty to try to accommodate employees who refuse even to be tested? And can they avoid some of the … Continue Reading

Reminder: Promptly Investigate Harassment Complaints

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the workplace has dominated the headlines recently, employers should be careful not to delay investigating non-pandemic-related complaints—particularly those of harassment. Failing to promptly investigate and correct harassing behavior can be costly. Based on a recent federal appellate court ruling, a month between complaint and action may … Continue Reading

Texas Expands Employer Liability for Sexual Harassment

Texas employers of ALL sizes should be aware that Texas has significantly expanded employee protection for sexual harassment claims with two new bills signed into law by Governor Abbott. The first opens the door for Texas employers of all sizes to be liable for sexual harassment. The second extends the statute of limitations for sexual … Continue Reading

New Federal Guidance: Employers May Offer Incentives for Vaccination

An employer may offer an incentive to employees to voluntarily provide documentation or other confirmation that they received a vaccination on their own from a pharmacy, public health department, or other health care provider in the community, according to new guidance issued by the EEOC on May 28, 2021.… Continue Reading

NY Employers: Note New NY COVID-19 Guidance

With the COVID-19 landscape in New York changing rapidly, employers may be understandably confused about what rules to abide by when it comes to things like masks, social distancing, and safety protocols. Significant changes may be on the horizon, but employers should not pull the trigger on any sweeping changes to their policies just yet. … Continue Reading

What the CDC’s New Guidance on Fully Vaccinated Individuals Means for Employers

With the CDC’s May 13 announcement lifting the mask mandate for fully vaccinated individuals in most non-healthcare settings, many Americans are excited at the thought of a return to normalcy. However, employers should consider these questions before lifting their own mask requirements for workers who are fully vaccinated.… Continue Reading

Mandatory Versus Voluntary Vaccinations: An Employer Guide

With COVID-19 vaccines now available to every adult in the United States, employers are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel after a year of uncertainty. But for employers whose workforces spent a year away from the office, a safe return to normalcy presents new legal, practical, and ethical questions.… Continue Reading

Considering Incentives for Employee COVID-19 Vaccines – Tips and Traps

This blog was based on guidance which is now outdated. An employer may offer an incentive to employees to voluntarily provide documentation or other confirmation that they received a vaccination on their own from a pharmacy, public health department, or other health care provider in the community, according to new guidance issued by the EEOC … Continue Reading

Growing State and Local Equal Pay Protections

Pay equity will be a focus of the Biden Administration, as was made clear in the White House Proclamation on Equal Pay Day last week. But states are not waiting on the federal government to act; several are moving forward with pay transparency and equity laws. California is the first state to enact its own … Continue Reading

What Employers Should Do Based on the Revisions to the EEOC’s Compliance Manual Section on Religious Discrimination

Employers have new obligations and employees have new rights under the EEOC’s newly finalized revisions to the agency’s Compliance Manual Section on Religious Discrimination. The Compliance Manual does not have the force of law, but sets forth how the EEOC analyzes claims under the law, and provides useful guidance to employers. Although a large portion … Continue Reading

COVID Infections May Be Down But COVID Lawsuits Are Up: What Employers Should Consider

It comes as no surprise that employee claims against employers are on the rise. In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a drastic decline in newly filed employment-related lawsuits. The decline was likely the result of shelter-in-place orders and other restrictions on working in the workplace. However, the months of November 2020 … Continue Reading

Is There A New Requirement To Pay Employees on Military Leave?

A few recent cases may have savvy employers rethinking their military leave policies and choosing to pay employees on short-term military leave to the same extent they voluntarily pay employees benefits for other leaves of absence, such as jury duty, bereavement, and sick leave.… Continue Reading

Biden Administration Heralds New Protections for LGBTQ Employees

While President Biden’s initial flurry of executive orders largely sought to address the pandemic and undo the regulatory legacy of his predecessor, one order places LGBTQ protection at the heart of the new Administration’s agenda. That order, “Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation,” states the new Administration’s general … Continue Reading

Employers May Compel COVID-19 Vaccinations, But…

Employers may require employees in the workplace to get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to newly issued guidelines from the EEOC. But employers may not necessarily terminate an employee who refuses. While the vaccine may still be months away for most Americans, employers should prepare now for the issues that will arise, including those relating to … Continue Reading

Just in Time for the Holidays, the EEOC Proposes Guidance on Religious Bias

It seems that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is getting into the holiday spirit and addressing religious bias for the first time in twelve years. Last week, the EEOC proposed updated religious discrimination guidance for public comment. This guidance (clocking in at well over 100 pages) is in line with the agency’s goal to … Continue Reading

California Voters OK Independent Contractor Status for App Service Drivers

On November 3, 2020, nearly 60% of California voters approved a ballot measure to create a carve-out from the state’s expansive independent contractor law, AB 5, for drivers on technology platforms such as Lyft, Uber, Doordash, and Postmates. Proposition 22 essentially creates a new category of workers by allowing transportation technology companies to continue to … Continue Reading

New Obligations for Colorado Employers

Two new statutes affecting all employers operating in Colorado, the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (EPEWA) and paid sick leave through Colorado’s Healthy Families and Workplaces Act, will add to the compliance burden of all employers operating in Colorado effective January 1, 2021. The impact of each new law on employers is discussed below.… Continue Reading
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