Category Archives: Employment Discrimination Harassment & Retaliation

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Traps for the Unwary: Responding When An Employee Quits

You may have been there: a valuable employee angered by some new development, announces “I quit!” and storms out, then shows up for work the next day as though nothing happened. Or a rapidly failing underperformer submits a written resignation, but it’s not effective until 60 days later. What’s an employer to do? Can/should an employer march them out the … Continue Reading

Common Sense Finally Prevails: Employers No Longer have to Tolerate Abusive and Offensive Conduct in the Workplace  

Your employee has just cursed at you, calling you every racist and/or sexist name in the book. Naturally, that employee must go! Just as you are ready to sign off on the termination, a thought occurs to you: “Uh-oh. He was standing on a picket line when he called me those names. Am I still allowed to discipline him, or … Continue Reading

The Black Lives Matter Movement and the Workplace

The Black Lives Matter movement, protesting racism, police brutality, and the deaths of George Floyd and other Black Americans, has not only been seen and heard in streets around the world; it has found a new voice in corporate boardrooms as well. The 8-minute, 46-second video of a police officer indifferently kneeling on the neck of Floyd, an unarmed Black … Continue Reading

Navigating the NLRA in the Pandemic and Post-Pandemic Workplace: What Both Union and Nonunion Employers Need to Know

As shelter in place restrictions ease and U.S. workplaces begin to reopen, both union and nonunion employers may find themselves facing a host of new challenges. Employers may wonder what they should be doing to keep their employees safe at work. They may wonder what kinds of medical tests they can perform on employees before allowing them into their facilities. … Continue Reading

It’s Official: Discrimination on Basis of Sexual Orientation/Transgender Status is Prohibited

Employers should take note that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status now clearly violates federal law. In a landmark decision issued on June 15th, in Bostock v. Clayton County, the Supreme Court held (6-3) that an employer who fires an individual for being gay or transgender violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of … Continue Reading

Across the Digital Divide: Managing Remote Workers

The explosive growth of teleworking during the COVID-19 pandemic has re-shaped notions about how we work, presenting novel challenges for management. Re-opening business worksites brings new legal and operational challenges in continuing to effectively manage remote workers, while deciding whether, when, and which remote workers should return to the worksite. The new focus on teleworking requires consideration of a host … Continue Reading

Avoiding Potential Workplace Claims Arising from Reopening of Businesses

As employers contemplate or commence reopening, they should be cognizant of potential workplace claims which are likely to escalate in the COVID-19 era. Such claims can arise out of a wide range of situations, including: deciding which employees should be brought back to the worksite first, which should be allowed to continue to telework and where there isn’t sufficient work, … Continue Reading

Declaration of COVID-19 as a Pandemic Changes Rules for Employers

The World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020 finally acknowledged that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is a pandemic. That designation changes the rules for employers.

The standard for justifying disability-related inquiries and medical examinations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is now easier to meet, based on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Guidance for Pandemic Preparedness from … Continue Reading

Federal Contractors To Be Limited On Criminal Background Checks

Private employers with federal contracts will soon be prohibited from requesting criminal history information from candidates at the onset of the hiring process; instead, they will have to wait until after an offer is made.

The Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act of 2019 (Act) was discreetly tucked into the Defense Spending Bill approved on December 20, 2019. The … Continue Reading

Expanding Rights for Breastfeeding Mothers

On the heels of a new federal law requiring certain public federal buildings to provide lactation spaces, California has enacted one of the most expansive sets of protections for breastfeeding employees in the country. The California law which became effective January 1, 2020, includes provisions regarding break time, policy requirements, and specifications regarding the lactation room.… Continue Reading

Three More Employer Holiday Wishes Granted By National Labor Relations Board

The holiday cheer keeps coming from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with the release of three new decisions favoring employers: (1) workplace policies covering confidentiality during workplace investigations are lawful; (2) employers can restrict employees’ use of emails for nonbusiness purposes; and (3) employers can stop deducting and remitting union dues after the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement.… Continue Reading

“Ok, Boomer” Not Okay in the Workplace

The latest catchphrase in the ongoing generational battle between Millennials and their more senior counterparts may have consequences for employers if permitted in the workplace. The phrase, “OK, Boomer” has increasingly gained popularity among Millennials and Generation Z’ers as a way of dismissing comments or habits from older generations that they view as out of touch. The term was initially … Continue Reading

New York City Expands Independent Contractor Rights Amidst a Budding National Trend

Last month, New York City joined an emerging national trend toward increased protections for independent contractors and freelance workers, adopting a new law, Int. 136-A, extending to independent contractors and freelancers the protections afforded to employees under the city’s Human Rights Law (NYCHRL).

Effective January 11, 2020, the NYCHRL will apply to employers that employ four or more persons – … Continue Reading

Is it Time to Prioritize Making Websites and Mobile Apps Accessible?

Companies should take steps to ensure that their websites and mobile apps are accessible to persons who are blind or vision impaired, based on the Supreme Court’s recent refusal to review an appellate court decision that allowed a blind man to sue a national pizza chain under the Americans with Disabilities Act.… Continue Reading

Halloween Parties Can Leave Employers “Haunted” By Discrimination

The last week of October can result in “double, double toil, and trouble” for employers. While workplace Halloween festivities may boost employee morale, they can also result in employer liability for discrimination and harassment in the workplace in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and applicable state and local laws. To protect against this potential … Continue Reading

Does the ADA Protect Employees from Discrimination Based on Potential Future Disabilities?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not protect employees from discrimination based on potential future disabilities, according to a recent ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. However, employers in other parts of the country should be more cautious. For example, federal courts in Illinois reached the opposite conclusion holding that … Continue Reading

“When Do You Plan On Having A Baby?” And Other Questions Not To Ask

Employers interviewing women of child-bearing age may be tempted to ask about plans for having a baby, but doing so poses risks. While an employer might be concerned about staffing coverage, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against a woman based on her potential or capacity to become pregnant. Taking adverse action against … Continue Reading

Discrimination Based on Hair and Hairstyles: Protected or Knot?

Cornrows or locs may not fit your corporate image, but be careful: state and local legislation prohibiting workplace grooming and appearance policies that adversely impact employees of color have begun popping up around the country. And the new laws have some teeth: employers who discriminate based on hair texture or style could face penalties of up to $250,000 under one … Continue Reading

Avalanche of New Laws Create Additional Requirements for Illinois Employers

Illinois employers must be cognizant of new Illinois laws including bans on salary history inquiries, restrictions on artificial intelligence interview programs, mandatory sexual harassment prevention training, limitations on non-disclosure and arbitration provisions, increasing minimum wage, implications of the new cannabis law and, within the City of Chicago, predictive scheduling.

Workplace Transparency Act (WTA)

Effective January 1, 2020

The WTA’s purpose … Continue Reading

Federal Judge Rejects New York Law Prohibiting Mandatory Pre-Dispute Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Claims

New York’s ban on pre-dispute agreements requiring employees to use arbitration to resolve sexual harassment claims is invalid, a federal judge in Manhattan has ruled. In a decision from the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote held, in Latif v. Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, that Section 7515 of … Continue Reading

New York State Approves Broadly Expanded Protections for Employees and Applicants

Note: This blog post has been updated to include all relevant effective dates now that Governor Cuomo has signed the bill into law.

New York State has enacted comprehensive reforms to broaden the scope of its discrimination and harassment laws, including one of the most robust anti-harassment bills in the #MeToo era, amendments to the State’s Equal Pay Act to … Continue Reading

Minimizing Exposure for Employee Termination Claims

Assessing whether to terminate an employee and how best to deliver the news are challenges every employer faces. Whether it’s a low-performing employee who shows no sign of improvement or an employee who egregiously violates a company policy, having policies and procedures in place and following them will help minimize exposure to claims.

In the absence of a collective bargaining … Continue Reading

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