Harassment has long been an Achilles’ heel of the workplace. Believe it or not, like the NCAA’s tournament TV ratings, the number of harassment-related lawsuits has held rather steady since the 1990s! And like most NCAA tournament games, the workplace can often be fast-paced and exhilarating, but it requires participants to play by the rules and when conduct goes out of bounds, participants must be benched or even ejected. In this regard, an employer must ensure that it has (1) the right players-personnel; and (2) systems in place not just for a successful season here and there, but for sustainable success over time that allows it to compete for the championship year after year. So what does this look like?
Natalie Young is an Associate in the firm’s Boston office and focuses on a wide variety of employment and labor matters. She represents clients in litigation arising from employment disputes, including noncompetition and nonsolicitation covenants, discrimination and sexual harassment claims, and wage and hour matters. She also counsels clients on employment and separation agreements, with particular experience in ensuring compliance with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) in the context of a reduction in force.
This morning Punxsutawney Phil told us that we are facing six more weeks of winter. Great. We thought it served as a good opportunity to remind employers of the importance of establishing inclement weather policies that are compliant with wage and hour laws for both exempt and non-exempt employees. Here is a quick, yet helpful, Q&A for your reading pleasure:
With Election Day just a week away(!), it’s important that employers familiarize themselves with their employees’ rights to take leave to vote. While there is no Federal law granting employees the right to voting leave, at least half the states provide this right in some form.
Being connected to not just your friends, but their friends and their friends’ friends (it’s all six degrees of separation, right?) means that it’s become increasingly hard to stay anonymous when using an online dating platform. Just ask one recent male user of OkCupid who made vulgar and inappropriate comments to a female user. Her response? Post the conversation and the man’s profile picture to her Facebook account. He insulted her, she publicized him. So far, there are no legal implications.
Her friend, an independent recruiter for tech startups, saw the post and recognized the man’s profile picture. As it turns out, it was also his LinkedIn profile picture, and he had just applied for a position with one of her clients. Her response? Withdraw his application from consideration and tell him to treat women better online. He insulted her friend, she withdrew his application for employment. Here is where the criticism started.
The question: Can a recruiter reject a potential applicant based on inappropriate comments made on a dating site?
The growing prevalence of the Zika virus in the United States has already presented a number of hurdles for employers striving to create a safe and healthy workplace environment for their employees. These concerns are more immediate than ever. The recent and continuing outbreak in Florida and the emergence of state-to-state transmission within the U.S. reinforce the need for employers to stay informed of best practices for minimizing workplace health risks without overstepping critical legal boundaries between employer and employee.
The obligation to accommodate a disabled employee is an ongoing one; a doctor’s note may not be a prerequisite to engage in the interactive process – those are two important lessons that employers should take away from a recent decision by a California Federal district court.
Last month, a California state appellate court issued a decision that, as the dissent characterized, went “where no one has gone before.” In Castro-Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express, Inc., the court held that California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) – California’s anti-discrimination law – requires an employer to provide a reasonable accommodation to a nondisabled employee who associates with a disabled person. This troubling and broad interpretation of the law, which effectively would import a caregiver accommodation requirement into the law, has certainly captured the attention of employers even outside this jurisdiction.
Many employers still grapple with the application of certain anti-discrimination laws — such as Title VII and the ADA — to non-U.S. citizen employees working in the United States and U.S. citizen employees working overseas. To determine whether these laws apply, employers should ask themselves the following questions:
The Zika virus has been the topic of much discussion and anxiety for many weeks. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has now issued travel warnings for more than two dozen countries in the Caribbean, Central America and South America and cases have been reported in at least 13 states and Washington, D.C. This anxiety has, not surprisingly, crept into workplaces, including those with employees that travel to the affected areas. This post addresses some of the employment issues raised by the Zika virus.
It is a familiar scenario: a company is on the verge of bankruptcy, bound by the terms of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), and unable to negotiate a new agreement. However, this time, an analysis of this distressed scenario prompted a new question: does it matter if the CBA is already expired, i.e., does the Bankruptcy Code distinguish between a CBA that expires pre-petition versus one that has not lapsed?