Robin E. Shea

Robin E. Shea

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP

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Latest Publications


Workplace Investigations And The Case Of The Planted Peanut Butter

I’m a week late with this follow-up. (Sorry.) - Two weeks ago, I posted about an employee (fictionally named “Zoey”) who had a peanut allergy. After she asked a peanut-butter-loving co-worker (“Addison”) to be...more

10/21/2016 - ADA Food Allergies Harassment Investigations

Disaster Unemployment Assistance available for 23 counties in NC

In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, 23 North Carolina counties have been approved to receive federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance. Gov. Pat McCrory has directed the state Department of Employment Security not to...more

10/18/2016 - Natural Disasters Unemployment

EEOC appeals loss in Detroit transgender case

As we knew it would, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has appealed the decision of Judge Sean Cox, who granted summary judgment to a Detroit-area funeral home chain in a transgender discrimination case....more

10/18/2016 - EEOC Gender Discrimination Gender Identity Transgender

A Boss’s Day letter from . . . The Boss.

DISCLAIMER: The Boss in this blog post is fictional. Any similarity to actual bosses, living or dead, is purely coincidental. No bosses were harmed in the writing of this post. Hey, Underling: - On this Monday,...more

10/18/2016 - Corporate Culture

Court sets aside Title VII sexual orientation decision, agrees to rehear

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has vacated Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, which found that Title VII did not protect against sexual orientation discrimination. I wrote about the decision, issued...more

10/14/2016 - LGBT Sexual Orientation Sexual Orientation Discrimination Title VII

Heresy! Is “flexibility at work” overrated?

Or is it loved as much as ever, as long as it doesn’t cost employees money? Interesting questions are raised by a study conducted and recently published by Alexandre Mas, a Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at at...more

10/14/2016 - Flex-Time Policies Flexible Work Arrangements Telecommuting Wage and Hour

Restroom Use “Catch 22” For Transgender Individuals Violates Title VII, Court Says

Roberts v. Clark County (NV) School District involved a female-to-male transgender police officer. Although the School District later changed its policy, when Bradley Roberts first told the District in 2011 that he was...more

10/11/2016 - Corporate Counsel EEOC Employee Restrooms Gender Identity Title VII Transgender

Peanut Passions, The ADA, And Co-Workers Who Take An Employee’s Allergy With A Grain Of Salt

Karla Miller of the “WorkAdvice” column in the Washington Post had a doozy last week. I’m going to assume that all the people involved in this story are female. I’m probably wrong, but that will allow me to make up fake...more

10/7/2016 - ADA Disability Food Allergies Hiring & Firing Reasonable Accommodation

The “Onionhead” Case: Fringe Beliefs And Reverse Religious Discrimination By Employers

Onionhead is this incredibly pure, wise and adorable character who teaches us how to name it – claim it – tame it – aim it. He wants everyone to know how they feel and then know what to do with those feelings. He helps us...more

10/7/2016 - EEOC Reasonable Accommodation Religious Accommodation Religious Discrimination

EEOC Follows Through: Comp Data Will Be Required In EEO-1 Reports

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced yesterday that it will require employers with 100 or more employees to include compensation data in their annual EEO-1 reports. Employers will be required to provide this...more

10/3/2016 - EEO-1 EEOC Federal Contractors FOIA OFCCP Pay Discrimination Reporting Requirements Title VII

FLSA Overtime Rule: With All These Efforts To Block It, Can Employers Relax?

Last week, two lawsuits were filed in federal court in Texas seeking to block the Final Rule on white-collar exemptions to the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which was issued in May. Meanwhile,...more

9/30/2016 - FLSA Over-Time Popular Standard Duties Test Wage and Hour White-Collar Exemptions

EEOC Small Business Resource Center: Two thumbs up!

I spent some time yesterday at the new Small Business Resource Center, which went live this week on the website of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. I think it’s great. Small businesses, which may be just...more

9/29/2016 - Discrimination EEOC Reasonable Accommodation Small Business

Hillary, or The Donald: A voting guide for employers

As our regular readers know, Employment & Labor Insider is a non-partisan blog. But with the first Presidential debate coming on Monday night, I thought it would be helpful to look at the two major presidential candidates and...more

9/23/2016 - Donald Trump Free Trade Agreements Hillary Clinton Misclassification Political Candidates Trans-Pacific Partnership

BREAKING: 21 States Sue USDOL About FLSA Overtime Rule

Thanks to Law360 for alerting us to this! Straight from the courthouse to you — I haven’t even read this yet, but here is a copy of the lawsuit, which was filed today in federal court in the Eastern District of Texas....more

9/21/2016 - DOL FLSA Minimum Salary Over-Time White-Collar Exemptions

Employer dos and don’ts for 2016 elections (NLRB-friendly version)

Labor Day marked the beginning of the “serious” election season. oIn 2012, I posted on dos and don’ts for employers, but many of my old recommendations aren’t going to work in today’s labor law climate. Here’s an updated...more

9/9/2016 - NLRA NLRB Presidential Elections Protected Concerted Activity Section 7

Holey Moley! Fox News Pays $20MM To Settle Gretchen Carlson Sexual Harassment Case

This just in, via Law360: Fox News has settled Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment lawsuit against former CEO Roger Ailes for a (reported) whopping $20 million. That’s less than the reported $60 million contract buyout of...more

9/7/2016 - Settlement Sexual Harassment

About that new “cat’s paw” decision . . .

Employers should beware of being too quick to believe an employee who accuses a co-worker of wrongdoing. If the accuser has an illegal motive (such as discrimination or retaliation), and if the employer is “negligent” in...more

9/2/2016 - Cat's Paw Employer Liability Issues Hiring & Firing Retaliation Sexual Harassment

How to make the EEOC love you (retaliation edition)

Employers, imagine that a retaliation charge has been filed against your company. What can you do to make the EEOC investigator love you? Late last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued its final...more

9/2/2016 - Best Management Practices EEOC Enforcement Guidance Protected Activity Retaliation

Federal judge in NC temporarily blocks H.B. 2

In one of the many lawsuits filed in North Carolina related to the notorious H.B. 2, Judge Thomas Schroeder of the Middle District of North Carolina has preliminarily enjoined the University of North Carolina from enforcing...more

8/29/2016 - Department of Education Gender Identity School Restrooms Students

Shoddy Harassment Investigation Comes Back To Bite Employer

Employers, has this ever happened to you? An employee has accused her boss of sexual harassment. Right now, it’s her word against his, but you might be able to find out the truth if you interview her co-workers. The...more

8/26/2016 - Harassment Hiring & Firing Investigations Punitive Damages Sexual Harassment

The EEOC’s Defeat In Detroit: Pants, Skirts, Gender Identity, And Religion

Last week, I reported that summary judgment was granted against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in its transgender discrimination lawsuit against R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, linked to the decision (but...more

8/26/2016 - Dress Codes EEOC Gender Identity Religious Freedom RFRA Sexual Stereotyping Title VII Transgender

Spa day! Let’s do an FLSA white-collar exemption makeover!

Employers, when was the last time you had a real makeover? Let’s do one now! The new white-collar exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act will go into effect December 1, but it’s a good idea for employers to...more

8/19/2016 - DOL Exempt-Employees FLSA Minimum Salary Non-Exempt Employees Over-Time Wage and Hour White-Collar Exemptions

BREAKING: Detroit-Area Funeral Home Wins In EEOC Transgender Case

Remember EEOC v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes? This was the transgender discrimination case brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against a suburban Detroit funeral home chain for allegedly discriminating...more

8/19/2016 - Discrimination EEOC Gender Identity Religious Freedom Restoration Act Title VII Transgender

Can’t We All Just Get Along? Bridging The Generation Gap At Work

What a week for aging. According to one study, people age 65 and older will outnumber people age 15 and younger worldwide by the year 2030. This is referred to as a “population plague.” In more bad news for younger...more

8/12/2016 - Age Discrimination Baby Boomers Millennials Popular Technology

Conservative Expression May Be Unlawful Harassment, EEOC Says

Is wearing a “Don’t Tread on Me” cap to work a form of racial harassment? According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it could be, even though the EEOC acknowledges that the Gadsden Flag “originated in the...more

8/5/2016 - EEOC Free Speech Harassment USPS

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