Robin E. Shea

Robin E. Shea

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP

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The On-Air Shootings At WDBJ-TV: When Bad Things Happen To Good Employees

What could WDBJ7-TV have done to prevent Wednesday morning’s tragic on-air murders? Unfortunately, probably not a thing. I’m a second-guesser, and I have spent much of the last 48 hours racking my brain about what the...more

8/29/2015 - Criminal Background Checks Domestic Violence Murder Security Workplace Safety Workplace Violence

4 Thoughts On The Ashley Madison Hack

1. Should you post anything on the internet that you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the New York Times? “No” used to be standard advice, but that isn’t practical any more. I do online banking, but that doesn’t mean...more

8/25/2015 - Ashley Madison Best Practices Credit Cards Data Breach Invasion of Privacy

Can Employees Trust Human Resources?

After the initial NYT story ran, saying the workplace at Amazon is cutthroat — still uses “forced rankings” and even encourages employees to secretly bad-mouth each other to their bosses, has employees who break down in tears...more

8/24/2015 - Amazon Classification Employer Liability Issues Human Resources Professionals Jeff Bezos Misclassification Popular Racial Discrimination Reasonable Accommodation Sexual Harassment

Seems Like This Should Be An Excused Absence.

Geoffrey Tolliver, a Medicaid eligibility specialist for the City, went out on a medical leave of absence for cancer in November 2013, and he passed away in December 2014. The City recently moved to terminate his employment...more

8/14/2015 - Hiring & Firing Medical Leave Termination

Is Protected Activity Part Of Your Job? You May Still Be Protected.

If you try to prevent or end workplace discrimination as part of your job, is it legal for your employer retaliate against you? Inquiring HR professionals, in-house lawyers, and counselors want to know!...more

8/14/2015 - EEOC Employment Discrimination Failure To State A Claim Manager Rule Managers Protected Activity Retaliation Reversal Sexual Harassment Title VII Wrongful Termination

Robin’s Quickie Guide To The U.S. Courts Of Appeal

The U.S. Courts of Appeal hear appeals from federal district courts in their assigned states, or as otherwise specified below: - First Circuit: Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico....more

8/13/2015 - Appeals Appellate Review

5 Ways Employers Can Spend A Lot Less Time In Court

“An apple a day keeps the doctor lawyer away.” Here are five easy and inexpensive things that employers can do to minimize their risk of being sued and maximize their chances of victory if they do get sued. None of these...more

8/8/2015 - Complaint Procedures Corporate Counsel Disclosure Employer Liability Issues Employment Discrimination Exempt-Employees FLSA Information Sharing Misclassification Non-Exempt Employees Wrongful Termination

Darn.

The Marchuk v. Faruqi law firm sexual harassment case has been “amicably resolved.” Now, what will we gossip about?...more

8/8/2015 - Appeals Sexual Harassment

Is It “Disparaging” To Say “Karma Is A Bi**H”?

Employee sues her boss for sexual harassment. Case settles for $127,500, and she has to agree to confidentiality and non-disparagement....more

8/3/2015 - Confidentiality Agreements Non-Disparagement Provisions Popular Settlement Sexual Harassment Young Lawyers

Six Things About The ADA That Even An Employer Can Love.

When President George H.W. Bush signed you into law in 1990, I had been practicing employment law for less than two years, so I feel like you and I grew up together....more

7/31/2015 - ADA Disabilities Disability Discrimination Pregnancy Discrimination Reasonable Accommodation Undue Hardship Young Lawyers

How Much, Er, Discovery Is Allowed In A Transgender Lawsuit?

Well, this should be interesting. As I’ve reported before, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued a funeral home chain in the Detroit area for terminating Aimee Stephens, a transgendered woman, because she...more

7/31/2015 - Discovery Discrimination EEOC Gender Discrimination Gender Identity Transgender Wrongful Termination

Employment Law Autopsy: “Old Fart” Gets Fired

Here’s a lesson: Don’t call your employee an “old fart,” especially if you think you may need to fire him someday. And don’t call his co-workers “old farts” right before you fire the co-workers. ...more

7/24/2015 - Age Discrimination Corporate Counsel Hiring & Firing Wrongful Termination

Document Review Attorneys May Not Be Exempt From OT, Court Says

Large law firms and legal services vendors often hire stables of contract lawyers to do document review in big cases. Sometimes, the lawyers who do the review are actually reading and analyzing the documents in light of the...more

7/24/2015 - Appeals Collection Action Contract Attorneys Document Review FLSA Unpaid Overtime Wage and Hour

Employees’ “Low-Tech” Sloppiness Causes High-Tech Problems

A good reminder for employers about maintaining cybersecurity comes from a recent Washington Post article (“This is why the government keeps getting hacked” by Jeffrey Neal) about the breach at the Office of Personnel...more

7/22/2015 - Cybersecurity Data Security Employment Policies Passwords Technology

You’ve Been Warned – Those Independent Contractors Are Probably Employees

On Wednesday, I did a very short “breaking news” post on the new Interpretation issued by Wage and Hour Administrator David Weil on when workers are “employees” versus “independent contractors” under the Fair Labor Standards...more

7/20/2015 - Administrative Interpretation Corporate Counsel DOL Employee Definition Independent Contractors Misclassification Multi-Factor Test Wage and Hour

Women Aren’t Lead Counsel As Often As Men – It’s Gotta Be Bias!

According to the study, based on information gained through the PACER federal court electronic filing system, 68 percent of all lawyers appearing in the 2013 civil cases were men, and 32 percent were women. But 76 percent of...more

7/20/2015 - Bias Gender Discrimination Jury Trial Trials Young Lawyers

BREAKING: DOL Issues Memo On Independent Contractors

Law360 reported this morning that the U.S. Department of Labor issued a memorandum addressing the “independent contractor versus employee” issue, taking the position that most workers are actually employees within the meaning...more

7/16/2015 - DOL FLSA Independent Contractors Misclassification

This Week In Employment Law, With A Lick And A Promise

It’s been a hectic week for me (I have a trial coming up), and so here are some links to employment law blog posts and workplace news items that I hope will entertain and edify....more

7/13/2015 - ADA Facebook FMLA Free Speech Human Resources Professionals Obergefell v. Hodges Reasonable Accommodation Religious Discrimination Retaliation Same-Sex Marriage

EEOC’s Revised Pregnancy Guidance: Now, Just Barely More Flexible!

Last Thursday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued its amended guidance on pregnancy discrimination and accommodation in light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Young v. UPS, issued in March 2015. The...more

7/3/2015 - Corporate Counsel EEOC Employee Rights Employment Policies Guidance Update PDA Pregnancy Reasonable Accommodation SCOTUS Young v United Parcel Service

What Does SCOTUS Same-Sex Marriage Decision Mean For Employers?

Seriously, I don’t think Friday’s Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges will be that big a deal for most employers. The Supreme Court already decided in 2013 that the federal definition of “spouse” included same-sex...more

7/1/2015 - DOL Due Process Employee Rights Equal Protection FMLA Fourteenth Amendment Marriage Marriage Equality Obergefell v. Hodges Same-Sex Marriage SCOTUS

Employers, You’ll Never Pooh-Pooh The GINA Again.

On Monday, a federal jury in Atlanta awarded two hourly warehouse workers $2.2 million in a lawsuit brought under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. The controversy started when Atlas Logistics Group Retail...more

6/26/2015 - Corporate Counsel Employer Liability Issues GINA Grocery Stores Trucking Industry Young Lawyers

A First Look at the Workplace Implications of Same-Sex Marriage Equality

We asked attorneys writing on JD Supra to share with us their initial thoughts on the implications of the U.S. Supreme Court's Obergefell decision in favor of same-sex marriage equaliy, especially with the regard to the...more

6/26/2015 - Corporate Counsel Discrimination DOMA First Glance Marriage Equality Obergefell v. Hodges Same-Sex Marriage SCOTUS Sexual Orientation Discrimination US v Windsor Young Lawyers

BREAKING: Same-Sex Marriage Is The Law Of The Land, SCOTUS Says

The decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, hot off the press, is 103 pages long, but here it is. Some instant analysis: *The due process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution compel...more

6/26/2015 - Due Process Equal Protection First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment Obergefell v. Hodges Same-Sex Marriage SCOTUS

Thanks a LOT, Mr. President!

As you know, I strongly disapprove of use of the “N” word in the workplace. I don’t think African-Americans should say it, and I really, really don’t think people who aren’t African-American should use it....more

6/26/2015 - Barack Obama Employment Policies Offensive Language Race Discrimination

Harassment “Must-Have” No. 5: No Retaliation!

It should be easy to avoid retaliation, right? Because retaliatory conduct is intentional – you can’t “accidentally” retaliate against someone. You can’t “negligently” seek payback....more

6/22/2015 - Best Management Practices Employer Liability Issues Harassment Human Resources Professionals Internal Investigations Retaliation Training

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