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Before You Fire That Political Extremist . . .

If you’re a private sector employer, you can generally fire an at-will employee for his or her political beliefs or expression. The First Amendment, as we discussed last week, does not limit you. Depending on where you are,...more

Q And A On The Recent Controversy

On the recent uproar involving a major, major employer and its recently-terminated employee: No. 1. Is it a good idea to provide an “open forum” to employees if there are certain topics that are off limits? No. If you want...more

Employer Beware: Bad “Optics” Create Hostile Work Environment?

Yesterday, I posted about a disability discrimination case that the employer did not really screw up. Even so, a few less-than-optimal moves resulted in an adverse jury verdict that was upheld on appeal. In Chapter 2 of...more

Employer Beware: When “Good” Isn’t Good Enough (Disability Bias)

Two court decisions came out last week that ought to scare the heck out of employers. Both involved employers who seem to have been aware of their legal obligations and tried to comply. The employers lost their cases...more

You Decide: Why The DOJ Says Title VII Does NOT Prohibit Sexual Orientation Bias

Last week, I had a short post about the position taken by the U.S. Department of Justice in the Zarda v. Altitude Express “gay skydiver” case. The DOJ has directly opposed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which...more

Thinking Out Loud About Medical Marijuana And Reasonable Accommodation

(When I think out loud, beware.)- Ellen Kearns’ discussion of last week’s decision in Barbuto v. Advantage Sales and Marketing, in which the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that employers may have to accommodate...more

Trump V. Sessions: Are We Witnessing A “Constructive Discharge” In Real Time?

As anyone who’s been following the news is aware, President Trump has been publicly and repeatedly indicating his displeasure with Attorney General Jeff Sessions. We are a non-partisan blog, so I’m not going to get into who’s...more

EEOC Sues Over – Get This – “Spanish-Only” Policy

You’ve heard of “English-only” policies, but here is a new one. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit last week against a Houston-area company for allegedly requiring applicants to be of Hispanic national...more

“Not My Employee, Not My Problem.” Oh, Yeah?

Employers, has this ever happened to you? A guy (we’ll call him “Ryan”) comes to work for you through a temporary agency. The agency issues the paychecks and generally acts as Ryan’s “HR” representative. Your company pays...more

For The ADEA’s 50th Birthday: An Age Discrimination Quiz

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act recently celebrated its 50th birthday (it doesn’t look a day over 49). This calls for an age discrimination quiz!...more

Are You A Harassment “Daredevil”? Here Are 5 Behaviors That Put You At Risk.

Not every obnoxious workplace behavior is unlawful harassment. To violate federal law, the harassment has to be unwelcome, based on a “protected category” (for example, sex or race), and “severe or pervasive.” But most...more

Can You Fire An Employee For Off-Duty Misconduct? You Betcha!

Every now and then, I am told that it’s unfair for employers to take action against employees misbehave off duty. “No it isn’t,” I reply. Although I wouldn’t recommend firing everybody who gets in trouble away from work...more

Don’t “Ask Amy”!*

*For employment law advice. Amy Dickson of the syndicated advice column “Ask Amy” is someone I read daily and agree with maybe 50 percent of the time. On most of the matters on which we disagree, she is probably right...more

“The freezing trucker” and Gorsuch’s heart of ice: A micro-fiction

It was a bleak and frigid night on I-88 somewhere in northern Illinois. The icy wind whipped across the flatlands, grazing the endless rows of white, brittle remains of lastScreen Shot 2017-03-23 at 6.09.47 PM year’s corn...more

Queen For A Day: If I Ran The World, Would I Scrap Our Employment Laws?

For those of you who don’t know Mr. Olson, he’s a libertarian. :-) I have to admit, I needed time to process this! I complain about these laws all the time, but would I really want to get rid of all protections for...more

That Smarts! Porn “Sting” Operation Gets Employer “Stung” For Retaliation

This should have been an open-and-shut case. For the employer, that is, not the employee. Lufkin Industries, Inc., had an employee, William Fisher, who was a 55-year-old African-American. One day, Mr. Fisher got into a...more

Employers, Here’s Why Good Documentation Is Da Bomb.

Documentation. What a pain! You have so many more important things to do. But taking the time to document is a good practice that may save you a lot of grief later. I know that most of you already know what I’m about to...more

Do Your Employee-Recruiting Practices Make You A White-Collar Criminal?

You need to hire some employees, and you want to pay them well, but not more than necessary. You place a call to a friend who works for one of your competitors and ask what her company is paying new hires in these positions....more

Appearance code quiz for employers!

How much can you do – and not do – about your employees’ personal appearance and grooming? Take this quiz and find out! As usual, I’ll have the answers at the end, so if you get one wrong, no one but you will know....more

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

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

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

Hallelujah! 5 Things About Religion In The Workplace That You May Not Have Known

Our friends at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have issued a Fact Sheet for young workers on religious discrimination in the workplace, which brought me back to the EEOC’s older Q&A and Best Practices on religious...more

NC “bathroom bill” – the latest developments

It’s been a while since I’ve written about H.B. 2, the North Carolina “bathroom bill,” and I need to get with it. Wrongful discharge claim based on discrimination is back. As we expected, on July 18, Gov. Pat McCrory...more

“EEO” Wrongful Discharge May Soon Return To North Carolina

I don’t plan to post much more about North Carolina’s HB 2 “bathroom bill” until we start getting court decisions, but this is newsworthy. As I’ve previously noted, HB 2 had a provision that eliminated the cause of...more

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