Category Archives: HR Law

Retaliation Costs Employers

I’m sure you’ve heard it before. You’ll probably hear it again and again. What is it? That managers, and HR in particular should take all complaints of discrimination seriously, act on them promptly, and ensure that there is no retaliation. This brief article demonstrates just how costly retaliation can be for employers. In the case, a credit union fired an African American branch manager because she opposed the use of a racially offensive video during a training session. A discrimination Read the rest

Employers: Address and Correct Racial Slurs Immediately…or Else

We would like to believe that all employers take discrimination seriously and work diligently to keep it out of the workplace. However, it is evident by some recent cases, that this is not always the case. Employers have an obligation to take immediate and appropriate action if an employee reports discrimination -—no matter who the alleged perpetrator might be (i.e. a coworker, a supervisor, etc.). This article discusses a recent case which should serve as a stark reminder that the Read the rest

Standing Up for Pregnant Workers

This year, 2018, marked the 40th anniversary of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) of 1978. It is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and states that discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions constitutes unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII. Women affected by pregnancy or related conditions must be treated in the same manner as other applicants or employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work.Read the rest

Disciplining an Employee with a Suspected Addiction or Substance Abuse Issue

With the increase of legalized marijuana along with opioid and other drug addictions in the United States, a supervisor might be wondering how many or if any of their employees have substance abuse issues. If you have an employee that you suspect might have an addiction or substance abuse concern, your initial thought might be to just fire the person to get rid of the problem. Beware, this action could involve a certain level of risk and lead to legal Read the rest

3 Tips for Getting a Workforce Through Flu Season

Influenza viruses—better known as the flu—typically spread in the United States annually from late fall through early spring. Most persons who get the flu recover without long-term effects. However, influenza can cause serious illness, hospitalization, and death, particularly among older adults, very young children, pregnant women, and those with certain chronic medical conditions. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends routine annual flu vaccination for all persons aged six months and older who do not have contraindications. Getting the vaccination Read the rest

Address Harassment Complaints or Face Possible Law Suits

When employers fail to stop harassment, they may be in violation of federal anti-discrimination laws. Based on the 1st U.S. Circuit Court’s ruling last month (Aug. 2018; Rivera-Rivera v. Medina & Medina, No. 17-1191) employees need not track every instance of harassment for their lawsuits to survive summary judgment.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), age discrimination is often viewed as more acceptable than other forms of discrimination by employers. The agency has warned, however, Read the rest

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Invites Briefs Regarding Employee Use of Employer Email

Employers may see a change in how they can restrict the use of their email and other communications systems now that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is requesting comments on what standard it should apply.

In a notice issued August 1st, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) invited the filing of briefs on whether the Board should adhere to, modify, or overrule Purple Communications, Inc., 361 NLRB 1050 (2014).

In Purple Communications, the Board held that employees Read the rest

The 10 Most Common Legal Mistakes HR Makes

Human resource professionals have a wide variety of responsibilities. If you have a small department or are understaffed, juggling those duties can often be overwhelming. One misstep could cost the library/organization a lot—thousands or millions of dollars. Knowing the areas where the most typical errors occur, can go a long way towards ensuring that you don’t make a costly mistake. This article lists common mistakes that could land HR into legal hot water.… Read the rest

Age Discrimination and Women in the Workplace

Unlike men who are considered to be like fine wines that increase in value with age, women who age are not always respected. It is no secret in a society that is obsessed with physical appearance, that women fight a battle to stay relevant as they reach middle age. In the workplace, that can result in being passed over for promotions, marginalized, and pushed out to make room for younger employees.  This can be devasting for a profession such as Read the rest

Prior Salary No Longer Considered a Defense to Equal Pay Claims

According to the Employment Discrimination Report, last month (April 2018) the Ninth Circuit issued a decision that overturned decades of interpretation of the Equal Pay Act and held that prior salary history may not be considered by employers. Under the Equal Pay Act, it is illegal for employers to pay men and women different salaries for substantially similar work.  This action aligns with other jurisdictions that recently passed laws prohibiting employers from asking about prior salary history.  The … Read the rest