Category Archives: HR Law

EEOC Reports Sexual Harassment Complaints Down

Last month, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released detailed breakdowns for the 72,675 charges of workplace discrimination the agency received in fiscal year 2019. According to the data, most categories of complaints, including sexual harassment, dropped. Only two — those alleging color discrimination and equal pay act violations — increased. Retaliation remained the most frequent complaint. HR Dive suggests that employers continue to work to prevent such claims. They also advise human resource professionals to create a culture Read the rest

Pay Equity Litigation Update

Recent litigation suggests employers should proactively identify and address pay inequities, particularly as they relate to gender bias. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has made equal pay a focus this year. The article explains how two cases EEOC v. Enoch Pratt Free Library and EEOC v. George Washington University— demonstrate that employers face considerable obstacles to dispensing with an equal pay claim early in the litigation process. The author of the article states that “the fact-dependent Read the rest

Resist the Urge to Access: The Impact of the Stored Communications Act on Employers

Do you distribute laptops, cellphones, or other electronic devices to your employees to use for work-related activities? Have you ever collected an employee’s employer-owned laptop or cellphone and discovered that the employee left a personal account automatically logged in? Did you have the urge to look at what the employee was doing, what sites the employee visited and who the employee was talking to? If so, you should resist that urge. According to this article, “based on the broad Read the rest

Is It Legal to Dock the Pay of Employees Who Skip a Political Rally Being Held in the Workplace?

Every year during the ALA midwinter meetings, my co-worker and I present a session on professional etiquette. One of the topics we advise workshop attendees to avoid is politics. Political discussions can lead to a variety of negative consequences —particularly in the workplace. Individual feelings about various politicians, the voting process in general, and political activities are all personal. Coercing employees’ attendance at political events is an ill-advised activity that does not bode well for employers. Though it may be Read the rest

Could Video Interviewing Land You in Court?

In an effort to reduce recruiting expenses, more employers are engaging candidates through technology. Many make use of video interviewing to narrow their pool and eliminate the costs of bringing large numbers of candidates onsite. This article warns companies that use artificial intelligence (AI) to assess video interviews to be aware of a new law. In May the Illinois Legislature unanimously passed the Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act (AIVIA), which requires employers to notify candidates that AI will be used Read the rest

When Job Applicants Lie

When you were actively looking for a job, did you ever modify dates of employment, inflate prior earnings, or hide a criminal history on an application? According to this article, a recent study revealed that 85 percent of employers have caught applicants lying on their résumés or job applications. What should human resources professionals do when they discover that an employee has lied on their job application or CV? How can employers avoid liabilities stemming from application falsification? What are Read the rest

Congress Considering $15 Federal Minimum Wage

The Raise the Wage Act of 2019 (H.R. 582/S. 150) calls for gradually increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25/hour to $15/hour over a six-year period. After reaching $15/hour, the minimum wage would be indexed to median wage growth for the United States. Loss of value relative to inflation and rising housing costs has been cited as a problem for the minimum wage, which was last increased in 2009.

Introduced in identical versions by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Sen. Read the rest

DOL Says Employers Cannot Designate More Than 12 Weeks of Leave as FMLA

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division issued an opinion letter on March 14, 2019, which states that “An employer may not delay the designation of FMLA-qualifying leave or designate more than 12 weeks of leave (or 26 weeks of military caregiver leave) as FMLA leave.”

What this means in practical terms is that an employee who substitutes paid leave for unpaid Family and Medical Leave Act-qualifying leave must have the time counted against his or her FMLA Read the rest

Supreme Court Vacates 9th Circuit Salary History Ruling

On February 25th, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated and remanded a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that salary history alone can’t justify pay gaps between men and women. Basically, the Supreme Court made a previous ruling invalid and sent the case back to the lower court from which it was appealed, with instructions as to what further proceedings should be had.

The High Court’s decision to vacate the ruling will most directly affect employers who operate in Read the rest

DOL Releases New Overtime Proposal

In a statement released last week (March 7, 2019) the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would make more than a million more American workers eligible for overtime.

Under currently enforced law, employees with a salary below $455 per week ($23,660 annually) must be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week. Workers making at least this salary level may be eligible for overtime based on their job duties. This Read the rest