HR Legalist

HR Legalist

Employment Law Updates
& Best Practices for Employers

Every Manager and Their Mother: Second Circuit Shields Social Media Insults against Supervisor and His Entire Family

Posted in Labor Relations, NLRB, Workplace Policies

On Friday, April 21, 2017 a Second Circuit Court of Appeals panel affirmed a National Labor Relations Board ruling that a catering company server was wrongfully terminated for making an obscene and vicious Facebook post that verbally attacked a supervisor and his family, because it included a pro-union message (and was therefore protected activity under the National Labor Relations Act). Continue Reading

Buy American, Hire American:  President Trump’s Executive Order Hints at Possible H-1B Visa Reform

Posted in Immigration

On Tuesday, April 18, 2017, President Trump signed his “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order during a visit to the Snap On Tools headquarters in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  Lauded by the administration as a sign of the administration’s commitment to protect American workers and U.S. manufacturing, the executive order calls on all federal agencies to “scrupulously monitor, enforce, and comply with Buy American laws.”   Tuesday’s Executive Order also calls for reform of the H-1B visa program.  In a single sentence the Order declares:  “In order to promote the proper functioning of the H-1B visa program, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, as soon as practicable, suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.”  Continue Reading

Transgender Restroom Dispute Continues, Despite North Carolina “Deal” To Overturn Controversial “Bathroom Bill”

Posted in Discrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Gender Identity, LGBTQ Employees, Workplace Policies

On Thursday March 30, 2017, Gov. Roy Cooper signed House Bill 142, which repealed North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2. As previously reported by HR Legalist, House Bill 2 was signed into law on March 23, 2016, and prohibited local government from permitting transgender individuals to use public bathrooms that aligned with their sex or gender identity.  House Bill 142 came to pass after the NBA, NCAA, Paypal, and Deutsche Bank all cancelled previously scheduled events or plans for expansion within North Carolina due to House Bill 2.  It has been estimated that House Bill 2 cost North Carolina at least $450 million dollars in lost revenue.  Now, however, many civil rights advocates are criticizing the new bill due to a provision that prevents local governments from passing any nondiscrimination statutes until December 2020. Continue Reading

Federal Court of Appeals Rules that Civil Rights Law Protects LGBT Workers from Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Posted in Discrimination, LGBTQ Employees, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

gavel on rainbow flagOn Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit made history by extending the protections of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to LGBT individuals in the workforce when it held that “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.” In Tuesday’s 8-3 decision, the full panel of Seventh Circuit judges overturned an October 2016 ruling by a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit, which dismissed the sex discrimination claims brought by Kimberly Hively, a lesbian adjunct professor against Ivy Tech Community College.  Ms. Hively claimed that the Ivy Tech refused to promote her and ultimately eliminated her position because of her sexual orientation.  In October, the three-judge panel opined that it was bound by existing precedent to differentiate between sexual orientation discrimination and sex discrimination (discrimination based on biological sex) under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Continue Reading

Be Careful With That! – Second Circuit Dismisses Failure to Accommodate Claim Brought by “Needle Phobic” Pharmacist

Posted in Americans with Disabilities Act, Reasonable Accommodation, Terminations

On March 21, 2017, the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a former Rite Aid pharmacist’s claim against Rite Aid for refusing to accommodate his “needle phobia.” In 2011, Rite Aid altered the job description for its pharmacists to include immunization certification as an “essential duty and responsibility.”  Rite Aid altered the job description to enable customers “to come into Rite Aid any time the pharmacy was open . . . and receive an immunization.” Continue Reading

MARCH MADNESS 2017: HOW TO AVOID FOULING OUT FROM AN EMPLOYMENT LAW PERSPECTIVE

Posted in Workplace Policies

Basketball TournamentAcross the country, sports fans are gearing up for their favorite seasonal competition: the NCAA “March Madness” tournament. Those with winning brackets can earn prizes ranging from neighborhood bragging rights, up to a million dollars per year, for life (if you are one of Warren Buffet’s employees). Competition prizes and popularity notwithstanding, should employers be wary about hosting the office pool?  When does friendly competition run afoul and become illegal gambling? Continue Reading

As the Northeast Prepares for a Major, Late Season Snow Storm, HR Legalist Reminds our Readers of the Importance of Employer Responsibility to Employees in a Time of Inclement Weather

Posted in OSHA, Workplace Policies

In January 2015, HR Legalist contributor, Teleicia Dambreville, wrote about employer responsibilities towards employees when a serious weather event occurs.    As a major snow storm is set to hit the Northeast of the United States this week, we thought it wise to remind our readers of Ms. Dambreville sound advice.  In the meantime, stay warm and dry! Continue Reading

Senate Kills Federal Contractor Work Safety Rule

Posted in General Labor and Employment News and Updates, Government

On March 6, 2017, the Senate voted 49-48 to eliminate President Barack Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule through the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule was finalized in August 2016 by the U.S. Department of Labor, but subsequently blocked by court order in October 2016. Continue Reading

Circuit Court Is Asked To Overturn NLRB’s Decision Allowing Surreptitious Workplace Recordings

Posted in NLRB, Workplace Policies

Can employees record conversations at the workplace without the consent of the speakers? Or, can an employer enforce a policy that prohibits employees from recording conversations at work unless they have the consent of all the parties being recorded?  Employers are up in the air over this issue.  The reality of the modern workplace is that nearly every employee owns and carries a smartphone that is capable of producing high quality audio and video recordings.  It is a safe bet that without a clear and strict policy to act as a deterrent, smartphones will be used by employees surreptitiously, potentially damaging workplace relationships, compromising protected information and exposing employers to potential liability. Continue Reading

Of Public Schools and Private Employers: Trump Reverses Direction on Male, Female and Gender Neutral Restrooms

Posted in Discrimination, Gender Identity, LGBTQ Employees, Workplace Policies

Overview

Employers are caught, once again, between agency pronouncements and White House actions. While President Trump commented on the campaign trail that transgender people should “use the bathroom they feel is appropriate,” he appears to have rethought this position as commander-in-chief. Continue Reading