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Category Archives: Workplace Policies

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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

Medical Marijuana Act Clouds the Rights of Employers to Establish and Enforce Marijuana Policies

Posted in Medical Marijuana, Workplace Policies
Pennsylvania’s recently passed Medical Marijuana Act (MMA) has left employers dazed and confused about whether they may continue to enforce zero tolerance drug policies. The MMA, which provides qualifying patients with access to medical marijuana through a safe and effective delivery method, is intended to balance patient need for access with patient safety. However, balancing… Continue Reading

Now is the Time for Employers to Update Harassment Prevention Procedures and Get in Compliance with New EEOC Guidelines

Posted in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Workplace Policies
On January 10, 2017, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) announced that it is seeking public input on proposed “Enforcement Guidance” designed to address harassment in the workplace. The proposed Enforcement Guidance is available here for public comment until February 9, 2017.… Continue Reading

EEOC Continues to Slam the Brakes on Employer Dress Code Policies

Posted in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Workplace Policies
Nearly all employers maintain a dress code, oftentimes for different reasons. For example, service employees may be required to wear uniforms so that customers can easily identify them. Likewise, construction and manufacturing employees may be required to wear protective clothing to mitigate safety risks. Although state and federal anti-discrimination legislation recognizes an employer’s legitimate need… Continue Reading

One Expensive Bottle of Orange Juice: Denial of a $1.69 Orange Juice Costs Dollar General $277, 565 in Back Pay and Damages

Posted in Americans with Disabilities Act, Discrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Workplace Policies
On September 16, 2016, a Tennessee jury awarded Linda Atkins, a former Dolgencorp LLC (“Dollar General” or the “Company”) Sales Associate, $277,565 in back pay and compensatory damages after being fired for drinking orange juice prior to paying the $1.69 cost to prevent a diabetic episode.… Continue Reading

NLRB Loses Its Lunch Over Chipotle’s Social Media Policy

Posted in NLRB, Workplace Policies
On August 18, 2016, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) affirmed an administrative law judge’s (ALJ) March 14, 2016 ruling that Chipotle’s “Social Media Code of Conduct” violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). By way of background, Chipotle terminated associate James Kennedy in February of 2015 shortly after he made several tweets regarding employee… Continue Reading

The Rio Olympics and the Zika Virus: Guidance for Employers

Posted in OSHA, Workplace Policies
The Olympics in Rio have been a huge success for American athletes, but the games have also brought some hazards.  U.S. Swimmer, Ryan Lochte, was mugged at gunpoint and other athletes have dealt with any number of gastro-intestinal problems associated with travel to tropical climates.  Among the more frightening hazards is the Zika virus, which… Continue Reading

The Great Debate: Policing Politics in the Office

Posted in Labor Relations, Workplace Policies
With the Republican National Convention well underway and the Democratic National Convention set to begin in Philadelphia on July 25, 2016, the workplace is abuzz with political discussions, a flood of political memes and impassioned debates about this year’s election cycle. As the presidential election heats up—employers have found themselves trying to manage and minimize… Continue Reading

Private Employer Posting Requirements: Prohibition Of Guns In The Workplace

Posted in Workplace Policies
With recent events regarding gun violence, employers should be aware that several states require private employers to post notices if they ban guns at the workplace. An employer’s obligation regarding specific language and color of the signs vary by state law and there is no federal posting law that regulates signage in the workplace.  Employers… Continue Reading

FLUSHED: The Debate Over Bathroom Access Rights for Transgender Employees Continues

Posted in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Gender Identity, LGBTQ Employees, Sexual Orientation Discrimination, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Workplace Policies
America is currently in the midst of a debate over sex segregated public bathrooms and their impact on the bathroom access rights of transgender individuals. Over the past few years, there’s been a wave of state legislation around the United States requiring that individuals utilize the bathrooms that correspond to the biological sex identified on… Continue Reading

New Federal Workplace Safety Rules Announced Today

Posted in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Gender Identity, LGBTQ Employees, OSHA, Sexual Orientation Discrimination, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Workplace Policies
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on Wednesday, May 11, finalized a new recordkeeping and reporting rule that requires employers in certain industries to electronically submit injury and illness information, and bars employers from retaliating against workers for reporting such incidents. OSHA will post the data from these submissions on a publicly accessible Web… Continue Reading

Decision 2016: Do Employees Get Time Off to Vote?

Posted in Workplace Policies
With the 2016 Presidential primary elections in full swing, employers should be informed about their obligations as to when an employee requests time off to visit the polls. An employer’s obligation varies by state law and there is no federal law that mandates an employer to provide time off for employees to cast their ballots.… Continue Reading

What Employers Should Be Aware of with Medical Marijuana in the Workplace

Posted in Workplace Policies
Employment Law Lawyer, Larry Besnoff, discusses what employers should be aware of with medical marijuana in the workplace. Larry Besnoff is a partner in Obermayer’s Labor Relations and Employment Law Department practicing in the area of employment and labor litigation. He can be reached at 215.665.3126 or larry.besnoff@obermayer.com      … Continue Reading

Helpful Policies To Address Office Romances This Valentine’s Day

Posted in Workplace Policies
They say that “love is in the air” around Valentine’s Day, but companies should avoid breathing it in too deeply. Because office romances are prevalent, employers should take proactive steps to reduce the liability of such romances that can lead to salacious allegations and expensive litigation.  Companies must be equipped to handle office romances by… Continue Reading

Employers, Handle With Care: Philadelphia Gives Added Protections to Job Applicants with Criminal Histories

Posted in Ban the Box, Uncategorized, Workplace Policies
On December 15, 2015, Mayor Michael Nutter signed off on several amendments to Philadelphia’s 2012 Fair Criminal Records Screening Standards Ordinance. The 2012 Ordinance was enacted to prevent discrimination against job applicants with criminal records, as it barred Philadelphia employers from making inquiries into applicants’ criminal histories during the application process. At the time that… Continue Reading

Best Practices for Employers Hosting Halloween Office Parties

Posted in Workplace Policies
Now that autumn is finally here, the smell of football tailgates, crisp leaves and pumpkin spice lattes fill the air. One cannot enter a corner store without encountering pumpkins, bags of candy corn and black cat and witch trinkets – Halloween is just weeks way! According to the National Retail Federation (“NRF”), more than 157… Continue Reading

Shots or Not? The Pros and Cons of Mandatory Workplace Flu Vaccination

Posted in Workplace Policies
While we continue to enjoy warm September weather, flu season (typically lasting from October through May) will soon be here. Many employers—health care providers in particular—are now considering or preparing to implement mandatory vaccination policies for their employees. Besides protecting patients, other employees, and the public, health care providers have an incentive to increase employee… Continue Reading

Heads or Tails? New Guidance from the Supreme Court Nearly Flips Religious Accommodations Law on Its Head

Posted in Hiring, Workplace Policies
On Monday, June 1, 2015, the United States Supreme Court held that an employer may not refuse to hire an applicant if the need for a religious accommodation was a motivating factor in the employer’s decision, unless the accommodation would pose an undue hardship. In EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., U.S., No. 14-86… Continue Reading

Video Interview: Terri Gillespie Discusses Workplace Policies for Transgender Employees with LXBN TV

Posted in Discrimination, Workplace Policies
Following up on our recent post on the subject, Terri Gillespie had the opportunity to discuss workplace policies for transgender employees with Colin O’Keefe of LXBN. In the interview, Ms. Gillespie discusses what policies employers should have in place and the accommodations that should be made.… Continue Reading

More than Just a TV Show: How Bruce Jenner’s Story Sheds Light on the Importance of Workplace Policies for Transgender Employees

Posted in Discrimination, Workplace Policies
Last month in a nationally televised interview, U.S. Olympic icon Bruce Jenner revealed to the world that he is a transgender woman.  While the coming out process for the rest of the nearly 700,000 transgender Americans may not garner the attention that Jenner’s announcement did, it is very likely that these individuals must come out… Continue Reading

More than Just a Fable – Why the “Cat’s Paw” Matters for Employers

Posted in Americans with Disabilities Act, Cat's Paw Liability, Discrimination, Retaliation, Terminations, Workplace Policies
The Fable “The Monkey and the Cat” is a fable (dating back to the 17th century or perhaps earlier) about a monkey who persuades a cat to pull chestnuts from the embers of a fire, only to take the reward for himself and leave the cat nursing a burnt paw.  The fable is the source… Continue Reading