HR Legalist

HR Legalist

Employment Law Updates
& Best Practices for Employers

Category Archives: Workplace Policies

Subscribe to Workplace Policies RSS Feed

Employer-Mandated Fingerprinting May be Religious Discrimination

Posted in Civil Rights, Discrimination, Reasonable Accommodation, Religious Discrimination, Retaliation, Terminations, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Workplace Policies
Sincerely believing that fingerprinting is “the mark of the devil” may be enough to sue your employer for religious discrimination and retaliation in federal district court. On Monday, October 30th, Western District of Pennsylvania Judge Kim R. Gibson issued an Order declining to dismiss such a lawsuit at the initial, pleadings stage of litigation. The… Continue Reading

What #MeToo Means for Employers: Workplace Harassment in the Age of Awareness

Posted in Civil Rights, Discrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Harassment, Retaliation, Social Media, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Workplace Investigations, Workplace Policies
This past Sunday, actress Alyssa Milano posted the following message on Twitter: Me too. Suggested by a friend: “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ As a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” Since Ms. Milano’s original tweet, the hashtag #MeToo… Continue Reading

Feats of Strength: EEOC sues CSX for Employee Strength Tests as Gender Discrimination Under Title VII

Posted in Civil Rights, Discrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Government, Hiring, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Workplace Policies
The EEOC recently filed suit against CSX Transportation, Inc. (“CSX”) in Federal Court in West Virginia, on behalf of a nationwide class of female employees.[1]  In the suit, the EEOC alleges that CSX’s policy of requiring employees and job applicants to pass certain physical strength tests in order to be eligible for certain positions has… Continue Reading

Back to School, Back to Work – Parental and Family Rights in the Workplace

Posted in Discrimination, Employee Leave Management, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Family Medical Leave Act, Paid Sick Leave, Parental Leave, Workplace Policies
The end of August marks the beginning of the yearly “back to school” ritual.  Working parents in particular are hoping for a smooth transition, as this is also the time of year when vacations end and workloads tend to pick up.  But as those of us with children know, balancing work and family responsibilities can… Continue Reading

Political Speech, Discrimination and the Law: How Employers Should Respond to Charlottesville

Posted in Cat's Paw Liability, Civil Rights, Discrimination, Diversity, General Labor and Employment News and Updates, Political Discrimination, Social Media, Terminations, Workplace Policies
The recent tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia and other news regarding the activities of white supremacists and similar groups, have served as a rude awakening for many that our national reality has shifted. These events, which occurred in the public square and have been widely documented through social media, are unfortunate examples of bigoted and… Continue Reading

Beware Hugging at Work

Posted in Workplace Policies
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal published on April 17, 2017, “Embraceable You: When the CEO Is a Hugger,” describes a trend in which some executives greet employees and business associates with hugs in lieu of the traditional handshake.  This conduct is not advisable, however, as it could open the door to claims… Continue Reading

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… 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… Continue Reading

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

Posted in Workplace Policies
Across 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… 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 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

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… 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

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