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Employment & Labor Insider

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Category Archives: Employment at Will

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North Carolina’s HB 2: The final analysis

Posted in Discrimination, Employment at Will, Gender Identity Discrimination, Lawyers!, Sexual Orientation
This will be my last “analysis” post on the wrongful discharge provisions of North Carolina’s HB 2. (I know you are heartbroken!) I’ll continue to post on breaking HB 2-related news as it develops. Several commenters disagreed with my contention that Charlotte’s human rights ordinance, which was amended to include LGBT rights and then nullified by… Continue Reading

A whole bunch of nothing: Five takes on Gov. McCrory’s “walkback” of N.C. HB 2

Posted in Discrimination, Employment at Will, Gender Identity Discrimination, Sexual Orientation
NOTE FROM ROBIN: As you know, my main collaborator on HB2-related developments has been my law partner, Jon Yarbrough, who is in our firm’s Asheville Office. Jon has offered his thoughts about Executive Order No. 93, which Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed yesterday. My initial thought is that Executive Order No. 93 is a whole bunch of nothing cloaked… Continue Reading

This just in: Gov. McCrory signs Executive Order backing wrongful discharge for “EEO” discrimination

Posted in Discrimination, Employment at Will
Thanks very much to the colleague who just sent me this. Gov. Pat McCrory (R) of North Carolina has signed Executive Order No. 93, which is somewhat of a backtrack on HB 2. Of interest to our readers in the employment community, the Governor declares that he supports restoration of the common-law cause of action for… Continue Reading

Ignore the hype: Here’s what employers need to know about North Carolina’s HB 2

Posted in Discrimination, Employment at Will
Argh! I was hoping not to have to talk about HB 2 again (North Carolina’s notorious “bathroom bill”), but there has been so much misinformation about what it did to wrongful discharge claims that I’ve just gotta. UPDATE (6:20 p.m. Friday, 4/8/16): I had a good conversation this evening with Greg Lacour of Charlotte Magazine… Continue Reading

Suit seeks to block N.C. “bathroom bill”

Posted in Discrimination, Employment at Will, Gender Identity Discrimination
Of significance to employers, the bill, which was signed into law last Wednesday, eliminates the common-law cause of action for wrongful discharge based on “EEO” discrimination. I talked about that here. Here is a copy of the lawsuit, filed today in federal court in Greensboro, North Carolina. The plaintiffs are three individuals (two transgender men… Continue Reading

N.C. “bathroom bill” has a bomb for wrongful discharge plaintiffs

Posted in Discrimination, Employment at Will, Gender Identity Discrimination
Big news for employees and employers in North Carolina — the General Assembly enacted a bill on Wednesday (signed by Gov. Pat McCrory (R) within hours) that was primarily intended to preempt a certain high-profile municipal “bathroom” ordinance. (More on that in a sec.) But included in the bill is a provision that eliminates the wrongful discharge/public policy cause… Continue Reading

W. Va. will go right-to-work in July

Posted in Employment at Will, Labor Relations
Wild, wonderful West Virginia is going right-to-work. Republicans in the state legislature passed the Workplace Freedom Act and yesterday overrode a veto by Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. Also yesterday, the West Virginia Republicans overrode Gov. Tomblin’s veto of legislation that repeals the state’s prevailing wage law. “Right to work” is often confused with “employment at… Continue Reading

Two new high-profile employment suits that you’ll want to watch

Posted in Americans with Disabilities Act, Defamation, Discrimination, Employment at Will, Retaliation
We have not one, but two new high-profile employment lawsuits that are worth following long-term: Former head football coach Steve Sarkisian’s alcoholism-discrimination lawsuit against the University of Southern California, and the wrongful termination lawsuit filed against the Michigan House of Representatives by former aides to adulterous former legislators Todd Courser (resigned) and Cindy Gamrat (expelled). Full “scorecards” appear… Continue Reading

As the rotunda turns . . . affair, coverup, retaliation — and lawsuit against state House

Posted in Defamation, Employment at Will, Retaliation
Holy Toledo! (Or should I say, Lansing?) Here is our next celebrity employment lawsuit soap opera . . . You may have heard about the two Tea Party legislators in Michigan who were having an affair, engaged in a bizarre cover-up that failed, had to resign/were expelled, and then lost their election bids to get their seats… Continue Reading

BEFORE YOU SUE: 10 questions every employee should ask

Posted in Class actions, Discrimination, Employment at Will, Evidence, Harassment, Retaliation
Last week, we talked about 20 things an employer should ask itself before terminating an employee. In the interests of fairness, here are 10 things that an employee should ask before suing an employer. You should know that I generally don’t believe that lawsuits are the best way to resolve problems. (I realize that there are exceptions.)… Continue Reading

BEFORE YOU FIRE: 20 questions every employer should ask

Posted in Americans with Disabilities Act, Discrimination, Employment at Will, Evidence, Family and Medical Leave Act, Harassment, Labor Relations, Protected Concerted Activity, Retaliation, Safety, Settlements, Unemployment, Workers' Compensation
So you think you’re ready to terminate an employee. Are you really? Here are 20 questions that every employer should ask itself before going ahead with a termination. If you think I’ve missed anything, please feel free to add your own in the comments. GETTING STARTED No. 1. Is the employee covered by a collective bargaining agreement?… Continue Reading

Can you terminate an employee for acting in self-defense? Maybe not.

Posted in Employment at Will
Late last week, the Utah Supreme Court decided that an employer who terminates an employee for acting in self-defense can be liable for wrongful discharge, if The employee “reasonably believes that force is necessary to defend against an imminent threat of serious bodily harm,” and The employee has no opportunity to withdraw. The case, Ray v. Wal-Mart Stores,… Continue Reading

When terminating an employee, is a clean break better than a long limbo?

Posted in Americans with Disabilities Act, Discrimination, Employment at Will, Workers' Compensation
If you have a poor performer, is it better to make a clean break and fire him, or is it better to prolong his (and your) agony? That is obviously a biased question, but some employers will do almost anything to avoid firing an employee, including the following: Nothing Issue 8 bazillion warnings but never act on… Continue Reading

Employment law autopsy: “Old fart” gets fired

Posted in Discrimination, Employment at Will
Here’s a lesson: Don’t call your employee an “old fart,” especially if you think you may need to fire him someday. And don’t call his co-workers “old farts” right before you fire the co-workers. And don’t give your “old fart,” who has only a first-level warning on his record, three or four “progressive” warnings on the day that you… Continue Reading

5 legal traps for the wariest employer

Posted in Affirmative Action, Americans with Disabilities Act, Employment at Will, Family and Medical Leave Act, Gender Identity Discrimination, Harassment, Protected Concerted Activity, Retaliation, Wage-Hour
You’re an employer who tries to do the right thing. But what hidden traps are out there, waiting to grab your ankle and yank you into a lawsuit? Here are a few that cause trouble for even the best employers:… Continue Reading

Employers, don’t commit these 5 firing faux pas!

Posted in Americans with Disabilities Act, Discrimination, Employment at Will, Family and Medical Leave Act, Pregnancy
Do you think you have that employee termination all buttoned up, and no one will be able to challenge you? Defending that EEOC charge will be a slam dunk? No plaintiff’s lawyer in his right mind would represent your soon-to-be-ex employee? Are you sure about that? Can we talk? Don’t commit these five firing faux… Continue Reading

Four reasons to be careful about contingent workers

Posted in Discrimination, Employment at Will, Harassment, Independent Contractor, Wage-Hour
In our insecure economy, temporary employees and independent contractors allow employers to get the work done while staying flexible enough to survive. But there are abuses, and dangers if employers misclassify workers, or if they keep their "temps" around so long that they become "perms" in reality if not in name. Here are four reasons to be very careful about how you use contingent workers.… Continue Reading

3 employer bummers: Veganism a “religion,” ADA interactive process fails, and costly severance mistake

Posted in Americans with Disabilities Act, Civil Procedure, Discrimination, Employment at Will, Family and Medical Leave Act
A court says veganism might be a "religion" requiring accommodation, a school district gets nailed for failing to engage in the "interactive process" under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and yet another employer makes an avoidable and very expensive mistake with a severance package. Fun and games!… Continue Reading