Employment & Labor Insider

Employment & Labor Insider

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Category Archives: Harassment

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Workplace investigations and the case of the planted peanut butter

Posted in Americans with Disabilities Act, Discrimination, Harassment
I’m a week late with this follow-up. (Sorry.) Two weeks ago, I posted about an employee (fictionally named “Zoey”) who had a peanut allergy. After she asked a peanut-butter-loving co-worker (“Addison”) to be considerate, Zoey found a big glob of peanut butter smeared under her desk, which caused her to get sick. Addison denied being responsible. To… Continue Reading

Peanut passions, the ADA, and co-workers who take an employee’s allergy with a grain of salt

Posted in Americans with Disabilities Act, Discrimination, Harassment
Karla Miller of the “WorkAdvice” column in the Washington Post had a doozy last week. I’m going to assume that all the people involved in this story are female. I’m probably wrong, but that will allow me to make up fake names for them. PEANUT BUTTER PASSION The letter writer (let’s call her Zoey), had a peanut allergy… Continue Reading

EEOC Small Business Resource Center: Two thumbs up!

Posted in Discrimination, Equal Pay, Gender Identity Discrimination, Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act, GINA, Harassment, Pregnancy, Product Review, Retaliation, Sexual Orientation
I spent some time yesterday at the new Small Business Resource Center, which went live this week on the website of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. I think it’s great. Small businesses, which may be just below or at the cusp of coverage by federal anti-discrimination laws, are often confused about (1) whether they are covered, and (2)… Continue Reading

Employer dos and don’ts for 2016 elections (NLRB-friendly version)

Posted in Harassment, Labor Relations, Protected Concerted Activity, Social media
Labor Day marked the beginning of the “serious” election season. In 2012, I posted on dos and don’ts for employers, but many of my old recommendations aren’t going to work in today’s labor law climate. Here’s an updated guide to help employers and their employees survive to November 8, and beyond, which I think will comply with the… Continue Reading

Holey moley! Fox News pays $20MM to settle Gretchen Carlson sexual harassment case

Posted in Harassment, Settlements
This just in, via Law360: Fox News has settled Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment lawsuit against former CEO Roger Ailes for a (reported) whopping $20 million. That’s less than the reported $60 million contract buyout of Mr. Ailes, but still pretty good. Since the link to Law360 won’t work, and it requires a paid subscription anyway, here’s a… Continue Reading

About that new “cat’s paw” decision . . .

Posted in Discrimination, Harassment, Misconduct, Retaliation, USERRA
Employers should beware of being too quick to believe an employee who accuses a co-worker of wrongdoing. If the accuser has an illegal motive (such as discrimination or retaliation), and if the employer is “negligent” in investigating before taking action against the co-worker, then the employer could be legally responsible. So says the U.S. Court of Appeals… Continue Reading

Notes from the Industry Liaison Group National Conference

Posted in Affirmative Action, Discrimination, Equal Pay, Gender Identity Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Orientation
The 2016 Industry Liaison Group National Conference was held last week in Charlotte, North Carolina. Sylvia Smith, an Affirmative Action Specialist from our firm’s Atlanta Office, and I had the pleasure and privilege of attending and presenting this year. The headliners, as usual, were Patricia Shiu, Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and… Continue Reading

Conservative expression may be unlawful harassment, EEOC says

Posted in Harassment
Is wearing a “Don’t Tread on Me” cap to work a form of racial harassment? According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it could be, even though the EEOC acknowledges that the Gadsden Flag “originated in the Revolutionary War in a non-racial context,” and has been “used to express various non-racial sentiments.” Such as support of… Continue Reading

Sex on TV: Final FAQs for employers about the Roger Ailes case

Posted in Harassment
Well, Gretchen is out, Roger is out, and Megyn is in. Your Magic 8-Ball is here to answer the sexual harassment questions that employers are dying to ask. No. 1. I thought sexual harassment investigations were supposed to be confidential. Wasn’t it inappropriate for all of the Fox on-air talent to be expressing their opinions in public about whether… Continue Reading

3, 2, 1, blastoff! OFCCP Final Rule on sex discrimination is about to take effect

Posted in Affirmative Action, Discrimination, Gender Identity Discrimination, Harassment, Pregnancy
The OFCCP’s Final Rule on sex discrimination will take effect August 15. Are you ready? On June 14, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs issued its Final Rule on sex discrimination. These new substantive regulations align with the latest legal developments and interpretations by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Cara Crotty, the head of… Continue Reading

Hallelujah! 5 things about religion in the workplace that you may not have known

Posted in Discrimination, Harassment
Our friends at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have issued a Fact Sheet for young workers on religious discrimination in the workplace, which brought me back to the EEOC’s older Q&A and Best Practices on religious discrimination, harassment, and accommodation. The EEOC’s guidance is solid, reasonable, and consistent with most (if not all) of the… Continue Reading

Ailes is out

Posted in Harassment
With only $60 million to call his own? For my prior coverage of the Gretchen Carlson-Roger Ailes sexual harassment allegations, go here and here. Here is the Fox press release. Reportedly Megyn Kelly and other Fox News women told an outside law firm that was investigating Ms. Carlson’s allegations that Mr. Ailes had behaved inappropriately… Continue Reading

Gretchen Carlson v. Roger Ailes — can he sue her?

Posted in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Defamation, Harassment
Me and my nerdy mind. It’s too soon for me to have an opinion about who’s right and who’s wrong in the Gretchen Carlson-Roger Ailes sexual harassment case. Some very disturbing allegations have been made about Mr. Ailes’ (long before Fox) having a “casting couch” for prospective female talent. If that’s true, then it’s disgusting. On the other hand,… Continue Reading

EEOC sexual orientation lawsuit settles for $200K plus

Posted in Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Orientation
As I’ve previously reported, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed two lawsuits alleging that employers discriminated against employees based on sexual orientation, which the Commission says is prohibited by Title VII. One of the lawsuits, filed against Pallet Companies/IFCO Systems, settled this week for $202,200. The former employee will receive $182,200, and the remainder… Continue Reading

25 quick takes (no kidding!) on the EEOC’s proposed national origin guidance

Posted in Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation
These will be really quick takes, since there are so many of them, on the proposed Enforcement Guidance on National Origin Discrimination issued this week by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (The actual document is 57 pages long, not counting the table of contents.) I’ll try to focus on the less obvious/more interesting points. Take No.… Continue Reading

Is sexual harassment training a turn-off for men?

Posted in Harassment
A semi-recent article in the New York Post — “The Corporate ‘Cure’ for Sexual Harassment Only Feeds the Disease” — cited a couple of studies that allegedly proved that sexual harassment training is worse than doing nothing because it makes men resentful and more likely to tolerate harassment. Wow. That’s terrible! Except that it’s not precisely true. What these… Continue Reading

An open love letter to Justice Clarence Thomas

Posted in Class actions, Discrimination, Harassment, Transportation Industry
I admit it.  I have a crush on Justice Thomas.  Today’s unanimous Supreme Court opinion in CRST Van Expedited, Inc. v. EEOC – holding that a merit-based dismissal is not necessary for a defendant to qualify as the “prevailing party” in a Title VII case – would make any employment defense lawyer’s heart skip a… Continue Reading

EEOC posts fact sheets on LGBT discrimination, transgender issues

Posted in Discrimination, ENDA, Gender Identity Discrimination, Harassment, Settlements, Sexual Orientation
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has published a new Fact Sheet on LGBT discrimination that employers will find helpful. As I’ve reported before here and here, the agency is taking an aggressive position regarding coverage of LGBT issues under Title VII’s sex discrimination provisions. The EEOC’s fact sheet, as well as other materials linked in it,… Continue Reading

Lego-based workplace harassment will NOT be tolerated.

Posted in Harassment, Unemployment, Violence
You’ve heard of sex-based harassment, race-based harassment, and disability-based harassment. But have you ever heard of Lego-based harassment? Shawn Roy was terminated from his job because he was allegedly creating and posting on the internet violent and sexually-oriented videos using Legos that allegedly bore resemblance to his supervisors and co-workers. I viewed the one video… Continue Reading

“Lighten up, baby,” and other harassment “best practices” for employers

Posted in Harassment
Dear Readers: Not that anything in this blog constitutes legal advice anyway, but before you accuse me of legal malpractice based on the following post, please notice today’s date. Happy April Fool’s Day! Robin Many employers ask me: “Robin, what are your ‘best practices’ for workplace sexual harassment?” I’m glad you asked! No. 1: Be sure that… Continue Reading

Is your company small? The EEOC has a little fact sheet that may help.

Posted in Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released a nice little “fact sheet” this week for small businesses, summarizing their obligations under the laws that the EEOC enforces. Here’s a link. Just be aware that “sex,” in the EEOC’s opinion, includes sexual orientation and gender identity. (No jokes about small hands or “little” presidential candidates.)… Continue Reading