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Employment & Labor Insider

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Category Archives: Harassment

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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

BREAKING: EEOC files 2 Title VII suits alleging sexual orientation bias

Posted in Discrimination, Gender Identity Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Orientation
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed today two lawsuits contending that employers’ alleged discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation violates the Title VII ban on sex discrimination. One suit was filed on behalf of a gay call center employee in Pennsylvania, and the other was filed on behalf of a lesbian forklift operator in Maryland. Here… Continue Reading

Why shouldn’t supervisors investigate workplace harassment? They’re too normal.

Posted in Harassment
I have recommended on this blog and in harassment training that “operations” people (in other words, people who aren’t in Human Resources or lawyers) avoid the temptation to investigate workplace harassment complaints on their own. A commenter asked me last week why I said this. I thanked her for giving me the inspiration for a blog… Continue Reading

Be my workplace valentine? We’ll see . . .

Posted in Harassment, Sexual Torts
Happy Valentine’s Day! (almost) Psychology Today had a great article by social psychologist and professor Theresa DiDonato about nine questions one should ask oneself before starting a workplace romance. Of course, the article was written primarily from a psychological point of view, but I think the same questions work from a legal standpoint. Here are… Continue Reading

Transgender roadmap: 10 steps the EEOC thinks employers should take

Posted in Discrimination, Gender Identity Discrimination, Harassment
Law360 reported yesterday morning that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission settled a transgender discrimination and harassment lawsuit (not our Detroit-area funeral home case). Although the employer entered into the consent decree voluntarily, we now have a pretty good idea of what the EEOC thinks employers should do in dealing with employees who are transgender or have other gender identity variances.… Continue Reading

Why the EEOC believes Title VII bans sexual orientation bias

Posted in Discrimination, ENDA, Gender Identity Discrimination, Harassment
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a “friend of the court” brief in a sexual orientation discrimination appeal, arguing that sexual orientation discrimination is “sex discrimination” prohibited by Title VII. (Thanks to EEOC General Counsel David Lopez for alerting me.) I am a skeptic on this subject. Title VII was enacted in 1964, and legend… Continue Reading

Who was naughty, and who was nice in employment law this year

Posted in Affordable Care Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Discrimination, Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act, GINA, Harassment, Labor Relations, Lawyers!, Pregnancy, Protected Concerted Activity, Retaliation, Safety, Social media, Telecommuting, Wage-Hour
Who’s been naughty and who’s been nice in labor and employment law? Here are my picks for 2015. Feel free to add your own in the comments. NAUGHTY! The National Labor Relations Board, for being naughty in too many ways to mention. Its rules on employer handbook policies, including confidentiality and social media, are unrealistic… Continue Reading

Supreme Court to review CRST attorneys’ fee award against EEOC

Posted in Class actions, Discrimination, Harassment, Transportation Industry
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed last Friday to review a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, which vacated a multi-million attorneys’ fee award for trucking company CRST Van Expedited, Inc. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission initially sued CRST on behalf of roughly 270 women who were allegedly sexually harassed in their… Continue Reading

It’s the 2015 workplace holiday party quiz!

Posted in Discrimination, Harassment, Independent Contractor, Off-Duty Conduct, Sexual Torts, Wage-Hour, Workers' Compensation
Chanukah starts at sundown this Sunday, and Christmas is only three short weeks away. Can you throw a workplace holiday party that won’t result in a lawsuit? It has been ages since we’ve had a quiz. Let’s do it! For more on this topic, please listen to the webinar on holiday parties that I did yesterday… Continue Reading

Be thankful you’re not an employment law turkey

Posted in Discrimination, Harassment, Pregnancy, Retaliation, Social media, Work-Life Balance
Well, it’s that time of year again – what are you thankful for? Here are some Human Resources and employment law matters for which I am thankful. Please feel free to add your own in the comments. I’m thankful that I’m not Trey Gowdy. The Republican Congressman from South Carolina and chair of the House Benghazi Committee is not out, but he’s… 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

Straight from the source: EEOC’s 10 hottest litigation trends

Posted in Americans with Disabilities Act, Background Checks, Class actions, Discrimination, Harassment, Pregnancy, Retaliation, Settlements, Telecommuting
Last week I heard David Lopez, General Counsel of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, speak about EEOC litigation developments at the annual North Carolina/South Carolina Labor and Employment Law conference. The EEOC has been litigating like a house afire, so I knew you would want to hear what he had to say. Mr. Lopez – who… Continue Reading

4 thoughts on the Ashley Madison hack

Posted in Harassment, Social media
Four quick thoughts on the Ashley Madison hack: 1. Should you post anything on the internet that you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the New York Times? “No” used to be standard advice, but that isn’t practical any more. I do online banking, but that doesn’t mean I want my financial information all over the internet. Nor… Continue Reading

Darn.

Posted in Harassment, Settlements
The Marchuk v. Faruqi law firm sexual harassment case has been “amicably resolved.” Now, what will we gossip about? (To see why I’m disappointed, go here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Apparently, I wasn’t just “following” this case – I was stalking it.) After the verdict that pleased no one, both sides… Continue Reading

Is it “disparaging” to say “Karma is a bi**h”?

Posted in Harassment, Settlements
Riddle me this: Employee sues her boss for sexual harassment. Case settles for $127,500, and she has to agree to confidentiality and non-disparagement. About nine years later, boss becomes an internet pariah for allegedly poaching a beautiful and beloved lion in Zimbabwe. Somebody in the media finds out about the sexual harassment settlement (how’d they do… Continue Reading

Thanks a LOT, Mr. President!

Posted in Harassment
As you know, I strongly disapprove of use of the “N” word in the workplace. I don’t think African-Americans should say it, and I really, really don’t think people who aren’t African-American should use it. Well, this weekend President Obama used the “N” word, and he didn’t say “the ‘N’ word.” In a podcast interview with comedian… Continue Reading

Harassment “must-have” no. 5: No retaliation!

Posted in Harassment, Retaliation
We have reached the fifth and final of our five harassment “must-haves”: No retaliation. It should be easy to avoid retaliation, right? Because retaliatory conduct is intentional – you can’t “accidentally” retaliate against someone. You can’t “negligently” seek payback. To retaliate, you have to work at it. Of course, that would make life way too simple. Employers can negligently… Continue Reading