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Category Archives: Discrimination & Harassment

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Quick Hits: EEOC Strikes Again, Desk Shenanigans, New Executive Order, Union Dues, Sharing Salary Info

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Class Actions, Discrimination & Harassment, Labor Law & NRLB, Laws and Regulations, Litigation, Wage & Hour

Time for another installment of quick hits where I share a few stories that I had hoped to write further about and finally concede that, because of time limitations, I probably won’t. So, you settle a discrimination case with the EEOC.  You’re done, right? Well, not exactly, as this post from the Workplace Class Action… Continue Reading

Accommodating Employees’ Religious Beliefs: A Primer on “Sincerely Held”

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations, Litigation, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center

In the wake of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, holding that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act provides protection to closely held corporations to refuse, for religious reasons, to provide birth control methods and services to employees under the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, the issue of accommodating an employee’s religious beliefs has… Continue Reading

The Employment Law Exemption for “Religious Corporations” You Never Knew About

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations

Over the past month, after the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, much has been made in the press about how it is unprecedented for the court to consider a company’s religious beliefs in making its decisions. The issue of taking into account a corporation’s religious belief in the workplace has been also catapulted to the center of… Continue Reading

EEOC Declines a “Pregnant” Pause; New Guidance Awaits Supreme Court Decision

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations, Legislative Developments

Last week, my colleagues Peter Murphy and Harrison Smith, offered to write about the latest developments in the law regarding pregnancy.  The post was scheduled to come out today, when, much to our surprise, the EEOC yesterday afternoon released long-awaited guidance on the subject. So much for that post! After a quick rewrite last night,… Continue Reading

Married Men with Stay-at-Home Wives Have Negative Attitudes Of Working Women, Study Says

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center

Gender bias in the workplace is the subject of hundreds of scholarly articles and even more cases by courts. But a recently-published study looked at whether the working status of a married man affects the man’s attitude of women in the workplace. The conclusion? It’s not pretty. We found that marriage structure has important implications… Continue Reading

Supreme Court’s Narrow Rulings Leave Questions for Connecticut Employers

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Litigation

The U.S. Supreme Court this morning came out with two controversial decisions that will impact employers in Connecticut. The first one, Harris v. Quinn, dealt with whether non-union public employees could be forced to pay union dues.  The court issued a relatively narrow holding, ruling that “partial” public employees could not be required to do so. … Continue Reading

You Be The “Judge”: Is Swearing at Work Protected by Federal Law?

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Labor Law & NRLB, Litigation, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center

Let’s try something a little new today: I’ll give you some facts and see if you can pick the result that a court or agency found. (Hat tip to Overlawyered for highlighting some of these issues.)  I’ll give you the lesson learned from these cases at the end. Used Car Salesman Loses Temper 1.  Nick… Continue Reading

What’s New at the CHRO? Commission Chair Collins Shares His Perspective

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations, Legislative Developments

At Monday’s Connecticut Legal Conference, CHRO Chair Gary Collins spoke for a bit about the developments at the oft-maligned agency since he’s come on board.  (You can follow all the tweets from the conference on Twitter using #ctlegalconf as the hashtag.)While he joked that attendees could just read this blog to find out what was going… Continue Reading

EEOC’s David Lopez Addresses Connecticut Bar Association

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight

The Connecticut Legal Conference on Monday (produced by the Connecticut Bar Association) had several noteworthy programs, including a few on labor & employment law.  In today’s post, I’m going to recap the presentation by David Lopez, the current EEOC General Counsel.   He talked about the Top 10 Developments in EEOC Litigation over the last… Continue Reading

Wait, “Inflexible” Leave Policies Are Actually Okay? Sometimes.

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Litigation

So last month we talked about how an employer may, in some circumstances, need to give additional leave as an accommodation above and beyond the Family and Medical Leave Act.  Today, my colleague Clarisse Thomas shows how the law in this area really is still developing.  She highlights a new case that comes to a different… Continue Reading

Can Employers Win a Case Where a Single Use of the N-Word Is Alleged? Perhaps

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Litigation

There are a few words in our language that still have the ability to shock and hurt others.  The N-word is one of them. (I’ll use it sparingly here but note that courts use the actual language in court opinions too; for courts, accuracy is important.) Frankly, it’s not a word that pops up in a lot of… Continue Reading

Has IBM Found a Way Around the OWBPA and Should Others Follow?

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Litigation

Last week, a story caught my eye and the attention of some of my colleagues.  As reported first by Bloomberg BNA, IBM has stopped providing the comparison information that is typically required in separation agreements for older workers under the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act. You may be wondering how that is possible.  Robin Shea,… Continue Reading

Guest Post: Women’s Economic Security Act May Serve As Model for Other States

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Legislative Developments, Wage & Hour

With Congress in gridlock, we haven’t seen any federal laws impacting employment law for several years. Instead, we’ve now started to see a lot more action at the state legislative level where proposals to modify everything from family leave to the minimum wage are being passed in, it seems, increasing numbers. Therefore, what happens in… Continue Reading

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The Fallout From Allowing Excessive Absences

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Litigation

Today my colleague Chris Engler returns with a post that tackles a recent case that explores what should happen when an employee has exhausted her FMLA leave.  Case closed? Well, not exactly, as Chris explains.   Most readers have heard the admonition that “No good deed goes unpunished.”  (Readers might be less aware that the… Continue Reading

Bill Barring Discrimination Against Unemployed Advances in General Assembly

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Legislative Developments

Let’s all agree, at the outset, that getting people re-employed — particularly those who have been unemployed for a while — is a worthy goal. How do you get there?  Job training? Education? The Connecticut General Assembly is taking a different tactic — just make it illegal for employers to discriminate against those who are… Continue Reading

Road Rules: Ruling Now Guides Telecommuting As Reasonable Accommodation Discussion

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Class Actions, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Litigation

My colleague, Gabe Jiran predicted the future! Well, not exactly. But in a post earlier this month, he outlined some of the issues relating to whether telecommuting is a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. And now we have some court guidance on the subject.  The road to understanding an aspect of the “reasonable accommodation” is… Continue Reading

Could Telecommuting Be Deemed a “Reasonable Accommodation” Under the ADA?

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Wage & Hour

My colleague, Gabe Jiran, (go read his impressive background here, I’ll wait) recently gave a presentation on telecommuting and I asked Gabe to share his thoughts on a notable topic that came up for discussion there.  Thus, in this post, Gabe discusses whether telecommuting could be a “reasonable accommodation.” With today’s technology, employees seem to… Continue Reading

Will “Microaggressions” Make Their Way Into Employment Discrimination Cases? Have They Already?

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Litigation

Over the last few months, I’ve seen an increasing number of articles start highlighting an issue that has been percolating at college campuses: The theory of “Microaggression”. Not familiar with the term? The New York Times has recently written about the term become the “word du jour”: A tone-deaf inquiry into an Asian-American’s ethnic origin…. Continue Reading

Final Four Madness: Preparation Still Matters To Win On (or In) The Court

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Litigation

Over the weekend, I asked my colleague, Chris Engler, to think of any employment law lessons that could be divined from the victories of the UConn Men’s Basketball team.  He reminds us in the post below that preparation still matters.  Of course, this isn’t the first time this blog has written about the UConn Huskies (see… Continue Reading

Spiderweb Delivery? Is One Year Enough for a Leave of Absence for a Disabled Employee?

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Class Actions, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center

You have a disabled employee out of leave for 180 days.  Your policy says that employees may be terminated after the end of 180 days. So, on day 181, can you fire the employee? Today, my colleague Christopher Parkin tackles that difficult question in a recent ADA case brought by the EEOC against a very big… Continue Reading

Background Check Documentation (Printed and Online) Under Renewed Scrutiny

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations, Litigation, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center, Wage & Hour

If you’re like most employers that do background checks, you probably haven’t thought twice about the documentation you use for it. Perhaps you’ve copied some standard language you’ve found off the Internet (not that there is anything necessarily wrong with that), or maybe you’ve just used a form that has been handed down from one… Continue Reading

Continuing to Challenge Whether An Employee Has a “Disability” Under ADAAA

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Laws and Regulations, Litigation

When the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA) passed Congress in 2008 (remember when Congress used to pass employment laws??), one of the most talked about changes was that Congress declared that the question of whether an individual’s impairment was a “disability” should not require “extensive analysis.” It was thought by some at the time,… Continue Reading

EEOC’s Lawsuit Challenging CVS Separation Agreements Is a Big Deal

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Class Actions, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Litigation, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center

My good friend, Jon Hyman of the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog, probably said it best this morning: I try to shy away from hyperbole, but OH MY GOD, THIS CASE COULD BE RUINOUS!!! Yeah, pretty much. So, if you — like me — have been tied up with day-to-day affairs for a bit, or thinking how tomorrow’s snowstorm… Continue Reading

The EEOC Regulation You Need to Know When Making a “Material Change” to a Separation Agreement

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations

Suppose you have to terminate an employee who is over the age of 40 and you decide to offer that employee a separation agreement. (I’ve previously covered the “standard” provisions in an agreement here and discussed a 2009 EEOC Guidance on the subject here.) You already know (right?) that releases for employees over 40 need… Continue Reading