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Category Archives: Discrimination & Harassment

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Can You Love Employment Law and Love Valentine’s Day?

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

For years, I’ve been “warning” about the upcoming holiday of Valentine’s Day. Back in 2011, I recapped several cases where employees’ inappropriate behavior on this day of love, led to lawsuits. Apparently, there were some people who didn’t read the blog, because just a few years after that, I recapped a few more cases where… Continue Reading

Can You Fire An Employee Who Has Exhausted FMLA Leave?

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

An employee of yours goes out on medical leave. Suppose that you only have to abide by the federal FMLA law.  After 12 weeks, the employee is still out. Can you simply fire the employee? Well, the U.S. Department of Labor says “yes”.  Sort of. As part of a Q&A on the subject, the DOL… Continue Reading

An Explainer Video on OWBPA-Compliant Separation Agreements

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

As I keep trying new things for the blog, today I introduce an “explainer” video.  You’ve seen them before; it’s a short movie explaining a subject. Today’s topic is one I’ve touched on from time to time — separation agreements that comply with the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act. Let me know what you think… Continue Reading

EEOC Pushes to Expand Title VII’s Reach to Sexual Orientation Claims

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Laws and Regulations

When you’ve been blogging as long as Jon Hyman (of Ohio Employer’s Law Blog) and I have, your minds seem to work in a similar fashion. For a few days, I’ve been working on a draft of a blog post about the EEOC’s goal of expanding Title VII’s reach to include sexual orientation discrimination claims. … Continue Reading

CHRO Referee Dismisses Complaint After Defendant Was Added Too Late

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight

One of the rules in employment discrimination cases that seems to have blurred of late is the notion that a complaint of discrimination must be filed within 180 days after the alleged discrimination. A new decision from Presiding Human Rights Referee at the CHRO (CHRO ex rel. Roig v. State of Conn., Department of Correction… Continue Reading

Tis the Season for Good Party Planning

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

It’s mostly a coincidence that my colleague, Jarad Lucan returns today with a post on a favorite topic of ours: Holiday parties.  While most of it isn’t groundbreaking (holiday parties haven’t changed all that much over the last decade), Jarad really focuses in on the key issues. So, enjoy your holiday parties over the next… Continue Reading

Gender Identity Claims: Is It All About Restroom Access? Not Quite

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

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking before the Connecticut Bar Association’s LGBT Section regarding the status of transgender claims along with CHRO Staff Attorney Alix Simonetti.  My thanks to the section for the invitation.  It didn’t hurt that it was held at the Hartford Flavor Company, either. The talk was mainly informal but… Continue Reading

Anonymous Threats in Workplace Don’t Give Employers Free Pass to Ignore

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

As I return from an extended absence for the Thanksgiving holiday, my colleagues Gary Starr and Gabe Jiran share this alert about anonymous threats in the workplace based on a recent Circuit Court decision.  Employee complaints based on anonymous harassment pose special problems for employers.  How do you uncover the source of the problem when… Continue Reading

Everything Else from the ABA Labor & Employment Conference You Missed

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight

I admit it. Misleading headline. It won’t be EVERYTHING else. But….there were a few other nuggets from the ABA Labor & Employment Annual Conference last week that are worth sharing. For prior posts on the subject, go here and here. At one of the programs, an EEOC attorney suggested that no re-hire clauses in separation… Continue Reading

What is “Actionable” for Harassment Claims To Succeed

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight

As I continue recapping various sessions from the ABA Labor & Employment Law Annual Conference last week in Philadelphia, it’s time to turn to what makes claims “actionable” under today’s harassment laws. In other words, is the single use of an offensive word such as the “n-word” enough to survive a motion to dismiss or… Continue Reading

Frightened by Employment Law? Just Think About “Naughty Nurses”

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight

It’s that time of year again. When employees dress up in inappropriate outfits and engage in general stupidity. I am speaking, of course, about Halloween. Don’t believe me? I’ve got several blog posts to prove it. For example, in prior years, I’ve warned you to be on the lookout for “Naughty Nurses”.  Yes, somewhere out… Continue Reading

When Employee Models for Playgirl, Harassment May Be “Because of Sex”

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Litigation

Late last month, a federal court in Connecticut took another look at the prohibition of discrimination “because of sex” with a case that has all the elements of a “can you believe it” fact-pattern that will surely be used for harassment training going forward. The case involves a male employee posed for Playgirl nearly two decades… Continue Reading

When Parent Has Been Unlawfully Fired, Can Kids Sue Employer? Court Overrules Precedent

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

The Connecticut Law Tribune reported earlier this month on a new Connecticut Supreme Court case that, for the first time, allowed claims brought by kids to proceed based on injuries suffered by their parents. Plaintiffs’ lawyers have a new weapon in their arsenal. The state Supreme Court, in a split decision, has ruled that Connecticut… Continue Reading

A Final Look at CHRO Case Statistics – Part 3

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

So, in my prior two posts about the new case statistical reports from the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, I’ve looked at the case statistics to see that harassment and terms & conditions claims are up, and that ancestry, race & color claims filed are also up. But what else can we glean… Continue Reading

Harassment and “Terms & Conditions” Claims Up Big; A Look at CHRO Statistics Part 2

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight

In yesterday’s post, I talked about how employment claims being filed are up big at the CHRO. Indeed, in looking at the statistics further, I realized that it is the second highest number of claims being filed in the last 15 years. So, FY 2015 was a very big year for claims. But typically, in… Continue Reading

Employment Discrimination Complaints Up Over 11 Percent in 2014-2015; A Look at CHRO Statistics Part 1

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight

As I noted on Friday, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities has, at long last, released case statistics for 2014-2015 fiscal year and has updated their statistics for the last several years. As a result, there are lots of new numbers to pore over and information to be gleaned. The biggest takeaway? The… Continue Reading

The CHRO Complaint Process Needs A Reboot

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Laws and Regulations, Legislative Developments

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints about the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities from both attorneys and clients. And I’ve come to one conclusion: The CHRO Complaint Procedure needs a reboot. Now, before you dismiss this as a critical column – let’s be clear. I like many reboots.  Sure, the Superman… Continue Reading

CHRO Right to Sue Letter Enough to Bring Federal Discrimination Claims to Court

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

In catching up over some interesting employment law cases from 2015, I came across Lennon v. Dolce Vida Medical Spa (download here).  You would be forgiven if you missed it because it’s an unreported Superior Court decision on a seemingly-technical issue. But, if followed by other courts, it has a notable twist. First, the simple… Continue Reading

When Labeling An Employee “Male” May Not Be Good Enough Anymore

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

The rapid pace of the country’s openness to discuss issues of gender identity (and no, this isn’t going to be an article about Caitlyn Jenner) has actually led to a rise in the use of words to describe situations that you may not have thought of before. Recently I came across the term “cisgender male”… Continue Reading

When Cancer Strikes: What Happens AFTER You Run Out of Paid Time Off

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

I’d much rather write about a legal topic than a personal one, but before I talk about the logistics of handling an employee who has exhausted their paid time off, I wanted to share a brief personal update. Last November, I shared with you my wife’s diagnosis and treatment for cancer.  Because she is a… Continue Reading

Implicit Bias: Is Expert Testimony Admissible in Discrimination Cases?

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

So yesterday, I said that while the topic of implicit bias was important to understand, I indicated that it was far from settled in the legal context. One recent case demonstrates why. The plaintiffs in an age discrimination case in Pittsburgh attempted to introduce testimony from Dr. Anthony G. Greenwald, who has developed the “Implicit… Continue Reading

Implicit Bias: What We Can ALL Learn About It in the Workplace

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight

After the longest break away from this blog in 8 years (some purposeful, some not — and albeit not very long), it’s time to break from the summer doldrums and start thinking again. Last week, I had the opportunity to introduce a former law professor of mine — Professor Kimberly Norwood — at my firm’s… Continue Reading

When Your Model Employee Isn’t Anymore

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

I loved Bill Cosby. When we first got cable TV as a kid, I must have watched his movie “Himself” a few dozen times after school. His “Chocolate Cake” routine was even something I showed my kids a few years ago. And I don’t think I missed many episodes of his sitcom either. When the… Continue Reading

A Vacation Perspective: The “Waterfall” Noise of Employment Law

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

The first day back from vacation is always fun. And by fun, I mean “not fun AT ALL.” There’s the e-mails. And the voicemails. And the things that you should’ve gotten done before vacation that you really honestly tried to do, but well, you just couldn’t. And then there’s the news and other “information” that… Continue Reading