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Category Archives: Discrimination & Harassment

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Second Circuit Rejects Employee’s Trypanophobia Claim

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

You don’t need to look for a needle in a haystack to figure out this latest case from the Second Circuit. But you do need to know what “trypanophobia” is. Ready? Fear of needles. That becomes important in a Second Circuit court decision yesterday holding that an employee’s fear of needles prevented that employee from… Continue Reading

The Dialogue: Hiring Employees the Right Way (From Different Sides)

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

I’ll confess. I’m excited about today’s post.  It’s hard to find something new to do after nearly 10 years of blogging, but I think today’s post is pretty innovative. Unless you read The New York Times “The Conversation” which we’ve tried to copy emulate here.  Except this post (and hopefully others) will be called “The Dialogue”.  Somehow different,… Continue Reading

Mary Tyler Moore Taught Us One of the Best Employment Discrimination Lessons

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

Mary Richards’ job interview with Lou Grant is, perhaps one of the most famous job interviews ever. So says Time magazine. Before I go on, though, there are probably more than a few of you who don’t know what I’m talking about. But with the passing of Mary Tyler Moore earlier today here in Connecticut,… Continue Reading

Could “The Last Jedi” Actually Be Practicing Religion in Your Workplace?

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight

Yesterday, news came out that Episode 8 (I mean, VIII) of the Star Wars series would be named “The Last Jedi”. Which reminded me about an article in The New York Times I saw a few weeks ago that I had been meaning to write about. Turns out there are, according a BBC report cited… Continue Reading

Punitive Damages Not Available For State Employment Discrimination Claims

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

In a decision that will be officially released next week, the Connecticut Supreme Court has, at last, ruled that punitive damages are not an available remedy for state law employment discrimination claims. You may recall that I discussed the Appellate Court’s decision that had originally found the same thing back in 2015.  The case, Tomick… Continue Reading

Deep Dive Into CHRO Case Statistics Show Increases in “Harassment” Claims

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

As I did last year, after I posted on the general statistics of the CHRO to see if we could glean any trends, I took a deeper dive into what the statistics this year show.  And there were definitely a few surprises. Obviously, at the risk of repeating yesterday’s post, FY 2015-2016 was a very big… Continue Reading

New Statistics From CHRO Show Continued Rise in Discrimination Complaints

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight

At this week’s CHRO information session, I was able to review the new statistics released by the CHRO this fall regarding case filings and dismissals. They’ve now been posted live on the CHRO’s website here. It’s something I’ve covered each year and I’m always fascinated by what these statistics show — and don’t show. What’s… Continue Reading

From the Archives: Back to the Basics on Sexual Harassment Prevention

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

Wrapping up my look back this shortened week at some “Basics” posts, here’s a reminder of the obligations employers have to conduct sexual harassment prevention trainings.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and thanks for your continued readership.   With every new law that gets passed, it’s easy to overlook the existing requirements that employers must follow…. Continue Reading

Employers, Employees and Reasonable Accommodations: A Webinar

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

Tomorrow, I’ll be part of a webinar produced by the American Bar Association on reasonable accommodations under the ADA.  You can still sign up here. The topic page for the webinar gives a fairly concise summary: A reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is any modification or adjustment to a job or… Continue Reading

Restroom Access and Transgender Issues in the Workplace Go Supreme

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

I still remain amazed at the sold-out crowd we had at last week’s Labor & Employment Law seminar.  Well over 250 people registered for the program and I kind of wanted to whisper to people: “You know this is just a LEGAL seminar, right?” But no matter. Employment law issues are as popular as ever and… Continue Reading

Silence May Not Be Golden When It Comes to the ADA’s Interactive Process

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

My colleague Gary Starr sits next to my office and sometimes we bounce ideas off each other. One of the things we were talking about recently was a new case that discussed an employer’s obligations to enter into the interactive process.   This often comes up in ADA cases where the employee may need a reasonable accommodation…. Continue Reading

Trump’s So-Called “Locker Room Talk”: Would It Count Towards a “Hostile Work Environment”?

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

I’ve always tried for this blog to be apolitical.  That doesn’t mean I don’t have political views — I obviously do — but I don’t think that they should play into how we look at certain legal issues. But we need to talk about the recorded comments from Donald Trump because I think employers need… Continue Reading

Well Well: Court Sides with Employer in Latest Wellness Program Battle (Part 1)

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

My colleague Marc Herman returns today to bring back the story of wellness programs and whether they will continue to pass legal muster. In the first post of a two-parter, Marc updates us on some litigation. Read on.   Here’s one for you:  Did you hear the one about the employee that turned down the opportunity… Continue Reading

Maybe That Lawsuit Brought By Your Employee Isn’t So Frivolous

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

In yesterday’s post, I talked about some of the reasons why an employee’s lawsuit against his or her employer was destined for failure. But employers, I’m afraid you’re not off the hook that easily. This post is for any employer that just got sued or threatened with suit. Maybe that lawsuit isn’t so frivolous after all…. Continue Reading

Maybe That Discrimination Lawsuit Against Your Employer is Ill-Advised

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

As I approach the ninth anniversary of this blog this week (watch for that anniversary post soon), I’ve gotten a bit more reflective as well.  Some of that is personal circumstances I’ve mentioned before; perhaps some of it is age and experience. And I find myself wanting to speak directly to employees who have brought… Continue Reading

Big Settlement, Big Issues: Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Isn’t Over.

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

$20,000,000.00. That, as they say in the legal parlance, is a crooked number with a LOT of zeros behind it. And that is also the reported amount of settlement between Gretchen Carlson and Fox News over her sexual harassment lawsuit.  Plus an unprecedented apology.  And it doesn’t take into account other cases of harassment that… Continue Reading

Shoddy Harassment Investigation Can Still Lead to Liability, Court Rules

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Litigation

Welcome back from summer! Today, my colleague Gary Starr and I bring you the story of an employer that thought that it had done everything right — only to see it all go wrong.  Imagine this scenario: You, the employer, think you’ve taken all the right steps when hearing about a harassment complaint. You encourage… Continue Reading

How to Avoid Discrimination in Hiring, While Complying with Export Laws

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

My colleagues, Ashley Mendoza and Alfredo Fernandez, return today for a guest post today that shows that employment law issues can sometimes present themselves in different formats.  My thanks to the both of them in presenting a fairly advanced topic in a form that will hopefully be of interest to a few of you out… Continue Reading

New Model Rules Make It Unethical to Discriminate

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Laws and Regulations

As I have for over a decade now, I attended the American Bar Association’s Annual Meeting last week serving on the ABA’s House of Delegates – the organization’s main governing body.  My exact position is actually State Delegate — a position that nominally makes the lead delegate of Connecticut’s delegation, though in practice it’s much… Continue Reading

Unpaid Volunteers Are Not “Employees”, Says Court

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

The CHRO is no stranger to taking aggressive positions in the court system. So, it can really be no surprise that the agency wanted to expand who is covered by the state’s anti-discrimination laws. But the Connecticut Supreme Court, as it has done before, was having none of it.  The end result of the case… Continue Reading

Sex Harassment in the Workplace: An Uptick in Cases, Awareness or Both?

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

The last few weeks it seems that I’ve been reading about sexual harassment in the workplace issues a lot more. Here are a few examples: Gretchen Carlson sues Fox News’ Roger Ailes. Suit Says Managing Partner Pressured Female Staff for Sex Sexual Harassment Still a Reality in the Workplace Interior chief: ‘Culture’ of sexual harassment… Continue Reading

Is There A Difference Between Firing Because of Age vs. Salary?

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight

Up on Fortune magazine’s column “Practically Speaking” is the following question: Frank has been with us for more than 20 years. He works in the warehouse and has done a good job for us. I like him. But, to be honest, for the work he performs I could easily replace him someone younger and …… Continue Reading

EEOC Releases Guidance on Employer-Provided Leave Under ADA

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

So, back in January, I penned a post titled “Can You Fire an Employee Who Has Exhausted FMLA Leave?” As if to respond, the EEOC yesterday released guidance that basically answers: Not necessarily, because it might violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.  And that is the crux of the issue for employers. Before I go… Continue Reading

Legislative Update: Modified “Ban the Box” Bill Approved in Connecticut

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

Remember “Ban the Box” and the fair chance employment bill from earlier in the session? Well, it passed last night. Sort of. An amendment to the original bill essentially wiped the prior version clean.  Thus, whatever you think you knew about the measure you can put that aside. What passed last night (House Bill 5237)… Continue Reading