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Category Archives: Discrimination & Harassment

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Guest Post: A Law Professor’s — and Mother’s — Perpsective on Race

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight

After my first year in law school, I clerked for Professor Kimberly Norwood at Washington University in St. Louis Law School during the summer. (If editing a law review article on statute of limitations is your thing, the experience was nirvana — I even made it to a footnote.)  We’ve kept in touch since then and have… Continue Reading

Paper Trail: DOJ Brings Issue of Hiring Documentation to Forefront

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

Late Friday, you might have (ok, I’m sure you did) missed a press release from the United States Department of Justice announcing a settlement with a staffing agency in California. The charge? That a staffing company “discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).” Now, I’m sure you all… Continue Reading

Peanut Allergies Can Be Disabilities But Analysis Must Run Deeper

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment

Earlier this week, ABC News reported on the story of a woman who had severe peanut allergies who alleged that she was denied a job at a hospital because of those allergies.  I appreciated ABC News reaching out to me for comment. The facts of the story are frankly a bit unclear, so as I… Continue Reading

Coping With Mental Disorders: An Employer’s Obligations

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

My colleague, Chris Engler, returns with another stellar post today tying in the news of the week.   Although you may have read a lot about Robin Williams this week, I encourage you to read one more.  As everyone knows by now, comedian and actor Robin Williams passed away on Monday after a long struggle with… Continue Reading

ABA Approves Model Workplace Policy on Employer Responses to Domestic Violence

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

One of the roles that I relish is being a member of the American Bar Assocation’s House of Delegates for several terms now.   The ABA adopts certain policies at its Annual Meeting and uses its bully-pulpit to try to get such policies enacted at the federal, state or local level.At this year’s meeting, which took… Continue Reading

New CHRO Case Statistics Show Big Jump In Claims Filed in Last Year

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight

The Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities released a new set of statistics yesterday (my thanks to CHRO liaison James O’Neill for the update which I had requested a while back).  Unlike years past, the statistics this year show some dramatic changes; those changes should have a significant impact on how employers view the agency… Continue Reading

Three Things Employers Can Do Right Now to Ensure Employment Law Compliance

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

While the temperature hasn’t felt like summer in Connecticut the last few days, judging by the traffic this morning, there are lots of you on vacation this week. If you’re one of the (un)lucky ones working this week, perhaps you have a few extra minutes to tackle some projects that have been on the back burner. In… Continue Reading

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