trviaI recently was invited the join the “Learned League”, which has been described by the Washington Post as the “coolest, weirdest Internet community you’ll never be able to join.”

Needless to say, now that I’m participating in it, I’m wondering if I’m either cool or weird or both.

The league is a hodge-podge of various people who answer six trivia questions a day for a five week period during various contests.  No money is involved (think: pride not prize) but the competition includes people like Ken Jennings, who is the all-time champion on Jeopardy.

The biggest rule is “no cheating” — in other words, don’t Google the questions. It’s a bit addicting, so in the spirit of the contest, I thought I would provide you with six questions to answer.  Note that this is not multiple choice — rather it’s fill in the blank, which is oh so challenging.

1.  According to the EEOC Charge Statistics for Fiscal Year 2014, retaliation claims were the number one filed claim with the agency.  What protected class was number two?

2. One resource that is (or should be) often referred to by employers when addressing disability issues is nicknamed “JAN”.  What do the letters JAN stand for?

3. The federal Family & Medical Leave Act provides that eligible employees may take up to 12 work weeks of leave in a 12-month period for one or more of four separate reasons.  Two of the reasons are for: 1) the employee’s own serious health condition; and 2) tocare for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent who has a serious health condition.  Name one of the other two reasons?

4. In Connecticut, family violence victims who work at employers that have three or more employees, are entitled to time off for various reasons including seeking medical care or attending court.  How many days per calendar year is the employee entitled to?

5. In 1994, Michael Douglas and Demi Moore starred in a film that, among other claims to fame, brought issues of sexual harassment and “reverse” harassment to the public’s attention. Notably (?), Demi Moore was nominated as “Best Villain” for the MTV Movie Awards.    What was the name of the movie?

6.  The current minimum wage in Connecticut in $9.15 cents per hour.  What will the minimum wage in Connecticut be effective January 1, 2016? (And for a bonus point, what about January 1, 2017?)


Continue Reading Trivia Time for HR Professionals – Six Questions of the Day

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

After my post last week on discrimination statistics (and the lack thereof of CHRO statistics that were publicly available), the CHRO was kind enough to release some additional statistics to me that hadn’t been posted on its website and hadn’t been released publicly before.

My sincere thanks to CHRO Principal Attorney Charles Krich for the

Numbers everywhere

Every once in a while, it’s worth taking a look at statistics in the employment law arena to get a sense of trends with the law and what employers should focus on.For those that have been paying attention, retaliation claims are now the most filed type of charge filed at the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee nationwide.In fiscal year 2012 (the last publicly available data), there were 99,412 charges filed (down from a peak of 99,922 in 2010).  Of those, 38.1% of charges were retaliation-based — up from just 22.6 percent in 1997.

Race discrimination claims — while up in terms of raw numbers from 15 years prior — are actually at their lowest levels percentage-wise in the last 15 years.  Instead, national origin claims and religion claims have each risen a few percentage points over the last 15 years — though even national origin claims seemed to have peaked in 2009.

Not surprisingly, in light of changes that were made to the Americans with Disabilities Act in 2009, disability discrimination claims are up sharply the last few years from 14,893 claims in 2005 to 26,379 claims in 2012.

Equal Pay Act claims — which some people projected would increase dramatically after the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009 — have remained fairly flat the last few years.  Up a little, but just by a few dozen.  Not enough to really move the needle on such claims.

In Connecticut, unfortunately, the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) has had issues with its computer system and hasn’t been able to update its statistics since 2010. 

(The EEOC does keep some statistics on claims are filed in Connecticut with the EEOC itself, but because those claims are typically investigated and handled through the CHRO, the EEOC statistics are really incomplete.)

But the CHRO statistics are hopefully coming soon.


Continue Reading Employment Law Statistics Tell Part of a Story; Still Waiting for CHRO

As I indicated a few weeks ago, one of the goals of this blog this year is to stop chasing headlines.   The latest story about the NLRB demonstrates why.

Photo courtesy of Library of Congress circa 1947

Late last month, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals (which, as you might imagine, only covers Washington D.C.) ruled that recess appointments to the NLRB were invalid, calling into question dozens of decisions by the NLRB.  The case, Canning v. NLRB, is not a light read; it’s nearly 50 pages long. 

(As an aside, this recess decision should not be confused with the Connecticut General Assembly’s attempt to have labor law taught in the schools, presumably after recess.)

Unfortunately, the first instinct of some employment law blogs was to treat this decision as some type of watershed moment in history without providing the context for private employers — particularly those without unions. 

A notable exception was a thoughtful post by the Employer Law Report which was quick to note that “since the various appeals courts are not bound to adopt each other’s opinions, the impact will depend on where the NLRB’s decisions are being challenged and how those courts rule.” 

For employers in Connecticut — which falls within the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and not the D.C. Circuit — that means that the decision is notable, but not yet binding.
Continue Reading Should Private Employers Still Worry About Unions and What Happens at the NLRB?